Let your light shine: Shepherd of the Hills, Custer, S.D.

In the spirit of Matthew 5:16, we’re sharing examples of people who live their faith. 

Shepherd of the Hills, Custer, S.D., recently faced an unexpected ministry opportunity. 

On March 19, a young man was driving toward Custer with his girlfriend when he spotted a South Dakota highway patrol car. Though the officer did not pursue them, the man sped away. Losing control, he swerved into a ditch. The car flew into the air and landed on Shepherd of the Hills’ sign and cross. 

Members of Shepherd of the Hills quickly arrived and flipped the breaker to the sign to prevent further injuries. The driver was taken to the Custer hospital while his passenger was rushed to Rapid City in critical condition.  

Those at the scene commented that the two were literally “saved by the cross.” Had the car not hit the cross, it would have rolled, and because the passengers were not wearing seatbelts, they likely would have been killed. 

Local media picked up “saved by the cross” as a headline for their reports. 

While the sign was salvaged for repairs, the cross remained, standing at an odd angle but standing nonetheless. 

The congregation soon discovered that the young woman faced life-threatening injuries, and they sent her cards and prayers. 

When the time was right, the congregation asked the young woman and her family if they were open to a pastoral visit. Sure enough, they welcomed a Shepherd of the Hills pastor to the hospital and happily listened to the gospel message. 

One day later, the young woman was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Sioux Falls. Shepherd of the Hills immediately contacted nearby WELS churches to provide her with continued spiritual care. 

The young woman has since recovered and remains in contact with a member of Shepherd of the Hills. The man’s prison sentence was suspended under the conditions that he found a stable job and made monthly restitution payments to Shepherd of the Hills. 

The congregation continues to pray that this couple come to understand what it truly means to be “saved by the cross.” 


Do you have a manuscript, idea, or story from your own life you’d like to share for use in Forward in Christ or on wels.net? Use our online form to share it to our editorial office for consideration.


Get inspirational stories, spiritual help, and synod news from  Forward in Christ every month. Print and digital subscriptions are available from Northwestern Publishing House.


Volume 105, Number 9
Issue: September 2018

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

Print Friendly, PDF & Email