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Reviewed by Donna Gielow McFarland for Readers' Favorite
Shaped by God's Hand by Pastor Ralph Olsen shares the life story of the author, a man who served for 30 years as the pastor of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury, Minnesota. Shaped by God’s Hand tells Pastor Ralph Olsen’s story from childhood through the present and is written as a family record and to pass down his legacy to his children and grandchildren. With very humble beginnings and with no original intent of becoming a pastor, Ralph Olsen was the first in his family to go to college, graduated from seminary, was ordained in the Lutheran Church and grew his congregation into one of the larger churches in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He also led multiple ministry trips to work with people in Tanzania.
Shaped by God’s Hand is a short book and it is written in an easy-to-read style. It also contains old family photos. I found it interesting to hear about what it was like to grow up in the 1950s. Despite not growing up in a church-attending family, Ralph Olsen’s life followed a path set before him and that path led straight to the ministry. His natural enthusiasm and enjoyment of relating to people was his biggest asset and the right doors swung open for him at just the right times. I think Shaped by God’s Hand will mostly appeal to his family and people who know him, and fans of Christian-based memoirs. I found it very interesting to read the story of a life well lived. Pastor Ralph Olsen continues his work today serving with the Union Gospel Mission in Twin Cities, Minnesota.