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Pastor moves from the South Pacific to Blue Earth

By Staff | Nov 21, 2010

Having grown up on a farm outside Swea City, Iowa, Reid Ellis planned to stick to farming when he was finished with college. Going on an influential expedition, however, caused his plans to shift from farming and focus more on becoming a pastor.

“I went on a mission trip to the Philippines and it really affected my life,”?he says.

It was in college, attending North Central University in Minneapolis, that he met his wife of now 26 years, JoAnn.

The two had been interested in working outside of the United States, so when a job arose in the Northern Mariana island of Tinian, they made the move.

Tinian is most well-known for being the base from which the United States’ aircrafts Enola Gay and Bockscar departed with atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

The island, a commonwealth of the United States, is home to about 3,500 people, making it close in population to Blue Earth, but the similarities stop there.

Tinian’s climate stays steady throughout the entire year, typically falling in the 75-90 degree range.

“I am going to miss that part,” Pastor Reid says, explaining how the family would celebrate Christmas on the beach — something they’ll no longer be able to do now that they moved to Blue Earth.

During his 18 years in Tinian, Pastor Reid was the principal of a school for kindergartners through eighth-graders, as well as being a minister, and JoAnn was employed as a teacher at the school.

“We really liked working with kids everyday, so we’re going to try to continue that here,” Pastor Reid says.

The couple has two kids of their own, 15-year-old Victoria and 13-year-old Elizabeth, who were both born in Tinian. Now that the girls are in their teens, the Ellis’ wanted them to discover more about America.

“Our girls needed to learn their culture,” JoAnn says. “We want them to go to college stateside.”

So Pastor Reid sent out resumes to churches in the Midwest, and River of Life Worship Center showed interest. After interviews, and a vote by the congregation, the Blue Earth church called Pastor Reid.

Living in Minnesota may be a different experience for Victoria and Elizabeth, but it’s no new adventure for their parents. JoAnn was born in Warren, and Blue Earth is a mere half hour from where Pastor Reid grew up.

“We know how to talk Minnesotan,” JoAnn jokes. “Ya, sure, you betcha.”

The family has been in town since mid-October when Pastor Reid took over at River of Life for Pastor Arlon Lee, who decided to retire.

River of Life, 1329 S. Ramsey St., is a protestant pentecostal church that Pastor Reid says has about 50-70 attendees every Sunday.

“It’s not a big group,” he explains. “But we have fun that way.”