To The Ends Of The Earth -Second-Generation Americans at MLC

The late 19th-century classrooms of our predecessor institutions, Northwestern College and Dr. Martin Luther College, were full of second- and third-generation Americans. These students’ parents and grandparents had emigrated primarily from one country: Germany. More than a century later, many WELS schools are seeing an upswing in second-gen Americans again—not from Germany, but from Laos, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela—almost every corner of the globe. We’d like you to meet two of them: Buok and Sam, second-generation Americans who are excited to one day serve in the pastoral ministry.

Buok Chuol ’21
Sophomore, Preseminary Studies

“I just really love people,” says Buok Chuol (Good Shepherd- Omaha NE). “And there’s a great need for darker-skinned people in the ministry, so I decided to come to MLC.” Buok was born in the USA, but his family emigrated here from South Sudan in 1997, eventually finding a home and a church in Omaha, Nebraska.

Buok’s dad, Peter Bur, had been a pastor in South Sudan—leading a congregation within the Nuer tribe and staying true to God’s Word. “When we came to the US, we were looking for a church that matched our faith,” Buok says. “We came across the WELS, and we loved that it was Bible-based and that God was always first.”

After some training, Pastor Peter Bur was ordained as a WELS pastor. Now he serves at the church that first welcomed them.
has seen how God has blessed his father’s ministry at Good Shepherd, and that led him to pursue pastoral training too.

Sam Lor ’18
First-year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

“I was born here, but my parents were born in Laos,” says Sam Lor ’18. “My father is Hmong, and my mother is Mien. After the Vietnam War, they fled Laos and grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand until they received passage to the United States.

My father is now a pastor serving in Kansas City, and three of my uncles are also WELS pastors.” Sam didn’t attend MLC immediately. He began college at the University of Kansas, hoping to study medicine. After a semester, he realized that science was neither his strength nor his passion.

“A year later I enrolled at MLC. In response to God’s forgiveness, I found I could do nothing but serve him through the new life he’s given me through his death on the cross. I’m now at the seminary, and I hope to serve the Lord as a pastor wherever God may send me.”

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Fall 2018 issue.

Welcome, Class Reunions

Five groups totaling more than 250 attendees came to campus to celebrate, reminisce, and reunite in the past few months.

Are you part of a class celebrating a milestone year in 2019? Looking to bring your team, cast, or friend group together on campus? We’d love to have you here on the hill. Contact the Alumni Office for assistance in facilitating your event.

Hosting Student Teachers— A Ministry of Hospitality

It was easy for Ginger Oestreich (Morning Star-Jackson WI) to list a dozen reasons why she and her husband, Mark, have hosted MLC student teachers.

“Being able to see what the Lord was doing with these kids and knowing some lucky classroom was going to receive one of them is probably the best reason,” she says.

Over the last five years, Mark and Ginger (pictured, center, with their family) have hosted nine student teachers, eight women and one man. The college students stay in the bedrooms her older boys used to sleep in, and since she makes suppers every night anyway, the student teachers make an easy addition to the family.

“I like to discuss their day with them at night,” she says. “We can sometimes answer questions or listen as they work out difficulties. The result is growing friendships that last a lifetime. We’ve been invited to weddings. We get pictures of babies. We even receive plain ‘how are you doing?’ notes. It’s like we have a large extended family all over the US.”

Professor Paul Tess DMLC ’77, MLC director of clinical experiences, is deeply grateful to families like the Oestreichs who host student teachers. “Giving student teachers a comfortable place to stay helps them put forth the best effort in the classroom,” he says.

About 100 MLC student teachers need housing every year, primarily near Wisconsin cities with an abundance of WELS schools—like Milwaukee, La Crosse, Watertown, and Appleton—but also near area Lutheran high schools in outlying districts. The teaching semester is 10 weeks, and MLC offers up to $790 in reimbursement for room and board, although many families donate some or all of that money back to the college.

The only requirements are a private bedroom for sleeping and studying, bathroom access, internet access, a parking spot for their car, and simple meals. Some families are fairly involved in their student teachers’ lives, and some are more hands-off, just offering a relaxing place to eat, study, and rest.

Hosting called workers and workers-in-training is a ministr y of hospitality with a rich scriptural histor y. We all remember Lydia, the seller of purple, who said to the apostle Paul very simply, “Come into my house and stay.” Professor Tess hopes that even more WELS families will participate in this tradition, joining families like the Oestreichs and saying to MLC student teachers: “Come into our house and stay.”

Would you like to learn more about hosting a student teacher in your home? Contact your school principal or Professor Paul Tess at

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Fall 2018 issue.

Best Online College in the Nation!

SR Education Group just named Martin Luther College’s Graduate Studies program the 2018 Best Online Christian College in the nation!

Using affordability and academic rigor as its criteria, this group evaluated all 328 accredited Christian colleges in the United States that offer at least one fully online program. MLC offers three degrees
comprised of eight programs:

  • MS-Education (ed tech, special ed, instruction, leadership)
  • MS-Educational Administration (principal, early childhood director)
  • MA-Theological Studies

Other colleges notching in the top 25 are Hamline University (MN), Augustana University (SD), and Valparaiso University (IN). Check it out at college.

We are grateful to all WELS congregations and individual donors who support MLC. Your gifts allow us to keep our tuition low and the quality of our professors and programs high.

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Fall 2018 issue.

A Summer of Serving our Savior

by Julia Schibbelhut ’21 (St. Paul-Onalaska WI)


What’s your idea of a perfect summer? For 22 students at MLC, there’s no place they’d rather be than Camp Phillip—a summer camp in Wautoma, Wisconsin. These camp counselors don’t just jam out with kids around the campfire, lead adventures on the ropes course, and perform nightly skits, they also share the gospel with the children in their care—up to 1,200 campers throughout the summer!

“It is such a huge blessing to work directly with kids and with people who are so inspiring and passionate about ministry,” says Kasandra Wagner (Good Shepherd-Sioux Falls SD). Camp Phillip loves the MLC students in its crew, and MLC loves the real-life ministry experience that these students get at camp.


Mykenna Schneiter (Faith-Fond du Lac WI, pictured) spent a week this summer at Sure Foundation-Queens NY teaching kids
about color, creativity, and Christ. Mykenna and fellow MLC students Rachel Goddard (St. Paul-Saginaw MI) and Gabe Jacobsen (Shepherd of the Lakes-Fairmont MN) taught Bible stories and led art activities connected to the stories.

“At first, most of the kids wouldn’t answer any questions during Bible time,” she says, “but by the end of the week, they were raising their hands and sharing the Bible knowledge they had learned. It was so cool to see God’s Word at work!”


“This summer, I had the opportunity to spread Jesus’ love to people in Ukraine,” says preseminary student Caleb Christopher (Faith-Sharpsburg GA, pictured, front left, with his new Ukrainian friends). “This trip was the experience of a lifetime. It changed my outlook on outreach and the power of God’s Word.” For over a month, Caleb assisted two churches—aiding them in worship services and VBS programs.

“I was able to convey Jesus’ love to kids whose language I hardly spoke,” Caleb says. “The experience gave me friendships that will last into eternity and taught me that God’s love spans cultural and linguistic borders.”


Moriah Poehlman (St. John-Maribel WI, pictured) and Donovan Waege (St. Paul-Tomah WI) got their hands dirty (and their faces too!) while teaching kiddos at St. John-Maribel’s summer camp.

“I learned to treasure the kids and how much fun they are,” says Moriah. “Seeing their unique personalities made me look forward to my first call and meeting my future students!”

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Fall 2018 issue.

2018-2019 Martin Luther College Governing Board

Back: Timothy Petermann, Steven Rosenbaum DMLC ’86 (secretary), Andrew Van Weele ’04, Michael Krueger, Michael Woldt WLS ’81 (chair), Paul Prange WLS ’88 (Ministerial Education administrator), Mark Zarling WLS ’80 (MLC president), Randy Matter, Joe Archer DMLC ’78. Front: Geoffrey Kieta WLS ’93, Mark Wessel WLS ’86, Daniel Leyrer WLS ’89, Michael Seifert WLS ’03 (vice chair), David Uhlhorn ’99, Michael Valleau, Dale Krause, Michael Lindemann WLS ’91, Dennis Klatt WLS ’88 (Minnesota District president).

The MLC Governing Board met September 27-28, 2018, on campus. They participated in Bible study, heard reports, discussed multiple topics, and acted on the following issues:

Calls: Approved the calling of one teacher candidate to serve as physical education professor and coach.

Costs: Approved undergraduate tuition, room & board increases of 3% for 2019-20. Concurrently approved a 5% increase in institutional financial aid. Per-credit cost for continuing education and graduate students will remain unchanged.

Athletic Facilities: Granted permission to MLC Administrative Council to continue a feasibility study of a partnership with New Ulm Department of Recreation for the building of a multipurpose permanent structure at the MLC Athletic Complex.

Facility Preservation: Approved the setting aside of monies for asset preservation, specifically related to Centennial Hall and Old Main, in surplus of unrestricted funds. Also approved a request to the Synodical Council for a grant from the Financial Stabilization Fund for the remaining costs of MLC’s unfunded Centennial Hall projects in FY20.

Asset Policy: Approved the revised Unrestricted Net Asset Policy dated September 28, 2018, which includes provisions for ownership of movable equipment and library books and increases the Economic Stabilization Fund minimum to 10% of the current operating budget.

Scott Schmudlach DMLC ’85
Vice President for Administration

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Fall 2018 issue.

Football on a Roll

A lot can happen in two years. The MLC football program can attest to that. Two years after a winless 2016 season, the Knights sit in first place in the UMAC with a 5-1 record (4-0 in conference play) and several nationally recognized players.

Following a strong performance in a season-opening loss to Gustavus Adolphus (32-20), the Knights came from behind to win 28-24 at Rockford, thanks to a 68-yard touchdown strike from #4 Zach Bloomquist (WISCO / St. Jacobi-Greenfield WI, pictured) to Josh Arndt (St. Croix LA / Good Shepherd-Burnsville MN) with under one minute to play.

That win got the ball rolling for the Knights, who opened league play on September 22 with a dominating 63-28 win at Greenville. Bloomquist accounted for five touchdowns (three rushing, two passing) in the win, and was named to the Team of the Week for his performance. The following week, MLC proved it belonged with the best teams in the conference with a 49-21 win over St. Scholastica. The Knights trailed 21-7 in that game in the second quarter, but ripped off 42 unanswered points on the way to their first win over CSS since 2010. This time, it was defensive lineman Dan Gensmer’s (Michigan Lutheran Seminary / Abiding Love-Cape Coral FL) turn in the spotlight, as he became the first MLC defensive player in program history to be named to the Team of the Week thanks to a three-sack effort.

MLC came out of that game with a target on its chest, and the team needed second-half comebacks the next two weeks to remain unbeaten in league play. The Knights overcame a 21-7 deficit in the fourth quarter at Iowa Wesleyan, with Arndt once again scoring the game-winner on a 74-yard toss from Joshua Schroeder (Luther Prep / St. Peter-Modesto CA) on a trick play.

The following week, the Knights scored four touchdowns in the second half to secure a 28-12 Homecoming win over Westminster. That victory, the fifth straight, put this team in the books, tied for most consecutive wins in program history. Through the season’s first six weeks, the Knights set new single-game records for total yards (711 at Greenville), passing yards (405 at Greenville), and rushing yards (477 v. St. Scholastica). They lead the UMAC in points (36.0), total yards (461.2), and rushing yards (265.8) per game on offense, while also ranking first in rushing yards allowed (90.2) and interceptions (nine) on defense. Four different players—Arndt, Bloomquist, Gensmer, and Austin DeNoyer (Lakeside LHS / St. Paul-Lake Mills WI)—have earned UMAC Player of the Week honors as well.

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Fall 2018 issue.