Bethlehem Blogs

September 9, 2019

‘Steadfast ... Quick-Witted ... a Praying Champion …’

David Livingston

Pastor for Global Outreach Member Care

Longtime Bethlehem member Lois Nelson celebrated 100 years of life on Sunday, September 8. She arrived in this world three months after the end of World War I—and on the very same day that Babe Ruth broke the American League record for most home runs in a single season.

That same year of 1919, First Swedish Baptist Church (at 48 years old herself) began for the first time using English in some of its worship services.

Born on the family farm near Conrad, Iowa, Lois graduated in 1937 with a high school class of 20. Two years later, with a teaching degree from Iowa State Teachers’ College, she began teaching K–Grade 2 in Elk Horn, Iowa. A bachelor teacher, also newly graduated, named Floyd (“Ozzie”) Nelson, began teaching older grades there too.

That year of 1939, the last of our 22 original Swedish charter members (Mrs. J.L. Johnson) passed away; also, missionaries in 1939, Franklin & Phileda Nelson, arrived in the Chin Hills of Burma.

Lois married Ozzie on February 8, 1941, and in the span of 1942 to 1946 their three sons—Mike, Steve, and Kent—were born.

In 1945, the year of Steve’s birth, First Swedish Baptist voted to change its name to Bethlehem Baptist Church, and 29 years later that second son, Steve, left for Ecuador with his wife, Dorothy, as a medical missionary. Forty-five years later they are still serving there as Bethlehem global partners.

At a Billy Graham rally in 1952, Lois made her first public profession of faith. By then, the Nelsons were living at 4241 11th Ave South, and Ozzie was in his 33-year teaching career at Lincoln Jr. High, in North Minneapolis, ending in 1977.

Over the years, the Nelsons worked together with another long-time member, Char Ransom (who went to be with the Lord in 2016), among the church’s youth, as well as in the Grade 2–3 Sunday School with such faithful laborers as Marilyn Mortensen, Judy Larson, and Arnie Lindberg.

In 1994, Ozzie & Lois moved to 7500 York in Edina where Lois still resides. Ozzie passed away August 27, 2009, 12 days before Lois’ 90th birthday and after 68 years together!

During Lois’ membership at Bethlehem our senior pastors have been Eric Lindholm (’48–’58), John Wilcox (’59–’64), Robert Featherstone (’64–’70), Bruce Fleming (’71–’80), John Piper (’80–2013), and Jason Meyer (’13–present).

Lois says of Bethlehem, “The church has remained strong because we’ve always preached the word and sent out missionaries.” Her son Steve says of his mom ...

  • “She is steadfast and tranquil ... absolutely unflappable—due, I’m sure—to a solid faith in a loving, sovereign God.
  • “She has a great sense of humor and quick wit—if you think you are ahead of her, you missed something! And ... 
  • “A praying champion that can keep five generations of individuals sorted out and before the Lord.”


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