Photos by Dan Wentzel
After you have visited and toured the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota cross the street to check out a place called Valtiroty. From the outside, it just looks like a colorful entrance to a gift shop and it is but, it is much more. The store name offers no clue to the inside of the gift shop and is really a conglomeration of letters from the founder’s three children’s names.
The entrance features several characters that just look like fun and offer photo opportunities. The building is also in the castle style like the Corn Palace across the street. We almost passed by until we spotted the sign that offered a Bible Walk. Our curiosity got the best of us even though time was short to complete our touring plans of the area.
We were greeted by a very friendly man and he immediately told us about the founder, project and the tour. He explained the purpose of the project and advised us it was free. Being Christians and having a healthy curiosity, we needed to inspect the inner room.
He explained that for 12 years, the founder, had planned, created, collected materials and worked to fund the project with thus the help of family and others. In the beginning his plans outreached the available resources and became a smaller project. It still is quite large enough and meaningful to warrant some of your time.
According to the pamphlet, the purpose is described as a project that is “self-supporting and a self-sustained ministry and a light at the crossroads for the local people as well as the sojourner.”
As you make the walk, you find scene after scene depicting bible times and for a short time you can understand what living in that time in the beautiful bible lands was really all about. It is a spiritual experience that starts with the Tabernacle, The Holy Place and even The Most Holy Place which was so infrequently visited and only by The High Priest. Each vignette tells another part of the bible stories and lets you glimpse a land where Christ’s ministry took place and for a short time you feel you are there and can participate in the lifestyle. This is a very good place to study and meditate.
We really felt the refreshment and revitalization as we walked through, stopping to take many photos. The man that acted as our unofficial guide helped to point out the special points of interest but, it is fairly self- explanatory for anyone who reads the scriptures. It will be an eye opener for those who are interested in a more detailed study since each scene helps bring the Bible to life. Those new Christians will feel a better understanding of the verses and passages they are still learning. Look up to notice the 12 tribal flags. For anyone, it is a lovely experience. I highly recommend you drop in even for a quick tour.
The gift shop part of this store offers a collection of biblicaly and spiritually inspired objects. This shop also features a Children’s Jungle Room which features toys and lots of interactive and educational play time. an artifacts display and a reading corner where you can take some materials and leave others that are appropriate or buy printed materials including the owner’s books. There is much more for people who live close by and have the time to enjoy a more in -depth study.