'God has a plan': Detroit Lakes church picking up the pieces after wind gust blows apart addition

A neighbor said it sounded like a hammer.

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Pastor Paul Larson said to many, the church looks like a disaster, but to the congregation at Faith Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, it is something else.

"This is where the gymnasium was going to be," he said, pointing out a mess of lumber.

"God is doing something here, we don't know exactly what, but we're convinced he's doing something for his good, for his kingdom," Pastor Larson said.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, the contractor had just finished putting up the trusses to the new addition. Forty-eight hours later, a single gust of wind in the middle of the night wiped out months of work. The exact wind speed of the gust is not known, but the peak gust at the nearby airport was 43 mph.

"Our first response was, 'whoa, why, Lord?'" said Pastor Larson.


The church is in the process of adding the gymnasium and four classrooms for its pre-kindergarten through eighth grade Christian school. The hope was to get enough work done to allow the children to move in by the end of the year and complete the half a million dollar project in the spring. Now the students will have to wait until the fall.

"We aren't discouraged to the point where we're sad or disheartened because we know God will work things out," said Pastor Larson.

Miraculously, the original church building was not damaged. Pastor Larson said while it may be a setback time wise, it's been a true test of the community. He said people have already reached out to help cleanup and restore the addition.

"No one got injured when it happened," he said. "Thanksgiving is coming up and we have a lot of things we can still be thanking the Lord for because it could have been much worse," he said.

The insurance adjuster has not determined how much it will cost to repair the damage.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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