On the evening of May 20th, 1988, I was born into a small Christian family. My father, Steve Andrews Sr., is a UNIX administrator at Centene Corporation, while my mother, Lisa, is an administrative assistant at Alliance Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I have one sister, Sarah, who served as a Director of Christian Education in the past and is now serving as a Spanish teacher in rural Kansas. My parents raised me in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and I plan to further my education and become a pastor within Christ's church.
As a high school student, my faith in Christ was very weak and immature. However, in my sophomore year, God blessed me with the opportunity to attend a TEC Weekend. TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) is a God-focused, three-day retreat for mature high school youth. The weekend opened my eyes and my heart, changing forever my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Since then, I have decided that I should serve God (the least I can do for all He has given me!) in any way that I am able, living my life for the furthering of His kingdom. I enjoy helping and working with people, taken together with my skills in leadership and organization, and figure the best way for me to do so is in shepherding His flock on Earth. Thus, I plan to serve in Christ's church as a pastor by helping, comforting, and edifying His people.
My foremost personal goal in life is to have a family that I may love, care for, and support. My wife, Hannah, and I were married on May 22, 2010. Hannah is an elementary school teacher with a Lutheran Teacher's Degree. She has taught a year of 4th grade, and is currently working with preschoolers. I also enjoy spending time with my friends, playing and watching sports, enjoying nature, and working with my hands. I have spent some time during the summer months working with contractors and painters, which not only taught me a lot of things about repairing and maintaining a home, but also proved enjoyable.
The most recent endeavor in our life together has been vicarage. I have served as Vicar at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Elmhurst, Illinois since August 2011. I have just a few months left to go here before we return to St. Louis to finish studies at the seminary. The time here has proven wonderful. This congregation is a good size, offers many different programs and projects that I can learn from as a Vicar (which is part of the point!). It makes me look forward to that day when Hannah and I will be called to our first parish, God willing, in the summer of 2013!
After graduating from Concordia University Chicago in December of 2007, my desire to serve our Lord in a church grew and I quickly returned to Concordia to pursue my Masters in Christian Education.
After studying for one more year I went out on my DCE internship where I worked primarily with youth teaching Bible studies, helping with confirmation, leading retreats, and even tackled organizing VBS! It was during that year of wonderful experiences and periods of growth that I felt called to attend Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. I have spent the last year working, learning Hebrew, and helping out at the Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights, IL. I am very excited to begin my studies in St. Louis and to start my training to be a pastor. I look forward to serving God by serving His people through Word and Sacrament.
Thank you all very much again for your support!
Hello. My name is Daniel Bodin and am in my first year of study at Concordia Seminary. Growing up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the idea of being a pastor has been with me since I was around 8 years old. At times, the pull was hard. Other times, it was just kind of sitting in the back of my mind. With God’s help, I took a step of faith and applied to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. After being accepted, my wife and I packed up our home and two small kitties and left behind our jobs and family. I’m the youngest of four and have a twin brother.
I attended St. Cloud State University for my undergraduate years. Switching majors at least five times, I finally graduated with a Bachelors in English, more specifically Rhetorical and Applied Writing. My first two years I attended school on a music scholarship but I decided that wasn’t a future career for me. While finishing the requirements to turn my first two years into a minor, I met my wife in the Music department. We later married after we both finish our Bachelor programs.
Before Seminary, I wasn’t exactly sure what God’s plan was for me; especially since my education was English and Music, my significant job experience was in Graphic Design, and, before coming to seminary, my most recent job was in the Escrow department of a popular online bank. I can think of only one vocation that uses all of these experiences at once: Pastor.
So here I am, attending Seminary, watching God open door after door as I, along with my wife, continue on this exciting journey. I am looking forward to see where this path takes us and continually lean on Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” I pray God uses me for His plan, and am so thankful for all the blessings He provides.
My first years of college, as well as seminary training, have been a great testing ground, not just for intellectual testing or social testing, but also most importantly, for character testing. Like most undergraduates and even graduate students I have felt many doubts and uncertainties in my college life and career planning. I started my undergraduate career at the University of Wisconsin- Madison pursuing a career in pharmacy, but quickly changed my focus to Orthopedic and Veterinary Medicine. By the start of my second year, I was considering English Education. One of the greatest obstacles for me is that I am talented at many things, which makes focusing on one career a difficult undertaking. However, it was after my second year at Madison that I realized a passion of mine that has been suppressed during the course of my studies: a career in religion and church work. After a few secular religion classes at UW-Madison, I followed this passion to transfer to Concordia University Wisconsin, majoring in Pastoral ministry for the Lutheran Church. If you review the careers I considered that I have listed above they all focus on helping, whether physically or intellectually. Following a career in church work will allow me to additionally appeal to the spiritual needs for people, and in our day and age it is a rare and honorable thing that anyone, let alone a young man such as myself to consider the needs of other people to this extent.
It is not so much that I want to become a pastor in The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, although I certainly do, but rather, I need to minister to people. At this point in my life, although I do wrestle with many doubts about my potential for service, I feel as if everything I have done, everything that has happened to me, and everything that I have excelled at, whether through my childhood, in high school, or in college, has prepared me to appeal to others, comfort them, and strengthen them spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes I consider that if I do not apply the gifts God has given me to relate to people in ways that many cannot, I would be letting myself down, I would let down all the people who I would and could reach out to, and I would let down, most importantly, God. People can claim that they are or have been called by God, but my emotional, intellectual, Biblical and academic intelligence, the people I have met, and the experiences in my life, all make me a candidate that might just be good enough to call himself a man in the service of God. That is what ministering is all about really: service. In the age we are currently living in, most people have lost trust in most things in their life, but having spent most of my life in public education and having seen the world outside of the Church, I can reach out to people who need someone who understands them. After finishing my last year of my Master of Divinity degree, at Concordia Seminary, I plan on entering full time parish ministry, while still maintaining the option to be awarded an additional Master of Sacred Theology and Doctor of Philosophy. Please consider me as a faithful applicant for your generous financial support.
My name is Benjamin James Carnahan. On February 26, 1987, I was born in Sparwood in the interior of British Columbia in Canada. My parents, David and Suzanne, had moved there with my big brother, Joshua, when my father received his first pastoral call to Sparwood. When I was only two years old, we moved to Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. My little brother, Nathan, was born in November of 1989, when I was three and Josh was six. We lived in Victoria until 1999, when we moved to Bend, Oregon after my father received a call to be associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church.
My father is still serving Trinity, in fact he is about to be installed as the new senior pastor. My brothers and I all attended high school in Bend and then we all went to the same university: Concordia, Irvine in southern California. Josh graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s in History, I graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s in Theological Studies and a minor in Biblical Languages, and Nathan graduated just this May, with a bachelor’s in Liberal Studies and Elementary education. Josh continued on to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland where he spent two years before returning home with his Master’s of Letters in History. He just got married a few months ago and is now seeking an LCMS teaching position in Portland, OR. Nathan has graduated with all his teaching credentials and has started a teaching position at Bethlehem Lutheran in Carson City, Nevada. I went straight from CUI to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. I recently returned to St. Louis to finish my fourth year of seminary after a year of vicarage (internship) at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot, North Dakota.
I am going to seminary to be a Navy chaplain. I was commissioned on August 29th, 2011 at Minot Air Force Base. While on vicarage, I spent five weeks at Officer Training Command, Newport, Rhode Island going through Officer Development School. God willing, I will be an active duty Navy chaplain within two years of my graduation in May. It was there at training that I might my girlfriend, Andrea Chladek. She is an active duty Navy Labor and Delivery Nurse at Navy Medical Center, San Diego. We are both from Oregon, both wanted to be chefs originally, and both swore we would never fall for anyone in the Navy, especially not at training! Our Lord has an interesting sense of humor sometimes. We decided to try a long distance relationship and so far God has blessed it thoroughly. We love each other very much, we pray and read the Bible together, and we both have high hopes for our future together (although no official plans just yet, we are exercising patience!).
I have always tried to both succeed in life and have a lot of fun doing it. I have yet to strike that balance just right. Sometimes I end up focusing more on succeeding and sometimes I focus more on the fun. As I have grown, I keep finding myself edging more and more towards that middle point, but never quite reaching it. I’ll still keep trying!
Success to me means doing the very best I can 100% of the time. Fun means spending time doing interesting things with the people I value the most. Those interesting things vary widely. I have always been in love with the outdoors. Even when I was a small child, my father and grandfather taught me how to fish, how bird watch, how tie flies for fishing, how to cut down trees and chop wood, how to hike and camp, and so on. Some of my earliest memories include going out on the boat with Dad and my brothers. When we moved to Bend, we discovered an outdoors paradise. In Central Oregon everything from snowboarding and snowshoeing to canoeing and river floating to hiking and camping to hunting and fishing are abundantly available.
Another distinguishing factor is the effort and intensity I put into my relationships. Whether it be parents, brothers, extended family, friends, significant others, even work and school relations, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. I am also fiercely defensive of everyone I love. I believe this is part of why I am being called to the chaplaincy.
Finally, and most importantly, I love God because He first loved me. The more I learn about God, the more I find out how little I know. I am excited to learn and grow as throughout my vicarage experience at Our Savior in Minot.
My desire to serve the Lord in Holy Ministry encouraged my participation in mission trips, teaching 5th and 6th grade youth groups, reaching out in school, and seeking the knowledge from pastors and seminary students alike. The Lord blessed me with parents who baptized and nurtured me throughout my childhood and even today. Now the Holy Spirit continues to thrive in my life as I help to restore Haiti and support my fellow peers to stay steadfast in their walk with the Lord at the University of Toledo. His guidance has moved me to continue my education and preach the saving grace found only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As I reflect on what contributed to the God serving man I am today, I am reminded of the church, events, and people, which contributed to that growth. Buried in a memory box I found my attempt at a book from second grade describing what my future might be like. Flipping through the pages I came to what my profession would be; it read missionary pilot. My dreams of spreading the Gospel run deep within my mind. Teachers in grade school like Mrs. Lyndsey, gave me the drive to continue my journey. As she taught 6th grade science it was a relief to not hear of evolution as a fact, but she taught many theories including creationism. She reassured me that even in a public school the Lord was present.
Being raised Lutheran is a blessing in itself, but I have been at Trinity Lutheran Church Toledo, Ohio for more than 10 years. Families here see my walk with God and more importantly are a part of them. One family, the Huners, provide me with a lot of encouragement, prayers and support. During my final year of confirmation in 2005, Mr. Huner my elder, asked me during a private exam, " What can you do to earn your salvation?" I sat there in my chair squirming and thinking, but I knew it was a trick question. You can in fact do nothing to earn your salvation. When I finally spat it out, he chuckled and said, "You're right." People like Mr. Huner are active in giving me a thirst for theology.
No human road is paved perfectly. I have stumbled like my fellow Christians before me. God put Vicar German in my life when I was on my "high horse". When my family left for North Carolina in the fall of 2008 I stayed in Michigan to finish my senior year early. After completing high school in December of 2008, I left bound for North Carolina with over 40 credit hours in college completed and having graduated early. Vicar German helped bring me back in focus on what being a pastor really means. His fire for getting young men to consider the ministry was enormous. I joined in on my brother's private confirmation classes. My thirst for God's Word was greater than ever, which prompted him to invite me back to his house for scripture lessons and Greek. His example of ministry fueled my desire to humble myself and get back to the basics: spending time in the Word and devotion to taking time for others.
I don't believe there is any one moment in time where I could say, "I want to be a pastor." There have been numerous contributions and prayers for the Lord to lead me. During the summer of 2009 I worked at Camp Arcadia, a Lutheran family camp. Here I was roomed with our staff Chaplin and seminary student, Paul Muther. Never having a chance to visit the seminary during high school, this was my chance to learn about seminary life. The unique nature of his servant heart was a blessing to be around. I remember him waking up 5:45 AM with me, just to get his hands dirty and work right along with the staff. He came into the kitchen a few times, donned an apron and worked with us. He would inquire about our lives, what he could pray for, and asked if we needed anything. During that summer we became close, each night we would pray for the Lord's will to be done in our lives along with friends' and families' protection and guidance. His devotion inspired my longing to continue my education and daily seek to be a servant to others.
God always has His way, and my soul was finally put at ease after being asked to join a mission team to Haiti in March of 2011. My last mission trip had been quite some time ago in Mexico when I was 18 and before that it had been New Orleans two years after Katrina. I was eager to get back in the saddle. Lutheran Church Charities was working with Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care to make these spring break trips possible. The president of LCC, Tim Hetzner, was going to be coming with us. We worked on constructing a guesthouse, but my best time was spent in conversation after the workday. Relaxing in the Isaiah 61 house after a day spent moving cinderblocks; Tim and I sat down and talked about missionary work and where I would see myself in the future. His interest prompted new thought to where I might go. My heart has been attached to Haiti ever since. Marky Kessa, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti, asked my friend, Sofie Martin, and myself to teach English as Second Language to his church in Jacmel.
My love for ministry was richly nourished in Haiti. Returning to Haiti in June, I spent 2 ½ months living with Pastor Marky, Madam Pastor and their family. I saw sacrifice and compassion during my stay like nothing I had ever witnessed. God's mercy was new each morning. After the service one Sunday we notice Pastor Marky staying in the front of the church listening to some parishioners, we inquired about it. I was informed that in Haiti a congregation does not support its pastor, but instead the congregation looks to the pastor to support them. Even though an earthquake has left Haiti In ruin, pastors like Marky do everything in their power to help their congregations and communities. I have emptied dump trucks of sandals to bare foot children, sat down and listened to stories of chaos and death from Haitian friends, and worked to rebuild lives by continuing education in English.
My final influences are grounded in my family and pastors. My parents sacrificed much time and energy to ensure I was instructed properly through Trinity. They have fortified my ambitions and continue to pray daily for the Holy Spirit to guide me. What better is there than to dwell in the House of the Lord? It was there my pastors over the years shared the Word with me. The newest pastors to our church, Reverend Carr and Reverend Voormann, are excellent mentors. I have learned much from their instruction in bible study and service. With the gathered support of my parents, pastors and friends I am now seeking admission to the seminary.
Concordia Theological Seminary can better equip me to work in the mission field and hopefully back in Haiti. Through diligent studies and camaraderie with my fellow seminarians I am better able to serve my Lord. I have been prayerfully considering entering the path of Ordained Ministry; I finally have the opportunity to start. I want to take it.
I am Ben Delin the vicar at Ascension Lutheran Church. I was born and raised in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I graduated from White Bear Lake High School in 2000. I also worshiped at South Shore Trinity Lutheran Church where I was confirmed. I had a great experience with my Director of Christian Education (DCE) of Youth Ministry throughout my High School years, which played a large role in shaping my decision to go into church work. It was never my plan to go into church work. When I graduated from High School planned to go to St. Cloud University or North Dakota University specifically for aviation. However, a mission trip was God's way of changing my path.
I switched professional goals completely. Originally I had planned to be an airline pilot, but God had different plans for me. I graduated from Concordia University Nebraska with a Bachelors degree in Theology through the DCE program. My grandfather (my mother's father) was an LCMS Pastor and he was encouraged to hear that I was planning to serve in church work. I served as DCE of Youth, Education and Music for 4 ½ years at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cortez, Colorado. This was a great experience for me, to see how God could use such a tentative servant to carry out His ministry.
I have had so many encouraging and supportive people that have continued to support me as I gave God control to form me into His servant. It was at this time that another change occurred in my life. The Pastor that I was serving with took a call and I remained at Trinity in Cortez. I was taking on my Pastoral roles as the congregation was asking me for help with the vacancy. My mentor, Pastor David Dahl, encouraged me to get training to carry out the tasks that I was trying to do. He said, "You might as well go to Seminary, be trained and ordained to do the job that you are already doing."
I already switched professional goals once, but my experience as a DCE prepared me greatly for the experiences that I will have here and in the further. I moved to St. Louis to attend Concordia Seminary in the summer of 2009. So far, my experience at seminary has been wonderful and challenging. I have enjoyed playing sports for the various teams that the seminary field. Soccer, Golf, basketball and Baseball are the organized sports that I played in which we competed against other school. It has been a joy to share in the brotherly fellowship with other future pastors.
I got a job with the campus nurse at the seminary to help pay for the tuition and expense of seminary. Little did I know that a great blessing would occur through my job with Carla Hagan, RN. She invites her student works to her house for dinner occasionally for a home cooked meal. On my first visit to her home I met one of her daughters, Mary Edith Hagan; you may know her by the name Edie Delin. I invited her to watch one of the Preacher Basketball games that I was playing in at the seminary. She came to watch me play (January 15, 2010). By the end of the year (November 3, 2010) we were engaged. On May 29, 2011, Edie and I were married at Salem Lutheran Church in St. Louis.
God has challenged me and He has also showered down His mercy and gifts on me. I pray that God will continue to help me share His love with His children. Especially, at Ascension Lutheran Church.
I grew up with my father, mother, and half-brother who is eight years older than me. We went to an Assemblies of God church and I gave my life to Christ at an early age. I lived in a peaceful house, but one that was theologically diverse. My mother grew up in the pentecostal church, while my father grew up in many churches and to this day doesn't really know what he believes about the church. My brother was a Christian for most of his early life, but became a mormon shortly after graduating from high school. While my mother, father, and brother have moved quite a bit, I grew up in Grayslake, IL my entire life.
My entire education has been in christian schools: Little Lamb Pre-School, Calvary Christian School (K-8), Westlake Christian Academy (9-12), Concordia University Chicago. In these years, I received a terrific education that helped me intellectually as well as spiritually. I had some opportunities to be a light at community college to supplement classes for financial purposes, but nearly all of my education has been in a christian environment.
My first experience with the LCMS was when I started attending Concordia University Chicago which is also where I met my wife. My wife and I met at a music camp hosted by CUC during the summer before our senior year of high school. When we met again during orientation for our freshman year in college we were joined at the hip. I started attending my wife's church and understood more and more about the LCMS. I had certain doctrinal reservations, but after long talks with my pastor, and the pastor of the church my wife and I have gone to for the last two and a half years, I became an official member of the LCMS.
My wife and I have been very involved at the church we attended for the last two and a half years, Lord of Glory Grayslake. I am very excited to be attending seminary with the prayers and support of our congregation and to have my supportive and wonderful wife at my side for this new journey in our life. We know that God will provide all that we need through those whose hearts he touches to assist us in this journey.
I have considered getting into ministry for many years, but it just never felt quite right for me when I started looking into it more heavily. It was not until I learned about the Lutheran Church structure and doctrine that God truly put it on my heart to enter the sem and to become a pastor. My wife says she has just been waiting for me to make up my mind for the last 3 years of our marriage. We looked at each other at the same time during the spring of 2011 and decided it was time to get ready to go to sem. I was accepted and am now in Summer greek for the next two months.
God bless and please let me know if you would like any additional information.
Michael Dobler is a first-year seminary student at Concordia Seminary St. Louis. A son of two Lutheran school teachers, Stan and Lori, Michael was born in Sylmar, California. He was baptized at First Lutheran Church in Burbank, and grew up attending the church and school there. When his parents received a call to Rockford Lutheran High School, Michael moved with his family to northern Illinois. Michael was confirmed at Mt. Olive Lutheran, and was active as part of the youth group through high school. He graduated with honors from Rockford Lutheran High School before attending Valparaiso University for his undergraduate studies. At Valparaiso, Michael went through a process of vocational discernment as he studied Political Science and German. During his senior year at Valparaiso, he heard God's call to become a pastor and to spend his life in service to the Church. His response to the call to the pastoral ministry was sustained through the encouraging support of his pastor, family, and friends. Michael is especially looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of God's Word through his study of the Biblical languages as he eagerly prepares for his future ministry.
I greatly appreciate the effort that Lutheran Church Charities is making to support seminarians. Thank you for your ministry.
John Shadrack Donkoh was born on 30th December 1958 and baptized and confirmed in November 1973 and 1978 respectively into the Lutheran Faith. Worked as a Sunday school teacher and later as a Sunday School Superintendent at St. John's Lutheran Church, Takoradi. I have keen interest in music and have led various choirs and singing groups in the Church. I have also held the Secretary position at St. John's (Takoradi) and St. Paul's (Accra) Lutheran congregations. I was elected a pioneer Secretary of the Lutheran Laymen's League – Ghana in the 1980s.
My Theological training begun with TEE and later at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Nigeria and completed the first part of the training in January 1990. I was commissioned by the Church in 1991 to do Word and Sacrament ministry. I was sent as an Evangelist and Church Planter to Wassa Lutheran Mission, Western and Central regions in Ghana for four (4) years.
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana sent me to Uganda as a pioneer missionary in September 1994, with the responsibilities of church planting, which included the teaching of the leaders at the Preaching Stations and also assist in the overall program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Uganda. Key result areas included the following:
- Develop timed goals and objectives for the Uganda Evangelistic Program.
- Establish Lutheran congregations among the Ugandan people.
- Train leaders for service in the newly established Ugandan congregations.
- Implement and supervise a program of instruction whereby those who have come to faith may be baptized and confirmed as member of the Lutheran Church in Uganda.
- Perform additional duties for the Lutheran Church in Uganda that may from time to time be assigned.
NANA BREMPONG YAW PRIMARY SCHOOL EFFIA-KUMA (1970-74) MSLC
TAKORADI SECONDARY SCHOOL (1975-1980): G.C.E. 'O' LEVEL
LUTHERAN SEMINARY, NIGERIA (1988-99): CERTIFICATE IN THEOLOGY
UMI SCHOOL OF JOUNALISM UGANDA (1996): DIP. JOURNALISM
MAKERERE UNIVERSITY UGANDA (1998-2001) B.A. MASS COM.
TRINITY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY GHANA (2005-2007): BACHELOR OF DIVINITY
I grew up in the country; I lived in a small house outside the small Nebraskan town of Kenesaw. The total population of Kenesaw is about nine hundred people. Because I lived in a small town, I had to be creative to entertain myself. I played lots of Legos, built a tree house, had many water fights, worked with my dad, etc. I grew up with an older brother and a younger sister. My dad is a masonry worker and my mom is a cook.
After I graduated Kenesaw High School in 2005, I went to Concordia Nebraska my freshman year. There, I enrolled in the pre-seminary program. The summer after my freshman year, I worked as a counselor at a Lutheran outdoor ministry camp, called Camp Wartburg, in southern Illinois. There I met my future wife, Tracie. We worked together as summer camp leaders and counselors for the next three years. Tracie and I love camp ministry!
I transferred to Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois, in the fall of 2006, where I switched gears and started a degree in Lutheran Elementary Education. I married my beautiful, loving wife Tracie, on June 7, 2008. Tracie also graduated in 2008 with a degree in Lutheran Early Childhood Education and a minor in Spanish. She actually taught for two years at an Early Childhood Center at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Glenview, Illinois, before I finally graduated myself. I graduated in the fall of 2009 with a degree in Lutheran Elementary Education, a minor in Studio Art, and a specialization in Theology.
After I graduated, we stayed in Chicago for about six months before my wife and I took my first call to Trinity Lutheran School in Grand Island, Nebraska. Two months before we moved to Nebraska, we were blessed by God with our first child, Isaac Gene Douglas. For the past two years, I have taught as a fifth grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School. My wife has taught two years as well as a preschool teacher at Peace Lutheran Preschool in Grand Island. Also, we were just blessed with another child from God, Levi Benjamin Douglas, on November 5, 2011.
Before my second year of teaching was finished, I felt a tug on my heart from God to pursue Pastoral Ministry. After many months of praying and confiding in trusted friends and other pastors, I accepted God’s calling to start a journey towards being a pastor. By God’s grace, I have started my studies at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, which began this last fall. I am very excited to have start this new chapter in my life with my wife and two children. Our God is truly good, and he always provides for our needs. God never said to understand His plans for our lives; He simply said to trust His plans for us through His Son Jesus Christ! I am learning more and more each day to simply say, “May the Lord’s Will be done!”
My name is Jacob Hercamp, and I am from Columbus, Indiana. I am a member of St. John’s White Creek Lutheran out in the country just a few miles south of Columbus. My parents, brother and both sets of grandparents are members at St. John’s, White Creek. My church also has a K-8th grade school attached. I went there for elementary school.
My father was elected to an exploratory board to learn more about starting a Lutheran high school in the area, and I wanted to go there. I went to Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour, Indiana. At Trinity, many teachers began putting the idea of me going into the ministry. However being a senior in high school, I decided not to listen to them. Upon my graduation in 2007, I went to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana to study chemistry.
While at Indiana University, I began meeting many great Lutheran friends who wanted to found a Lutheran fraternity chapter of Beta Sigma Psi, The National Lutheran Fraternity. My decision to go into the ministry was cemented during the spring quarter of my junior year of college. Being a leader in the fraternity, I learned just what it meant to be servant for my brothers. I served first as president of the group, and then moved to lower roles such as philanthropy chair and chaplain. In four and half years the fraternity went from an interest group to a chartered chapter with a house in the heart of the campus just two blocks away from the University Lutheran Church. I graduated from Indiana University in December 2011.
I chose to attend Concordia Theological Seminary because many of my fraternity brothers were pastor kids. Most of their fathers went to Fort Wayne, and I had experience with some of the faculty already. The faculty is world class, and I have already learned much from them. Yet, I feel there is much that I still have to learn. It has been a blast so far.
In high school, I had the opportunity to travel to England and Spain. I grew in wanting to learn more about different cultures; particularly I wanted to if the Lutheran Church had a presence. At Concordia in the early fall of 2012, I learned that 2nd year students had the opportunity to study abroad. The program that interested me the most was the one year study program at Westfield House. Westfield House is the House of Study for the Lutheran Church of England, located in Cambridge. I applied and was accepted. I want to be as well rounded as I can be as a pastor, and I think this opportunity to study in a different country such as England will give me experience few others will have.
Before leaving for Cambridge in August, I will be serving as summer vicar at Westgate, Iowa. I will be serving Grace Lutheran Church and St. Peter Lutheran Church co-currently under the supervision of Pastor Burt Mueller. This again will be a wonderful way to gain precious experience in preparation of the Holy Ministry. I feel very blessed to have these opportunities knocking at my door. During my time
"Pastor K" was what the congregation would call my father while I was growing up in an LC-MS family. My father was, indeed, a Lutheran Pastor and an Army Chaplain. When he passed away in 1976, my brother told me it was his desire that I finish the college education that was already started. But, life and love seemed to take me on a road elsewhere.
Many of you, who know me well, know that I have a heart for Missions and Ministry in the name of Christ. It has been a blessing to serve in a number of capacities in support of ministry efforts and to be a volunteer on a number of servant events and mission trips.
For a number of years (on the order of 36), there has been a sense of being led to a different path than what I have been on. While I have enjoyed serving you in support of your technology service needs, there was always something "incomplete" in the inner-most part of my soul – a longing to reach for service on a different level.
In April 2005, I had embarked on a path of Technology Support for Lutheran Church Charities. That gave me an opportunity to connect a little closer to the path I was feeling meant to pursue. I was given exposure to Daily Devotions, teaching In-Depth Bible Studies, and helping people in difficult times through a number of avenues.
In 2007, I had a peek at what seemed to be an opportunity to enter the ministry through an alternate route. I sought counsel from my Pastor, who asked me if I had ever considered attending the Seminary. That led me on an attempt to complete another course of study in an effort to qualify for admission.
In October 2009, I left the full-time position at Lutheran Church Charities to pursue studies and hopefully build up a cash-flow to allow access to the Seminary. The business went flat, and I had to stop taking classes. As the business began to build again in late 2010, I began to look toward what I might be able to do to finish with classes…
In September of 2011, I met with an Admissions Counselor from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and asked what course and credits I needed to complete to be considered for the Seminary. His response floored me… He indicated that they now had a program that may allow me to transfer my existing college course credits and begin in a Masters of Divinity Program. That began a process of seeking admission that is now nearing completion.
I applied at the end of January 2012 and began putting together some "exit strategies". Seeking another consulting firm that could handle my customer relationships and perform onsite service and remote support with consistent care began in earnest.
On May 19, 2012, the Letter of Acceptance was received for Admissions to Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis for the M.Div. Residential Program, starting 2012-2013. This is a 4-year program, leading to holy ministry as a servant of the Word. Some of you may know and understand what it means to be a Lutheran Pastor. On a humorous note, my wife has already begun referring to me as "Rev. Jim" (from the classic comedy TV series "Taxi").
In God's grace and in His timing, there will be a day in 2016 when I receive a call and be ordained as a pastor of a congregation. To that end, I will need your support through prayer and encouragement. This next chapter in our lives is developing TRUST in ways that I never could have imagined. It is challenging us on a number of levels and we are learning...
Redeemed, Restored, Rejoicing in Christ,
Greetings in the Lord! My name is Nick Kooi and I will be a first year student at Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne this upcoming fall. I am the oldest of five children and I just recently graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin with a major in Pre-Seminary Studies and a minor in Theological Languages. I was raised in Island Lake, Illinois, which is a small town about an hour away from Chicago. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing videogames, watching hockey (especially the Chicago Blackhawks), and spending time with my family, girlfriend, and friends.
Ever since I can remember, being a pastor was something I always have been interested in doing. I thought it would be neat to be able to speak in front of everyone and to help lead the worship service. As I got older, a few events in my life helped to strengthen that desire and to continue that dream. When I was in eighth grade, my little sister Kaitlin was diagnosed with Leukemia. During her struggle with it, she had many complications and got other illnesses that eventually took her life. While she went through treatments, our family grew closer together and closer to God. My faith at that time was greatly strengthened because my family and I had to depend and trust in Him to get through the whole ordeal. I was in confirmation class during that time and my pastor had suggested that I might be interested in becoming a pastor since I showed great eagerness in learning the material and because I was involved in many activities at church. I took this suggestion to heart and started to seriously consider it. When I told others what he had suggested, they agreed with him and encouraged me to do it too. I started High School the following year, and began to look at various career routes in different classes. None of them seemed to be very appealing or interesting except being a pastor. As a pastor, I knew I could share and live my faith as well as to be able to spread the Gospel that had such an influence and effect on my life. When it was time to pick a college, I chose Concordia University Wisconsin for my undergraduate studies. After taking some Pre-Seminary classes, meeting some amazing people, participating in various ministries, and learning the languages, my desire to become a pastor only strengthened and I cannot wait to continue to pursue my dream this fall at Fort Wayne. Please keep me in your prayers and thank you for your generous support!
Hi! My name is Matthew Lucas and I am about to start my second year in the Master-of-Divinity Program here at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO. My desire to enter into Pastoral Ministry largely stems from my love for working with Youth and Family Ministries and wanting to combine that with my desire to share God's Word with others.
I completed my undergraduate work at the University of Illinois (UIS), majoring in Social Work. I am a member at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Springfield, IL, where I was involved in youth and family ministry as a High School Youth Group Leader, Sunday School Teacher, and worked with the before and after school Day Care Program.
Other areas I have experience with include the military (8 years), drug and alcohol rehabs for youth, and a Christian Group Home for troubled teens. My experience with each of these environments has led me to want to share God's love with others even more.
I am very excited to see how God will continue to form me as His servant and use me in accordance with His purposes in Youth and Family Ministry. Thank You so much for your interest in supporting future pastors, such as myself!
I was born and raised in Evansville Indiana to my parents, Tim and Kay. I have three sisters Jenni, Tara, and Erin. I briefly considered pastoral ministry during my time in High school but I put it out of my mind, only to return to the idea during my time at Indiana University. The summer of 2012 was quite exciting as I both married my wife, Laura, and moved to St. Louis to begin my seminary education. Laura is employed at a local physical therapy clinic, and I am thoroughly enjoying classes at Concordia.
My name is Aaron Meyer. I grew up a pastor's kid in Union, IL. I knew I never wanted to be a pastor, even after an idyllic childhood in a small town at a warm and loving congregation. My wife, Kim, and I met in Champaign, IL at college. I received a master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and became a construction manager in Chicago. Still, I knew I did not want to be a pastor. Kim and I were married in 2001. Kim did not marry a pastor. Our first daughter, Grace, was born in 2007, and it was around that time that I finally stopped running from the idea of being a pastor. The adventure began when we moved to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 2008. Our second daughter, Georgia, was born the next year. The adventure continued when the four of us moved to Cambridge, England, in 2010 so I could study at the Lutheran seminary there for one year. Our vicarage year began in 2011 at Christ the Rock Lutheran Church in Rockford, IL. Both my studies and vicarage have been very affirming in that ministry is a great use of my talents and interests. Our third daughter, Anneke, was born during vicarage. God daily and richly blesses this family of five and each day now, I realize, that I want to be a pastor.
Hello, hello, and may God's peace be with you! My name is James Miller, and I'm pictured here with my lovely wife, Melissa. I grew up in DeKalb, Illinois and am a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and Student Center. I attended Northern Illinois University where I studied jazz bass performance with the initial plan of being a professional jazz musician, playing every night of the week in Chicago. When I realized how unrealistic that was, I shifted my focus to being a professional church musician, directing choirs and planning music for a church. The more involved I got with my church's college group and the more I spent time with the campus pastor, Marty, I yet again shifted my focus. After much dialogue with Pastor Marty, my friends, my family, and my then-fiancee, I realized that God was calling me to be a pastor. I saw my calling not only to be a parish pastor (which I anticipate greatly), but also to use my musical background to write new songs and hymns for the church. So after my graduation, our wedding, and a year of working retail, my now-wife and I have started the next leg on our journey together: Seminary.
In my youth, I was unsure what I wanted to do with my life. I had all sorts of interests and abilities, but there was never one thing that stuck out above the rest. When I was a senior in high school, I decided I wanted to be a math teacher so I applied to college as a secondary education and math majors. At my freshman orientation I changed my major to undecided, and during my first semester I declared a health science major.
Now looking back at life I can see clearly moments where God was whispering His plans for me, but not sure that it was what I wanted to do I did not give it much thought. For example, my youth director always encouraged me to get more involved by saying he could tell I had a heart for God. It wasn't until second semester in college, however, that I finally surrendered my will to God and heard His plans for me.
By the time I left for college my life journey had brought me to a place where I knew I needed Christ in my life. I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and found a bunch of Christian friends with which people to worship beside and hang out with, but my soul was yearning for something more, something deeper. One of my friends recommended that I join Sigma Theta Epsilon, a national Christian fraternity.
Sigma Theta Epsilon ended up being exactly what I was looking for. STE was made up of college guys exploring what it meant to live in community and to be Godly men. Before STE I always thought of religion as a set of beliefs and that God was someone worshiped as an acknowledgment of our beliefs. These men presented me with the idea that our faith is something that permeates our entire being. It's more than a belief or value system; it's a way of life. And to walk with our Savior and our Father and the Holy Spirit is an amazing adventure. These men so involved themselves with what being Godly men meant, that they talked constantly about Him, were always reading the Bible, and served others with sincere and joyful hearts.
On my first retreat with STE, I was able to see a whole new side of this brotherhood. During this retreat, not only did I get to witness their relationship with God, I was able to witness their relationship with each other. This was the first time that I ever experienced people confessing their sins to one another and others sharing their burdens. To be able to see the love of the other brothers as they forgave, encouraged, and lifted up brothers during this time was exhilarating. I could feel the presence of the Spirit among us.
Experiencing that community, my whole perspective of life shifted, and my faith became alive and full of energy. I began looking at everything through the perspective of faith in Christ. Everything became so much more meaningful as I learned more about who I was in Christ and what kind of relationship He wanted to have with me. To know not only that He died on the cross and took that punishment so He could be with me in eternity, but even to know that He created pleasures just for me, from delicious fruit to witnessing the majesty of His creation to knowing what love is just flooded me with amazement.
While all of this was happening in my life, God also planted someone in my life who would become my wife. Marie challenges me more than any other person in who I am and what I do. One of the things that I love about her is how much she teaches me about God's nature without realizing it. By just being in a relationship with me and living out of love, I am able to see a reflection of our Savior. To know that even when I mess up big time she loves me and cares for me gives me a hint into the depth of God's grace and love for us. I also get to experience the same when I feel how much I love her when she messes up as well. In our marriage I get to both give and receive that grace in which God has given to us, and that teaches me a lot about His nature. She, unlike anyone else, challenges me in my selfishness. I always have to remember that I am not living alone or for myself, but I am living for God and for others. When I forget that, she is a good reminder.
I want to be a pastor because my heart burns with the passion of sharing the Savior I know to those who don't yet know Him or have fallen asleep in the faith. I believe a real problem in the church today that a lot of people have lost sight of who God really is and have grown stagnant in their faith. They forget that God is a wild ad untamed God who created the earth for us to have a life adventure with Him. He's not some God who expects us to sit quietly once a week to hear His Law nor is He some God who is always waiting for you to trip up so He can condemn you. I get excited when I think about helping people shatter their preconceived notions about Christianity and what a Christian is by introducing them to the real, active, loving God not only of the scriptures but of our lives.
My name is John Schultz and I am preparing to enter my fourth year at Concordia Seminary St. Louis (I have been told that one day I will have time for and enjoy reading for pleasure again). I am completing my vicarage with Lutheran Senior Services. I have been serving as a chaplain for an older adult community here in the St. Louis area.
I completed my undergraduate work at Concordia University, River Forest, majoring in Theology with a minor in Biblical languages. My wife Karen and I are members of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Carol Stream, Illinois. This is also where I served on staff for 13 years before attending seminary. As a Commissioned Minister of Religion, I served in the areas of Confirmation, Christian Education, Family Life, and Youth. Karen served as an Administrative Assistant at a sister congregation for 14 years before our move. She now works for LCMS Mission Advancement as the Missionary Support Coordinator. We have been married for 30 years and have two adult children; Becky lives in Wheaton, Illinois and Billy lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. In our free time, we like to play a variety of games and enjoy outdoor activities such as bicycling and hiking.
While it was hard to leave family and friends when we moved to St. Louis, we are enjoying this phase of life, meeting new friends, and the never-ending learning opportunities God provides. We remain open and are excited about wherever God leads us. Our desire is to be used by God to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed wherever we are. Please keep us in your prayers as I prepare to do the work God has in store for me.
From childhood, I have been raised in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I attended Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Bend Oregon. Trinity was where I received my education from 1st grade to 8th grade. I went to a public high school in which my faith was tested. It was here that I started to have a deeper respect for my faith and started to develop a heart for people. I had two great friends, a good family, and a loving church that helped me to dive deeper in my faith. It was during these years that I really began to ask the hard questions of Christianity and wanted to know more about this faith that I was holding onto. From this desire, I decided to attend Concordia University in Irvine, California.
It was at Concordia that my character was developed and that I was shaped into the man that I am today. Concordia had many great professors who knew theology and actually cared for their students. Concordia also spent a great deal of time building community between the students. I got involved with the campus ministry early on and soaked up the chance to be filled in chapel, Sunday services, and student lead services. My junior year I took on the role of Resident Assistant. I had to step out of my comfort zone in this job and it allowed for me to meet people where they were at. My senior year I had the opportunity of serving the school through our campus ministry as the Care Ministry Coordinator. This was a huge blessing in that it allowed me to do what I love doing, which is caring for student’s spiritual life. I also got to take on the leadership role as this was the first year that this program was introduced and I was involved in making it happen.
I have had a few different hardships in my life, just as others do, but none were quite as big as learning that my mother had cancer this year. This was pretty hard to take considering that she is still so young. It was scary not knowing if my future family would ever be able to meet my mother. During this time, I had to really rely on the grace of God and just pray that His will would be done and not mine. Thankfully, the doctors removed the cancer and my mom, as of today, is cancer free. I have come to learn that it is through hardships that we truly learn to rely on God.
From all of my experiences I have developed a strong faith in Christ and a deep heart for people. I want to show this to others and this is why I have decided to go to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and train to be a pastor. I ask that you would consider supporting me with your prayers, and if you are willing, with your finances. I have quite a bit of debt from my undergraduate work and will be going further in debt to attend seminary. I would be very grateful for any support that I can receive. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you and gives His peace, which surpasses all understanding.
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus! My name is P.J. Stohlmann and I am very excited to soon be serving the Lord as a pastor in His church! I come from North Saint Paul, MN and am the youngest of five children. My Mom teaches English as a Second Language and my Dad is a retired theology professor at Concordia St. Paul, where he helps with the colloquy program. I went to College at Concordia St. Paul, MN, where I received a degree in K-12 Music Education. After college I worked in Colorado two years and was with Youth With A Mission in New Zealand and the Middle East for 5 months. Yes, I even have been to Israel! I have done quite a bit of traveling to 20 different countries! I'm just finishing up my vicarage in Green Bay, WI and will start my last year at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in September! I have a passion for reaching young adults and for building a church that is focused on community, authenticity, and love centered on God's Word! In my free time I enjoy reading, running, biking, hiking, climbing, playing piano, singing, and playing sports like racquetball, basketball, and football. I am studying to be a pastor because I see it as the best way to serve God with all the gift, abilities, and experiences I've been blessed with. I see it as the most important thing I could do with my life! God bless you!
My name is Tim Swanson. I am a first year seminarian at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
Like many of my fellow seminarians, I can be termed as a "second career guy". I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1997 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I spent the next fifteen years working as an engineer and program manager in the aerospace industry, in Rockford, Illinois. During that time, God blessed me with my wife, Penny (whom I met while we were at UW-Platteville), three wonderful children (Emily -10, Lorien – 8, and Tristan – 5), and I was guided to a loving fellowship of believers at Christ the Rock in Rockford, IL.
Looking back on it now, the path that got us to this point seems quite clear. But it wasn't until I was on a mission trip in Honduras in 2011 that it all came into focus. There had been things, signs, along the way. However, I had, sadly, ignored them. I had a good job, great family, my faith and involvement in church continued to grow. I was comfortable. Then, while asking God what he wanted from me and where he wanted me to be, all those things came rushing back to me. He had told me and I was finally ready to listen.
From that moment on, I knew what I had to do. Thankfully, my wife, family, Pastor, and church were full of love and support. So in early June of 2012, we packed up our family and moved to St. Louis, where I began my studies with summer Greek.
Our journey is just beginning, but we are all excited to see where God will take us and how he will use us.
Mission and ministry have always been of my life.
I am the son of a now-retired LCMS pastor. Born in western Iowa 1979, we moved to Quincy,
Illinois, in 1982, where I spent most of my formative years. Education began for me at our local
lutheran school in kindergarten and continued through eighth grade. My high school years
provided me with several opportunities to explore potential ministry opportunities, including door
to door canvasing, writing and sharing testimonies, leading large and small group studies, learning
to coordinate and lead worship experiences including outreach to elderly. I also became involved
in a nearby Lutheran camp, which is where my heart for ministry and reaching people with the
Gospel became much more focused.
This prompted me to consider doing ministry on a full-time scale. I decide to pursue a degree in
Theology and certification as a Director of Christian Education. I attended Concordia University
in Seward, Nebraska, and earned my Bachelor's Degree. Upon graduating, I married my fiance of
18 months, herself a graduate of Concordia University Chicago. We promptly moved to California
to accept calls: Lisa as a preschool teacher at a church in the San Bernardino mountains, and me as
Program Director at Arrowhead Lutheran Camp. We were there 3 years, during which time we
welcomed our first daughter, Julia, in 2005. In 2006 I received a call to serve as DCE at Faith
Lutheran Church in Port Huron, Michigan. There we welcomed our other two children: Ava in
2009 and Matthias in 2010. In 2011, it became clear that the Spirit was calling us onward again,
calling me to serve as a pastor.
And so we are here, taking the first steps toward ordination. Currently I am halfway through my
summer Greek course, and Lisa and I both are pursuing work in effort to meet our monthly
budget. We sincerely appreciate you support of our family pursuing God's call to serve his people
and his kingdom in this way!
My name is Chris Vossler and I am originally from New Jersey, although I've been living mostly in the Midwest for the past seven years. I attended Concordia University Chicago, where I met my wife, Amy, in 2006. We both graduated from there in 2009. I majored in Music and Theological Languages with a minor in Theology. Amy majored in English and minored in Math. I'm currently entering my fourth year at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO, after serving my vicarage at St. John's Lutheran Church, East Moline, IL.
My family moved around quite a bit when I was growing up because my father is an LCMS pastor, currently serving Grace Lutheran Church in Livingston, NJ. His parishes have been all over the Mid-Atlantic region. My mother is currently a teacher for the deaf in the local public school system. My brother is going to be a junior at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, studying aerospace engineering. He will be starting the Air Force ROTC program there in the fall. My sister just graduated from Livingston High School and this fall she will attend Messiah College outside Harrisburg, PA, to study music education.
For her part, Amy is from the corn country of Nebraska, where her father works as an engineer and her mother is a homemaker. Amy's older sister is working as a nurse in Kansas. Her younger sister is a high school senior and also looking at colleges.
Amy has been working for Starbucks since we got married during the summer before I began seminary. She enjoys working for that company because it provides good benefits to its "partners" and also because it is so easy to transfer from one store to another. Over vicarage our family expanded to include a 1-year-old orange tabby kitten whom we named Cecilia, after the patron saint of church music (thus encompassing two of my passions, church history and church music).
I am looking forward to continuing my studies of pastoral ministry at the seminary now that I have identified some of my weaknesses over vicarage.
My name is Andrew Walker, and I am a third-year seminarian, enrolled at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. I am currently on vicarage in Fredericksburg, VA, but my family and I be back to the wonderful balmy temperatures of St. Louis by the end of July. God willing, I'll receive my M.Div. in May 2013.
I am twenty-six years old, and I grew up in the Lutheran Church. I was born and raised in Austin, TX, where I attended school, graduated, and married my beautiful bride. I've always been interested in and influenced by theology, and as my knowledge of God and his Word grew, so did my love for those around me, especially those I saw in need. Not a day goes by now when I don't notice God deeply and profoundly transforming me by the Holy Spirit into a starker likeness of his Son. Now it is my passion to help others know God as their Father and minister to them in Christ, as I've been ministered to.
My wife, Audrey, is twenty-five years old, and she is also a life-long Lutheran. Her father is a Lutheran pastor at Hope Lutheran in Lubbock, TX. I have known her for seven years now, and as long as I have known her, I have never ceased to be amazed at her personable nature and her ability to relate to people and make friends at the drop of a hat. She has been unwaveringly supportive of me becoming a pastor and has ministered to me and encouraged me with the Word many times. God has blessed me with her beyond words. A month after we both graduated from Concordia University at Austin in 2009, we moved to seminary in St. Louis. A year and a half later, we had our daughter, Lydia. She is now 16 months old and not just walking but sprinting.
We are very excited to see where God leads us and how he uses us for his Kingdom. Thank you so much for your interest in supporting us. It is incredibly encouraging to see how the body of Christ supports one another in the Spirit. Thank you again!