Life Lessons, is a 2019 project highlighting the life and times of Wisconsin Seventh-day Adventist Church members who are 90 years of age or older, and still actively serving and loving Jesus
Delores Monberg, born January 2, 1928, is a pleasant 91-year-old lady living in Superior, Wisconsin. Born and raised in the city sharing the same name as Lake Superior, Delores has remained close to home all her life. She has been an active member of the Superior SDA Church throughout most of its 105-year existence, and that congregation has helped her see Jesus clearly.
Childhood and Church School
Born an only child, to Walter and Letitia Saline, Delores enjoyed the love and attention her Seventh-day Adventist parents showed her. During the winters her father would walk the block to the church to start the fire and warm up the one-room church school. Delores attended the school for 10 years and was deeply impressed with God’s love. Her mother was also an intelligent and faithful Christian, and she would teach the young people’s class. Delores reflects: “What I am or hope to be I owe to my mother.” Her parent’s passion for the church, Adventist education, and helping the community shaped her passion and mission for Christ.
Door-to-Door with Dolly Duzits
As she neared the end of her elementary education, Delores was inspired to attend Junior Camp at Waupaca, WI. While just 11-years-old she decided to raise the funds herself. When the family attended the 4-day Spooner Camp Meeting, she went out into the community. Going door-to-door in the afternoons, her blonde curls bounced as she sold Dolly Duzit golden metal cleaning sponges. By the end of the weekend she had raised enough money to go to Junior Camp! That memory had a lasting impact on the young girl that would stay with her for the rest of her life. God will provide a way for us to learn more about Him.
Elder Joe Levens
One person that influenced Delores in learning about Christ was Elder Joe Levens. Like her mother, Joe was also very involved with the young people. At night, at her bedside, Delores would pray with her mom to “please bless Brother Levens and the other big shots.”
Born into a large Catholic family, Joe worked the grain elevators on Lake Superior so that grain could be exported around the world. His wife, Gertie, had become an Adventist during an evangelistic tent meeting held in Superior at the turn of the 20th century. Joe told his wife that if she ever let an SDA pastor into the house, he would kick him down the stairs. Despite his misgivings, one day he came home from work to find Gertie hosting prayer meeting in their home. Pastor Edwardson, a Norwegian, was leading out on the topic of the Sabbath. Joe quietly sat down in the living room and listened. At the end of the meeting, he declared, “I will keep the Sabbath.”
Joe’s newfound commitment was met with difficulties. He lost his granary job for keeping the Sabbath. Yet, a few days later, his boss knocked on his door and said: “You’re too good of a man to lose. Come back to work, and you can have your Sabbaths off.” Joe eventually became the Chief Grain Inspector for the state of Wisconsin. God’s faithfulness and providence deeply impacted Joe, and he became an active leader in the Superior SDA Church.
During the 1920s the Superior Church was pastor-less for 11 years. Although he only had an eighth-grade education, Joe would preach every single week. By the end of the decade his father, mother, and a few of his siblings joined the Adventist faith. He also led out in an evangelistic series entitled: “Why I Left the Roman Catholic Church.” Hosted in the Oddfellows Hall, many people from all over town came to hear him speak. Many, including Catholics, came into the church as a result of his earnest, sincere presentation of the Gospel.
Elder Joe Levens was such an inspiration for Delores that she took a liking to one of his sons: Dewayne. With his blessing, the two eventually married in 1948. One year later Joe would pass away. Delores reflects that when he died, she shook for 30 minutes. “I adored him,” she says tearfully. “He will be the first person I will look for in heaven.” She saw Jesus in the life of her father-in-law. Moreover, she knew that she too could help others see Jesus.
Due to the influences of her mother and father-in-law, Delores made it her mission to be fully invested in the lives of young people. For decades she was Pathfinder Director and was a Missionary Volunteers (MV) leader. She concludes, “the best people are those who have a heart for the young people.” When she saw Jesus in the lives of her elders, she had to share the same Savior with the youth.
Jeanmark A’Kessler, Rhinelander District Pastor