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Lind: Friendship developed in ministry reveals a family connection

Prism is a nondenominational worship service for Fargo-Moorhead college students and other young adults that meets at Bethel Church, Fargo. It draws around 150 each Sunday night.

Matt Rusten and Nick Hall
Matt Rusten, left, and Nick Hall built a friendship through their participation in a Christian ministry. They recently discovered they have a deeper connection. Special to The Forum

Prism is a nondenominational worship service for Fargo-Moorhead college students and other young adults that meets at Bethel Church, Fargo. It draws around 150 each Sunday night.

One of its leaders in the past was Matt Rusten, son of Ken and Maxine Rusten of Fargo, and then a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill.

Matt is the kind of guy students like to talk to, and many did so after the services. One of them was a North Dakota State University sophomore named Nick Hall.

Nick, son of Bruce and Kathy Hall of Fargo, and Matt hit it off and started hanging out together.

Matt, seeing Nick's interest in student ministry, got him plugged into helping with Prism. Then he got Nick involved in the River worship band, which participates in Campus Crusade for Christ meetings on the NDSU campus.

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So Matt and Nick became good buddies, united in their mutual interest in serving the Lord.

And then, some weeks later, they found they had another tie.

They were related.

Milton connection

One day Matt mentioned that his father had grown up at Milton, N.D.

Whoa, Nick said. His mother's family had grown up at Milton, also.

Well, the guys began searching through the branches of their respective family trees. And they discovered that in the late 1800s, someone from Matt's family on his father's side had married someone from the family of Nick's mother.

As a result, Matt and Nick were twigs on the same family tree: They were distant cousins.

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Moving on

Today, Matt is interning as an associate pastor at a church in Leawood, Kan., while Nick, Fargo, heads a campus outreach he organized called Pulse, traveling all over the Midwest and beyond with his wife, Tiffany, and staff and speaking to thousands of college students.

And that's the story of two guys who share a common faith and who, by accident, discovered they shared a common bloodline, too.

More cousins

Speaking of cousins, here's a note about a couple of others.

It comes about because of a Neighbors item about a veteran railroad engineer, Bob Bye of Custer, S.D.

That column led to a note from Dr. George Johnson of Fargo, who is retired from MeritCare, Fargo, and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine.

George writes that he appreciated the story about Bob who, George says, "is my favorite first cousin."

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Probably everyone has a favorite cousin. In George Johnson's eyes, Bob Bye holds that honor.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com

Related Topics: FAITH
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