pastor don richman
Pastor Don Richman, one of 9 children, was born and raised on a farm near the small town of Tower City, North Dakota. After graduation from high school, Pastor Richman served with the Army for two years in Munich. Upon completion of his tour of duty, he enrolled at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Economics in 1959.
Soon after beginning his career as a social worker, the Lord called him into the ministry. He enrolled at Luther Seminary in St Paul, MN where he graduated with a master’s degree in Theology in 1969. During his seminary years, Pastor Richman was actively involved in the World Missions committee of Luther Seminary. Fifteen students from their class were prepared to go to the mission field. None of them were accepted by the Foreign Missions department of the former ALC due to lack of funds. Pastor Richman, the president of the mission committee at that time and a co-worker, wrote one letter which was sent out to all the subscribers of the church newspaper, The Lutheran Standard. The high level of commitment to missions was demonstrated in that with that one letter enough money was given to send all 15 candidates.
Pastor Richman was married to the former Mavis Elster in July of 1963. They left for Brazil as missionaries in August. Their three children were born in where they worked for 11 years. The last five years were in student ministry in the city of Porto Alegre in southern Brazil.
The Richmans returned home in 1974. After serving as an associate pastor in Jamestown, ND for three and one-half years, Pastor Richman was called to the senior pastorate at Emmaus Lutheran Church in Bloomington, MN. Perhaps as a result of hearing his mother pray for persecuted Christians during their family devotions, Pastor Richman frequently prayed for the persecuted Christians behind the Iron Curtain at worship and other services. Emmaus, a very strong missionary church, allowed Pastor Richman to travel through in 1991. Almost every year thereafter, Pastor Richman returned. In 1990, he and a pastor from and another from organized the first East European pastor’s conference. That was followed by a second conference also in Eastern Europe. Through these conferences and subsequent travel, Pastor Richman met many other pastors and Christian leaders in several formerly Communist countries. By the time Communism in the former Soviet Union collapsed, Pastor Richman personally knew many pastors and leaders in most of the countries of central and northern Europe.
After much prayer, thought and consultation, Pastor Richman was led to resign from his position at Emmaus Lutheran church to organize the East European Missions Network. This ministry was incorporated in the fall of 1992. Pastor Richman was designated director by the Board of Trustees at their first meeting in October of 1992.
In March of 2004, Don handed the primary leadership and administration of EEMN over to Pastor Bill Moberly. He continues as Founding Director of EEMN. Though he continues to reside in Bloomington and the office is located in the same city, he travels frequently to various countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He is excited about this ministry and is grateful to God for the fellowship and friendship with brothers and sisters in many countries. He is also grateful to be able to partner with people over there in developing Bible Schools, colleges and other similar ministries.