The gospel ministry is a global ministry—instituted by our Lord when he commissioned his followers to “make disciples of all nations.” The mission statement of Martin Luther College recognizes this as well, stating that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we encourage students in “developing and demonstrating a heart for service in the church, community, and world.”
The Thalassa competition, established in 2007, is a tribute to our students’ hearts for global service.
In this competition MLC students and graduates who have served abroad submit photographs and written reflections that share the beauties, the joys, the challenges of their ministries. A panel of judges chooses the winner and awards $1000, half of which the student designates to a mission of their choice.
We’ve seen entries from North and South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Tiny villages in the Peruvian Andes. Teeming cities in Southeast Asia. A Siberian college town. A Brazilian fazenda. A Malawian orphanage.
Each reflection and photo is rich in particulars, yet each tells the same story—a story of human needs and the Savior who meets those needs.
We are humbled and honored to have had a hand in the shaping and training of these gospel heralds. And we are grateful to the Lord of the Church and to his Spirit for allowing Martin Luther College to be the threshold from which these students carry the gospel into the world.
Congratulations to all winners!
Daniel Schmidt (St. Matthew-Oconomowoc WI) – John A. Braun Grant for Leadership
Carl Boeder (St. John-New Ulm MN) – Lewis O. Thompson Grant for Worship and Music
Tyler Zeamer (Zion-Greenleaf WI) – E.E. Kowalke Grant for Biblical Languages
Mark Zondag (Peace-Sun Prairie WI) – John A. Braun Grant for English
Jonathan Lehmann (Peace-Janesville WI) – John A. Braun Grant for Leadership
Isaac Hayes (Emmanuel-Tempe AZ) – Carleton Toppe Grant for GPA and Religion
Martin Loescher (David’s Star-Jackson WI) – Adam Martin Grant for Living Languages (Spanish)
Adam Marley (Living Hope-Midlothian VA) – Robert J. Voss Grant for Student Life
Jason Lindemann (Zion-Egg Harbor WI) – Robert J. Voss Grant for Student Life
Joseph Neuberger (Eternal Love-Appleton WI) August F. Ernst Grant for Confessional Languages (Latin)
Two awards were not given in 2016: the August F. Ernst Grant for Confessional Languages (Latin & German) and the
Robert J. Voss Grant for Student Government.
Congratulations to our winners!
Matthew Hatzung (Christ-North St. Paul MN) – MLC Leading Preseminary Scholar
Orie Thomford (Zion-Chesaning MI) – Brooks Scholarship and Student Body President Recognition
Matthew Olson (Christ-North St. Paul MN) – Jerome Kruse Knight Award
Micah Koelpin (Calvary-Dallas) – UMAC Knight Scholar-Athlete Award
Rachel Brokmeier (Our Savior-Brookings SD) – MLC Fine Arts Award
Julie Kent (Atonement-Milwaukee) – UMAC Knight Scholar-Athlete Award
Kristi Koelpin (St. John-New Ulm MN) – MLC Service Award
Sarah Frost (Mt. Olive-Appleton WI) – MLC Leading Education Scholar & Via Veritas Vita Award
Sara Willems (Epiphany-Racine WI) – Jerome Kruse Knight Award
Haley Roske (St. John-New Ulm MN) – MLC Leading Education Scholar
By Vice President for Administration Steven Thiesfeldt ’74
Meeting of September 24-25, 2015
- Received a report from Director of Finance Carla Hulke and from the auditing agency, which showed that MLC achieved a Department of Education composite financial ratio of 3.0 (on a 3.0 scale).
- Designated $4.95 million in unrestricted net assets to tuition assistance ($1.6 million), program maintenance ($100,000), faculty position funding ($100,000), and the Economic Stabilization Fund ($3.15 million).
- Adopted a 3% increase in student costs, lower than the anticipated 5% increase, bringing tuition, room and board charges to $19,490. Also approved a 5% increase in institutional financial assistance.
- Approved three calls: (1) a man to teach music, give music lessons, and direct a choir (to replace Dr. Wayne Wagner, who is retiring)—subsequently filled by Craig Hirschmann DMLC ’84; (2) a man to teach theology (to replace Prof. Lyle Lange, who is retiring)—subsequently filled by David Scharf WLS ’05; and (3) a man to teach science and PE and coach men’s basketball (pending Synodical Council approval)— subsequently revised to math instead of science, and then filled by Greg Holzhueter MLC ’11.
- Approved one-year sabbaticals for Prof. Thomas Nass, who is writing a commentary for Concordia Publishing House, and Prof. Miles Wurster, who is doing graduate study.
- Approved a Congregational Partner Grant Program for first-year students, in which MLC will match congregational support up to $1000 per student.
- Expanded the MLC Day activity to include an appeal for scholarship funding.
- Approved an annual 4% distribution of the early childhood education scholarship funds raised through the “Let the Children Come” campaign.
- Approved the updated Master Site Plan, which includes the construction of new or upgraded facilities over the next 8-10 years. Also requested a proposal for a capital campaign to address these upgrades.
A CLOSER LOOK: Master Site Plan
Compelled to Speak, the college’s strategic plan, suggested a need to “develop a plan for on-going maintenance, renovation, and expansion of facilities.” In cooperation with the WELS Capital Projects Committee, the college prepared an updated site plan and a prioritized project list that outlines major campus facility needs.
The plan addresses
• student housing,
• athletics (including property acquisition),
• music, and
• HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) needs.
Now that the board has approved this plan, the Mission
Advancement Office will develop a proposal for a capital
campaign to address the new construction (subject to the
approval of the Synodical Council and in cooperation with
the WELS Ministry of Christian Giving).
Meeting of April 7-8, 2016
- Approved a proposal from the Master Projects Committee to address the specific needs and details of the master site plan. The four-phase plan calls for $45 million in improvements to our campus over the next ten years.
- Asked the Mission Advancement Office to develop a plan for a capital campaign to fund the various projects in the Master Site Plan.
- Approved the Master Staffing Plan for the 2017-19 biennium.
A CLOSER LOOK: Master Staffing Plan
At its February 2015 meeting, the governing board asked the administration to develop a comprehensive master staffing plan. Led by Human Resources Manager Andrea Wendland and assisted by Director of Finance Carla Hulke, every college department was invited to propose its staffing needs for the next five to six years.
The data from this study was used to analyze opportunities for improved efficiency and create a list of prioritized needs for both faculty and staff in the 2017-19 biennium.
The plan calls for . . .
• two additional professors (history-social science and mathematics-science)
• three additional administrative assistants (Education, Admissions, and Mission Advancement Offices).
Wendland and Hulke also conducted a staff compensation analysis.
Our Lord Jesus’ words in Luke 10:2 ring especially true today: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Although enrollment at the WELS College of Ministry is stable, and rising applications seem to signal larger classes in the future, the need for pastors and teachers is still very great. Cumulatively, in 2014 and 2015, 85 teacher requests went unfilled and 35 pastor requests went unfilled. Again this year, we did not have enough candidates to fill all the requests submitted. Administrator for Ministerial Education Paul Prange WLS ’88 notes that at the seminary, all 35 candidates received assignments, but 58 requests had been received, meaning 23 remained unfilled. At MLC, 110 candidates were assigned (including 47 from the last few years), but 138 requests had been received, meaning 28 remained unfilled. “There is a critical need for both pastors and teachers,” President Mark Zarling WLS ’80 says. “As pastors of the Boomer Generation retire, we will not have enough young men trained to take their places. During the 1975-85 decade, 550-600 candidates graduated from WLS; 40 years later, in 2005-15, only 367 have graduated from the MLC preseminary track, having four more years of training ahead of them.
“The need for teachers is also critical,” Zarling continues. “We have many vacancies right now, and expansions are being planned that will require even more. In addition, we are prayerfully evaluating more opportunities for teachers in other countries. It is indeed true that there is ‘One Mission, Endless Opportunities’ for young people to be used by the Lord Jesus.”
For example, Principal Ben Troge MLC ’02 at Divine Savior- Doral FL writes: “The Lord has presented us with growing opportunities for Christian education in Florida. And we rely on MLC-trained teachers to seize these opportunities. In the next year Divine Savior will need an additional 6-9 teachers. In the next four years, we’ll need 40-60 additional teachers. If God continues to bless our future outreach and expansion efforts as he has in the past, those 40-60 new teaching positions may very well increase significantly.” President Zarling urges: “Encourage your young people to consider serving their Lord in the public ministry of the gospel. Support current MLC and WLS students with a note or a gift. And continue to pray to our Lord, who gifts us with pastors, teachers, and staff ministers.”
Over 300 students packed the New Ulm Armory for one of the most anticipated events of the year. With a chocolate fountain, a photo booth, live MLC Jazz Band music, games, and 600 cake pops, Night on the Town was an unforgettable event. “My favorite part was getting all dressed up and seeing everyone look fancy!” says sophomore DeAndre Parker (MVL / St. Paul’s-St. James MN). “And dancing with friends is always a blast and a half!”
Night on the Town is made possible every year by Anchor, MLC’s service club. Anchor member Lindsay Hughes (KML / Good Shepherd-West Bend WI) describes the event as “a great way for our campus family to have a fun night together, while also raising money for a good cause.” This year over $1,700 was raised for Maggie (Schultz) Schwartz (Luther / St. John-La Crosse WI), an MLC student who is battling cancer. Her brothers and sisters in Christ continue to keep her in their prayers and are thankful for the opportunity to support her through Night on the Town.
New Ulm’s warm weather is here to stay, and that can only mean one thing—Arbor Day! Last week, the entire student body split into groups to tidy up MLC’s campus, local parks, and the homes of shut-ins and professors. The students were ecstatic to spend some time in the sun and skip a day of classes, but Senior Class President Tom Nicholson (Portage HS / Cross of Christ-Portage WI) reminds us that there’s even more to Arbor Day than that.
“The true purpose of Arbor Day,” Tom says, “is to build community between students and faculty, between upperclassmen and underclassmen, and between MLC and the residents of New Ulm.”
As students worked alongside one another, they were also able to appreciate both MLC’s beautiful campus and God’s amazing creation. Their hard work paid off in the afternoon when they enjoyed activities like volleyball, spikeball, softball, soccer, and disc golf.
Tom concludes, “We hope that the friendships fostered on Arbor Day by working toward a common goal, whether longstanding or brand new friendships, will last a lifetime.”
In Image: Christina Kapellusch (ALA / Paradise Valley-Phoenix AZ), Adam Stevens (FVL / Trinity-Neenah WI), and Alex Lindemann (LPS / St. John-Lewiston MN) worked together on Arbor Day.
If you visit MLC, you might wonder, “Who are those snazzy students walking around in khakis and red pullovers?” It’ll only take the moment one of them says “hello” for you to realize that those friendly faces are MLC’s student ambassadors.
These 12 representatives have responsibilities that include giving tours, doing office work, finding students to host high schoolers, and going on admissions trips. Ambassador Leah Nass says, “I like telling kids about MLC because I really enjoy it here. It’s fun sharing that with other people!”
“I like interacting with high schoolers that come to visit because when I came for a Focus trip, I looked up to the student ambassadors,” adds Jacob Roecker, “and it’s cool that now I’m able to be in that position.”
With their servant attitude and constant encouragement to the next generation of public ministers, the MLC ambassadors are truly an important part of the campus family.
Back row: Eric Dorn (ILHS / Trinity-Crete IL), Luke Rothe (LPS / St. Matthew’s-Oconomowoc WI), Leah Nass (Manitowoc LHS / St. Paul-Howards Grove WI). Middle: Monica Pappenfuss (LPS / St. Mark’s-Watertown WI), Katie Zietlow (LPS / St. John-Montello WI), Aaron Markgraf (WLA / Beautiful Savior-Cincinnati), Jacob Roecker (WISCO / Trinity-Waukesha WI), Gina Radue (WISCO / Mt. Calvary-Waukesha WI), Stephanie Rockhoff (Shoreland / Friedens-Kenosha WI), Morgan Shevey (LPS / St. Paul-Muskego WI). Front: Megan Lemke (Shoreland / St. John-Jefferson WI), Hannah Paustian (MVL / St. Paul-New Ulm MN).
Martin Luther College
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New Ulm, MN 56073
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