Meet Mark Mowry
* Proud to be an American from the great and free state of South Dakota!
* Determined to do what’s right!
* Ranch-raised on the White River south of Presho
* Married 40 years to Paula Sack, Onida
* Four grown children
* Musician, Writer, Educator, Entrepreneur
* Surrendered my life to Christ, 1986
As with most of you, I am taking a hard look at what our society has deemed ‘acceptable’. Forget ‘normal’ – ‘normal’ is gone, I believe. We are a NOW people, however – Not OverWhelmed! I believe that has always been a key to America’s greatness. There are far too many issues facing us today that simply are not acceptable in a free society, yet we are not overwhelmed; we are determined to do what’s right!
In my lifetime I have not made a lot money, but faith, frugality, and fortitude (along with a little ‘luck’ from time to time) has always seen me through. I have a wide work background among diverse groups of people. I am blue collar, I am white collar; I don’t know where the distinction begins and ends, and I don’t really care. What matters most to me is that faith, family, and freedom are protected in my homeland as established by our Constitution.
I’m ranch-raised, the middle son among three who was raised along the White River south of Presho. Both of my brothers followed in Dad’s footsteps and are ranchers today. I marched to the beat of a different drum, you might say. I attended a one-room rural school until 6th grade, then started going to ‘town’ school in Presho. I was better suited to town living than ranch living, it seems, and soon I was dreaming of being a star athlete in Lyman County. I learned a little too late how to dribble a basketball and do a good lay-up, but I eventually got a letter in football. The summer following my sophomore year, I started entering rodeo competition, and the following June, I won the South Dakota High School Bull Riding championship – life really is ‘like a box of chocolates’!
I also started playing the drums in the high school orchestra, and that came in pretty handy for me later. Even though I was an English major at Black Hills State University, my drumming ability allowed me a spot with the Black Hills Gold Troupe, and I got to tour Northern Europe along with my new wife, Paula Sack from Onida. BH Gold even got to play for Governor Bill Janklow at the Governor’s Banquet that spring.
During these years, I worked construction, worked at the Spearfish sawmill, and started a three-piece band that played throughout the Black Hills and across the five-state region. I was semi-accomplished in a few things, but truth is, I was mostly directionless, and had acquired a lot of bad habits and behaviors that weren’t acceptable for a family man.
In the fall of 1986, Paula started talking about Jesus all the time, and at first I thought perhaps I’d finally driven her ‘over the edge’ with my lifestyle. However, in time I could clearly see that she had found something in life more significant than anything I’d been doing, and when she asked me one day if I’d like to have Jesus become LORD and Savior, I said, “Sure; why not?” That changed everything!
I left the band then and worked the next several years as an award-winning journalist, first for the Spearfish Queen City Mail, then the Tri-State Livestock News. All the while Paula and I were raising our four kids, going to church, dreaming of ways that we could do something important and lasting for God (along with raising children!).
One thing led to another, and in 1993, after seven years of calling ourselves Christians, we headed to Chennai, South India, where I worked at the national office of Youth With A Mission. In India, I conducted music projects, both solo and in collaboration with Indian musicians, taught English at international and Christian schools, and with Paula, started an education business (I write more about this on the “From the Desk of Mark Mowry” page).
It was never a very steady or easy existence, bouncing back and forth between India and South Dakota. During those times back in South Dakota, I earned my professional credentials as a secondary Language Arts instructor while working in a facility for adjudicated youth.
Through the years, we could clearly see the emerging ‘culture wars’ that were beginning to develop in the United States. It bothered us to see this, but we felt helpless and ineffective at bearing much light to others because, after all, we’d been living in India, so what could we possibly know about life in the U. S.?
We’ve been back from India since 2014. The societal changes have accelerated and become more drastic in the last few years. The Trump Presidency was the true breaking point for the polarity of the American citizenry. I’m convinced that we are in the final showdown for either a Constitutional Republic or a socialist regime. What a time to be alive!