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ABOUT US

Mission Statement

Love God ° Love People ° Make A Difference

Our Mission Statement to “Love God, Love People, and Make a Difference” is derived from two foundational teachings in the bible.  The Great Commandment and The Great Commission.

In the Great Commandment Jesus responds to the question “what is the greatest commandment”, by stating “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind… the second is equally important: love your neighbor as yourself.  The entire law and teachings of the prophets rest on these two commandments”  Matt. 22:38-40

The Great Commission is what Jesus gives to his disciples just before he ascends into heaven, with these departing words he tells them “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teach them what I have commanded you and remember I am with you always to the end of time.”  Matt. 28:19-20

From these foundational texts and a deep understanding of God’s unconditional love for his people and creation we feel it is our privilege and responsibility to respond to God’s love by loving Him and sharing that love with the people and world around us.  This calls us to action, to be a church community that not only cares for people inside our walls, but one that also seeks to “go therefore” into our community with that love and make a difference in the world around us.

    We strive to live out that Mission by being a church known for is Giving, Caring, Loving, and Sharing personality.

    • We offer high-quality educational programs for children ages nursery through high school, including Good Samaritan Christian Academy (PK-5), Faith Lutheran Junior/Senior High School, educational ministries and a variety of summer faith-based camps.
    • Active small groups ministry encompassing educational, fellowship and service opportunities
    • Dedicated ministries for Gamblers Anonymous
    • Personal community outreach through our Sandwich Ministry, Family Promise participation, Layette Ministry and Lutheran Social Services of Nevada participation.
    • International outreach through our Global Mission program which includes fair trade sales, adopt a child, and clean water programs along with special activities like Operation Christmas Child, Dress a Girl Around the World and organized mission trips.
    • Special events such as Remembrance Sunday, military and patriotic celebrations.

    History

    Good Samaritan Lutheran Church

    The prayers and praises of the first Good Samaritan pioneers rang out joyfully on December 12, 1976. Southwest Las Vegas was wide open space at that time. The congregation met in a hardware store during 1977, and was formally organized on October 23, 1977. The store was the Rainbow Mercantile Hardware Store, located at 3558 South Jones, which has since burned down. With 100+ charter members, enthusiasm for the Lord, and a faith that was growing, a congregation was planted that has flourished! Good Samaritan was the first Christian congregation in a building in Southwest Las Vegas. In this early location, the altar and pulpit were made up of the store’s wallpaper display tables. The church later relocated to its long-time location at Flamingo and Torrey Pines. After outgrowing that facility, the church was relocated in 2008 to a new campus. Since our transition to the new facility we have been continuing to grow both as a congregation as well as a school, Good Samaritan Christian Academy. We provide a legitimate alternative to the other congregations around us as we are the only mainline congregation within a radius of several miles.

     

    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
    www.elca.org

    Staff

    Don Lorfing

    Senior Pastor

    Born and raised in Montana I graduated from the University of Texas in San Antonio and then from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in South Carolina. I have been blessed to be a Pastor at Good Samaritan since 2004 and love all the ways this church lives out it’s faith in service to our community and to one another. I have been married to my wonderful wife Amy for over 25 years and have two amazing children. My son Tristen has graduated from college and is living out his dream to be a scuba dive instructor and my daughter Kyrie is attending Columbia Univ. in New York. I believe deeply in the mission of our church to “Love God, Love People, and Make a Difference” and see that mission lived out all the time in the lives and ministries of this incredible congregation. If you do not already attend our church I pray you will come and see all the ways God is changing lives and making his love known through this Christian community, and that you will consider making us your church home.

    Scott Hove

    Executive Pastor

    Pastor Scott serves as Executive Pastor. He grew up on a farm in North Dakota. He attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN graduating with degrees in Business Administration and History/Political Science. Out of college Scott served as a staff member on both the House and Senate sides of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and later ran for statewide office in his native state of North Dakota. Scott was a development (fund-raising) professional at his alma mater. He has served as a pastor at two other churches – Community Lutheran in Las Vegas and Light of Christ Lutheran in Algonquin, IL. He and his wife, Debi, reside in Henderson, NV along with their son, Parker, and their Yellow Labrador Retriever, Dolly.

    Darin Bradford

    Music Director

    Darin has been playing music since he was only four years old. His passion followed him throughout his life and he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance/Pedagogy from Missouri State University. Previously as a Music Director, he directed chancel choir, bell choir and played piano, as well as organ. He has even performed on the Las Vegas Strip as a concert pianist! In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family; his wife, Danielle, a daughter and three sons.

    Miriam Dake

    Executive Director of Good Samaritan Christian Academy

    I have been living and loving the city of Las Vegas for the past 30 years. Born in New York City, I moved to the Dominican Republic in 1983. Living in a developing country for seven years makes you look at life differently. I taught Sunday school there and realized children and teaching is my passion. I was part of the founding committee that established the first American Baptist Elementary School in the D.R. where I taught first and second grade. The Lord has opened many doors to serve him here. I have had the opportunity to open three schools in Las Vegas. One of the greatest blessing I‘ve had is working with children every day. It has been an amazing journey here at Good Samaritan Lutheran Church / Academy since 2009. The staff is so dedicated and our school continues to grow. My desire is that our school family will have a personal relationship with the Lord and share His love with people they touch.

    Kim Niehaus

    Finance Administrator

    Being a Minnesota native, it is not surprising that I am a life-long Lutheran. I am married to Brian and we have three children, a son, Brice, and twin daughters, Lindsey & Sydney. I am so grateful that God led us to Good Samaritan when we moved to Las Vegas in 2010 as it is truly a wonderful, caring community of people, many whom have become good friends. I first began volunteering as an usher/greeter, helping in the office and singing with the choir and praise team and then I joined the staff in 2014. I feel blessed that I can share my talents in a very meaningful way. I am very involved with my children’s education and activities and also enjoy reading, traveling and working on my family genealogy. In my spare time, you might find me making a hot dish (a.k.a. casserole for you non-Minnesotans) or playing a game of Euchre or Cribbage! I look forward to seeing you at church!

    Holly Paet

    Office Administrator

    Holly grew up in Northern California, in the small, rural community of Kneeland. She lived in Sacramento, before moving to Las Vegas in 2011. She has been married to her husband, Terrance, for seven years and they have two boys, Aiden and Nathan, who keep them busy. They have been involved with Good Sam for four years and love being a part of the friendly, warm and caring community here. Holly not only works in the office, she also helps with Sunday School, has subbed in the preschool and was a MOPS leader for two years. Holly enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, road trips, gardening, the outdoors, baking, country music and anything sci-fi. She is also an active leader in her sons’ cub scout pack. Holly feels blessed that God has placed her family here and they continue to enjoy serving at Good Sam.

    Jamie Rosas

    Sunday School Director

    Jamie was born in upstate New York where she studied elementary education and early childhood development. She moved to Las Vegas in 2006 to be closer to her parents who had retired here. She spent some time in restaurant management where she met her husband Carlos. They have a beautiful daughter Maddie, who inspired Jamie to return to her passion of working with children and helping them grow in their relationship with God. Jamie loves spending all her free time with her daughter and husband, playing outdoors, being active, doing arts and crafts and just having fun.

    Natalee Butler

    Youth Director / Connections Coordinator

    Natalee is a Vegas native, attended Las Vegas Academy, and graduated from UNLV with her B.S. in Psychology in 2014. She followed her call to Good Sam shortly after and has been blessed to spend the last 6 years serving this family. She splits her time between Youth Ministry and Connections, so if you are or have a student in Jr or Sr High, or if you are newer to Good Sam, she’s probably texted or emailed you recently, and would legitimately love to hear back from you! Natalee has been married to her husband, Robert, for two years, has the pleasure of being step mom to two boys (Gavin, 15 & Dominic, 23), and is a proud pawrent to two pups (Venus & Alpha)! She enjoys iced coffee, meeting new people (especially while enjoying said coffee), taking naps, and managing her dogs’ Instagram account. She also enjoys a good podcast, so send all your recs her way!

    Tommi Garza

    Communications Coordinator

    Born and raised in Las Vegas, I have been attending Good Samaritan for over 20 years. I graduated from UNLV with my Masters in Special Education in 2011. When my son was born I knew I wanted to spend more time home with him and I made the decision to leave the classroom and pursue part-time work. I love spending time outdoors such as hiking, camping, and snowboarding. I am so grateful to have Good Samaritan as my church home. My husband, Loren, and I regularly attend weekend worship along with our three children, Carter, Olivia, and Nolan.

    Council Members – Adult

    Marcel Vermeulen

    Council President

    Marcel Vermeulen has served on the council since 2020. He also serves on the finance committee and supported our Treasurer with the Academy budget. He also has enjoyed participating in several Mexico Mission trips. Prior to retiring, he was responsible as general manager of a nationwide IT Service Business with a focus on increasing sales and improving profitability. In addition, he also has an extensive global project management background and has served on an HOA Board as President and Treasurer. His hobbies are reading, traveling, hiking, playing badminton, enjoying some wine and managing his family’s investment portfolio.

    Randy Okamura

    Council Vice President

     

    I have attended Good Samaritan Church for about 2 years, typically attending the 10:00 am service. Although technically retired, I am a Real Estate broker salesperson. Before immigrating to Las Vegas from California, I was with AT&T as an external affairs director doing community and government relations. I am completing my 2nd year in the ELCA’s Diakonia program, have spoken on behalf of our church before the county planning commission in support of our tower and at a meeting with our neighbors. I enjoy organizing and participating in group activities and building and developing teams and communities. I look forward to working with other Council members to create a safe, vibrant church-centered community where we live, work and play.

    Rick Byrnes

    Council Treasurer

    My wife, Paulette, and I moved to Las Vegas in 2010 from Cleveland, Ohio. We have four grown children living in four different states. Our search for a church home was quick as we visited Good Sam first and we immediately felt right at home with the warm welcome we received. In the several years we have been members, we have become quite active. It has been my pleasure to serve on church council for four years and now welcome the opportunity to serve in the role as Treasurer.

    Ann Krupp

    Council Secretary

    I moved from New Hampshire to Las Vegas in 2015. Currently I work as an IT Consultant for Aristocrat Technologies, but past careers have included Middle School Teacher and Environmental Consultant. I have two grown children – my son and his wife live in NH. My daughter Cassandra lives with me, and together we run a non profit Shakespeare theatrical company.

    Regina Vermeulen

    Council Member

    My husband Marcel and I started attending Good Samaritan in 2013 after moving to Las Vegas to be close to my son, his wife and our three grandsons. I’m originally from New York and worked in Human Resources Management prior to retiring. As a lifelong Lutheran, I feel blessed to have found Good Samaritan and knew from our very first visit that GSLC would be our new church home. Everyone is incredibly warm, friendly and welcoming. It’s been my pleasure ever since to participate in church and community activities and events, be on the HR Committee and belong to a Small Group with wonderful people. I am grateful to serve GSLC, our members and staff as a Council member and past President.

    Joe Gilbert

    Council Member

    My wife Emily and I joined Good Samaritan about five years ago, and have found it to be a true church home. We have lived in Las Vegas for 25 years and have two grown children and one grandson. I retired in 2015 after 25 years as a professor of business strategy and business ethics at UNLV. We are members of a very active small group, and since Emily is Service Coordinator for the 8 o’clock service I am sometimes an usher, greeter, reader and communion assistant. I also sing in the Christmas and Easter choirs, attend and sometimes lead the Thursday morning faith talk group, and take part in other church activities.

    Deanna Wierzbicki

    Council Member

    Born and raised in northwest Michigan, I graduated from Grand Valley State University in Biological Anthropology. Having a strong science background, I was recruited into pharmaceutical sales. After 32 years of enduring long winters, I relocated to sunny Las Vegas. A year later, in 2004, I married my husband, Mark. In 2007 we were blessed with twins, Luke and Ava. Mark and I were raised in Lutheran families, so discovering Good Samaritan Christian Academy preschool was a blessing as it offered the warm, cozy, loving, and Christian environment we were looking for. We knew right away we had also found our church home at Good Sam and quickly decided to become members in 2011. Since then I have had the pleasure of making many wonderful friends and serving alongside talented individuals on various committees. It is an honor to now serve on the council and I look forward to becoming a positive and productive member.

    Jeremy Hare

    Council Member

    My family and I have been attending Good Samaritan Church for the past 9-10 years, typically attending the 10:00 am or 8:30 am service during the football season. I am the Vice President for Nevada State for a Wealth Management firm specializing in accumulation, distribution and transfer of assets in tax efficient matters. Over the last several months I have served as an interim member of GSLC’s Council, participating in monthly meetings and becoming familiar with the many aspects of Good Samaritan Church and Academy. I also volunteer as an Usher at the 10:00 am service and fill in when needed. I enjoy golfing, hanging out with the family, and watching all Minnesota sports and the Golden Knights.