Students Assisting in Ministry
Every spring break and summer vacation, dozens of MLC students hop on planes to the farthest corners of the US and go to work for WELS congregations, assisting them in their local ministries.
We call this Daylight USA. Working under the motto “Work while it is day,” these students—about 150-200 a year—give their best for a week or a whole summer in a place far from home.
The result: churches get an infusion of enthusiasm and energy from these young people, and the students get a big slice of ministry experience.
Summer 2012 saw 70+ students assisting in 25 different locations. Here are a few highlights:
From July 28 to August 4, Provo and Salt Lake City were home to (pictured) Haley Roske (St. John-New Ulm MN), Aaron Kristopeit (Zion-South Milwaukee), Eric Fricke (St. John-Baraboo WI), Angelica Burk (Hope-Chino Valley AZ), Steven Millerman (Redeemer-Rice Lake WI), and Seth Meyer (Beautiful Savior-Green Bay WI).
They canvassed four hours a day, speaking to Mormons about their Savior, Jesus Christ. “At MLC,” said Angelica, “it is easy to become complacent, because you are around people who believe and are saved. In Provo, the urgency of the need for the gospel just burns within you. You’re surrounded by people who are totally salt of the earth, the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and yet they do not know Jesus.”
She continued, “I really learned how to share my faith in a way that is not argumentative. The biggest challenge of witnessing to Mormons is refraining from debating them. That is true of sharing your faith with anyone really. We are saved because of Jesus’ sacrifice, and we need to share that with others and let the Holy Spirit do the work. It is not us, it is him. This was a faith-building experience, and I am extremely grateful I was able to be a part of it.”
Luke Pudlo (St. James-Prairie du Sac WI), Alison Filter (St. Paul-Lake Mills WI), Charissa Scharf (Living Water-Hot Springs Village AR), and Ross Chartrand (Bethlehem-Manassas VA) spent their two weeks of Daylight ministry at Community-Honolulu HI. They organized and coached a soccer camp for kids 3-13. “The kids and parents all came from very different walks of life,” said Charissa, “and they were excited to be at the camp and to hear God’s Word. I loved being able to talk to them. Some of them had never even heard about Jesus.”
Amber Flunker (St. Peter-Freedom WI) and Anne Jeffery (Shepherd of the Hills-La Mesa CA) spent the summer at Prince of Peace-Houston TX, where they filled many roles—preschool teachers, day camp counselors, and VBS coordinators—sometimes at the same time!
The alarm clocks rang early, as they supervised a preschool for 3-5 year olds every day from 7 am to 6 pm. “We created and implemented daily lesson plans according to weekly themes: Dinosaur Week, Bug Week, Counting Week, etc.,” said Anne. “Every Monday was Art Day, Tuesday was Science Day, Wednesday was Cooking Day, Thursday was Splash Day, and Friday was Special Guest Day. We were educators and day care providers.”
For four of the 10 weeks, they also operated a day camp for children 6-12 years old, creating activities and crafts for their weekly themes. “During these weeks,” Anne explained, “Amber and I would tag team running the preschool or being with the older children at the day camp.”
One other week was Vacation Bible School, in which congregation volunteers helped Anne and Amber with the 50 children ages 4-14 who enrolled.
“This experience gave me a taste of what the called servant’s life is all about—it takes a lot of time and energy,” Anne said. “And although it took a lot of patience and coffee, I learned so much about the impact a teacher has on a child. Each day, we provided these children with a safe and comfortable environment in which they could grow academically, socially, and spiritually. Seeing their development was the most rewarding experience I could have asked for as I study to become a teacher.”
Seth Meyer (Beautiful Savior-Green Bay WI) and Eric Fricke (St. John-Baraboo WI) served the whole summer in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. They canvassed, taught VBS, coached soccer Bible camps, and did anything else requested of them by the 10 congregations they served.
“We asked the MLC students to be ready to handle any duties a mission church, a mission board, or a summer camp threw at them,” said Pastor Wayne Uhlhorn WLS ’90 (Fount of Life-Colorado Springs). “They responded with enthusiasm, hard work, joy, and a servant’s heart. God has certainly blessed them with many gifts for ministry. I know that our mission district was served well.”
Eric and Seth were served well too. “I learned what mission work is about, how to canvass, how nice people can be, how to witness to Mormons, and how ministry is done outside the Midwest,” said Eric. “I especially liked getting to see how different called workers serve with their different personalities and in their different locations.”
This photo was taken at Our Savior-Longmont CO, where they coached a soccer camp. Seth explains: “To help sharpen the kid’s kicking skills, we threw together a game in which they did two activities they all enjoy, running around and kicking the ball at Coach. This picture was the aftermath of it.” And about the summer in general, Seth added, “We enjoyed everything about it.”
Read more articles in our Fall 2012 InFocus magazine.