More Than Just Volunteers3 min read

Founded in 1970 with a seed grant from the Michigan District LWML, LAMP Ministry was set to have a grand celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2020. But of course you can guess the rest of the story. The mission in 2020 was reduced to supplying COVID aid, and mostly virtual ministry, to remote indigenous communities in Northern Canada … and any chance for a 50th gala event were squashed.

In the fall of 2022, when the US and Canadian board of directors of LAMP were able to meet in person, there was finally a chance to dream big again and try to make up for a lost celebration of God’s blessings for 50 years of service. So the joint board of directors set a goal for the 55th anniversary in 2025: that LAMP would not only get back into all of the communities they served pre-pandemic, but would go beyond and share the Gospel in 55 communities. So began the 55 For 55 initiative.

And it seemed more than coincidental to new Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Steve Schave, that his next birthday in March of 2023 would be his 55th. He has celebrated past birthdays with sports-related ways to raise support for charities. A triathlete, marathoner, and obstacle course racer… Schave tried to think of something that would test his limits in 55 miles. He had participated a few years ago in someone’s 40-mile birthday “ruck,” and thought 55 miles would definitely be a worthy feat. Rucking is a fitness workout that involves a road march while carrying a weighted rucksack/backpack/weight vest, typically wearing at least military-style ruck boots. Pastor Schave’s son is also in officer

Pastor Steve Schave training for his Ruck 55 with his dog Jasper.

candidate school for the Missouri Army National Guard, and the ruck was meant to honor our military as well. So Schave set out at 5 a.m. on his 55th birthday to complete the ruck and finished in 15 hours. He used it as a Facebook fundraiser, and he was able to meet his goal. But for Schave it was just a fun way to build awareness and encourage others to be a part of 55 For 55.

According to Schave, “The greatest need right now for LAMP is committed volunteers willing to join a mission team for the next 5 years. Our volunteers are unique in that they aren’t just short-term. The communities we serve have invited us to visit them for multiple generations now. This requires lasting relationships over all these decades. So the community sees us as more than just volunteers; we are like friends and family. And we are excited to soar to new heights, reaching farther to the ends of the earth, to make disciples to the four winds of all languages, tribes, and nations.” No doubt, Schave’s “Ruck55” involved a great deal of suffering for the cause, but he said he would gladly walk that many miles again to see the joy on the faces of the children who get to hear about Jesus through LAMP’s mission work.

You can find out more at to learn about serving in the North with LAMP. Or Pastor Schave is happy to speak, teach, or preach at schools and churches.

Photos courtesy of LAMP Ministry and Steve Schave

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About the Author

Rev. Dr. Steven Schave is the Executive Director for L.A.M.P. - Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots Inc. (Canada) and LAMP Ministry Inc. (U.S.).

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