From a blog by Transform Our World
Detroit Lakes is located in the heart of Minnesota’s northern lakes region, a perennially popular recreation spot that swells with water-sport enthusiasts during the summer months.
Long-time resident, Barry Schoder, appreciates the town’s natural appeal but also believes that God has bigger plans for the people of Detroit Lakes and its visitors than just a fun-filled weekend or summer vacation.
Last summer, after being inspired by testimonies at the Transform Our World Global Conference, Barry was moved to adopt in prayer the main street through his town. He soon realized he could make a tangible impact on the community through something familiar to most – The Lord’s Prayer.
He broke the prayer down, part by part, posting it onto ten red and white signs that could be read progressively as one drove down the main avenue next to the lake. The signs were printed on both sides, so they could be read from either direction. Before he could place the signs, however he needed the cooperation of his neighbours since it would involve using their private property. He asked thirteen neighbours if he could post the signs on the lake side of their property, and twelve of the thirteen agreed immediately. That was enough to space out the signs so they could easily be read by passing motorists and pedestrians.
The neighbours’ agreement was an example of the Lord using all things together for good. The previous summer, when Barry’s wife, Sharon, passed away, her vegetable gardens had been over-producing, so he went around the neighborhood asking people if they wanted tomatoes, carrots and other fresh vegetables. “That’s how I got to know my neighbours,” he said, which made it easier for him to ask their permission to place the signs the following summer. “I have a desire to see Detroit Lakes become a beacon of righteousness – to bring the people to God and God to the people, any way I can.”
The signs began having an effect of the neighbourhood.
1. One driver left home distressed by an event in her life, and prayed, “Lord, give me a sign that you’re with me.” Then she drove by Barry’s ten signs. Stunned that she asked God for one sign and received ten, she called the local newspaper, who wrote up a very positive article.
2. While driving by, one man asked his wife, “What are those signs?” She replied, “Those are the Lord’s Prayer.” He pulled over took her by the hand, and prayed with her for the first time in their married life.
3. One couple riding by on bicycles was observed stopping at every sign and singing the portion of the Lord’s Prayer that was represented by that sign to the delight of those nearby.
Media attention grew, and a reporter in Fargo, North Dakota produced a video broadcast that brought even more attention to the ten humble signs that conveyed a message powerful enough to change the world.
“I hope other neighbourhoods pick up on the idea and do something on their own,” says Barry, who envisions Detroit Lakes as a lighthouse with a 40-mile radius. There are 72 communities within the 40-mile radius, and he said, “We hope to be interacting with them as well.”
Watch the 2 minute news report here.
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