Over 50 years ago, God impressed on Rev. C.E. Dietz to purchase a hay field to the Northwest of Coeur d’Alene. It was on the south side of then Highway #10. Rev. Dietz believed Highway #10 would eventually become a major highway. God gave him a vision of how he could reach the traveling public with the Gospel by placing a large billboard with interchangeable Bible texts. Later, the Dept. of Transportation decided to build Highway I-90 on the south side of the hay field. Rev. Dietz’s property was sandwiched between Highways #10 and I-90. I-90 is now the busiest highway crossing the northern states, running from Seattle to Boston. It is also the busiest highway in North Idaho. Highway #10 is now known as Appleway. It was widened in 2000 and is the busiest East-West Avenue in Coeur d’Alene (CDA).
Rev. Dietz and a few friends built the original Bible billboard with large timbers. It was unveiled the same day as the ribbon cutting for I-90. This was the beginning of Rev. Dietz’s vision for ministering to the traveling public. His vision also included a prayer chapel, a Christian book store, a counseling center, radio and TV ministries, and a Christian conference center. Rev. Dietz named the ministry, Highway Evangelism.
Ron Vieselmeyer moved to CDA in 1978. He met Rev. Dietz a few weeks after moving to North Idaho. A short time later, Rev. Dietz and the Board of Directors of Highway Evangelism invited Rev. Ron Vieselmeyer to open the counseling center. The Help Center Counseling Services opened in February, 1979.
Rev. Dietz was in his late 80′s when he began talking to Ron Vieselmeyer about taking over the ministry. Rev. Dietz died at 91 years of age in 1983. Ron, with the support of a great Board of Directors, took over the ministry. Under his direction, the original wooden billboard was replaced in 1984 with a steel and aluminum billboard. Also, in 1984, an identical Bible billboard was erected next to I-84 in Southern Idaho. In 2000, the Southern Idaho Bible board was upgraded to a full-color electronic sign. Literally millions of travelers have read God’s Word.
The original Christian bookstore was built by Rev. Dietz in approximately 1960. It was called The Bible Book Nook. The store outgrew the original facility. In 1997, the present building was constructed to house the store and the Counseling Center. Since its inception, over 5,000 people have been counseled at the Help Center.
The store, now named Sower Bible Bookstore, services all of North Idaho and the Spokane Valley. Also, purchases can be made online at www.sowerchristianbookstore.com.
Certain aspects of the vision are yet to be fulfilled. However, as God provides the funds, we will continue to work toward these ministries becoming a reality. As of January 1, 2014, we have merged with Reach America. Reach America’s ministry is evangelistic, but also puts strong emphasis on Christians being discipled so they can disciple others in order to have a greater impact on the culture. Reach America just recently started a leadership training school.
You can probably imagine our facilities are being stretched to the limit. Our next project as God leads and supplies is to build the conference center called “The Freedom Center”. The facility will provide space for Christian conferences, leadership training school, and a proper place for taping radio and TV programs.
If you would like to be a part of this exciting multi-faceted ministry, contact:
Highway Evangelism, Inc.
1234 W. Appleway Ave.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
Sower Book Store