Winter Carnival

What does a college student do when the temperature is minus 10 F? Broomball, painting, ice skating, hockey, trivia, and more!
During Winter Carnival, students willing to embrace the cold competed in broomball, played hockey against Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary students, and went ice skating.
For those more interested in escaping the frigid weather, indoor activities included badminton, Iron Chef, speedball, trivia night, and a talent show.
Students enjoyed the best of both worlds in a favorite event: Bob Ross Night. They painted a wintry scene while staying warm, eating snacks, and relaxing with friends.
Pictured: Naomi Bridgemen (St. Mark-Eau Claire WI), Yu Geng (Jerry) Yang (St. Paul-New Ulm MN), and Jacob Leyrer (St. John-Wauwatosa WI) show off their Bob Ross Night creations.

Lunar New Year Celebrations

Happy Lunar New Year!
The campus family heard this greeting from January 21 to February 3 as international students celebrated the Lunar New Year.
The Lunar New Year is part of many Asian cultures, and Chinese international student 刘文达 (Wenda Liu) (First German-Manitowoc WI) believes it is important for the campus family to experience.
“It is not enough to just know the aspects of a culture, but also we have to really learn, understand, and connect with others from this culture to respect and admire it,” Liu says. “For me, I have a very diverse and beautiful culture, and I want to share this with our campus family so we can appreciate it together.”
On January 22, students from Introduction to Minority Cultures and Teaching World Language and Culture classes joined with international students at Professor Tingting Schwartz’s house for Chinese hotpot.
The Cultural Engagement Center (CEC) and the Craft Society also hosted a Lunar New Year event on January 24. MLC students, faculty, and staff did 窗花 (traditional Chinese paper cutting). Chinese international students demonstrated the paper cutting technique and explained the meaning of the symbols included in the designs.
To celebrate the Lantern Festival, the final day of the Lunar New Year, Professor Tingting and Wenda Liu went to the MLC Early Childhood Learning Center to read children’s books about the holiday for the preschoolers.
Thank you to Professor Tingting, our international students, the CEC, and the Craft Society for holding these events!
Pictured: Wenda Liu reads The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang to ECLC students.

Jim Unke Memorial Scholarship

On January 28, supporters packed the MLC gym to celebrate the establishment of the Jim Unke Memorial Scholarship.
This new scholarship will honor and carry forward Coach Unke’s legacy of gospel ministry by financially supporting the training of future pastors, teachers, and staff ministers.
Jim’s players, friends, and colleagues remember the former athletic director for his faithful service and heart for ministry. “As an MLC graduate, I can’t thank Coach Unke enough for what he has done for all of us,” says Jiacheng (Nicholas) Liu MLC ’20. “Coach Unke was always approachable, encouraging, and caring. He set a perfect example for us on how to be a faithful servant.”
To honor Jim’s 25 years of service to MLC, the scholarship committee set a goal to raise $25,000 in 25 days. They met that goal and more! Over $47,000 have been donated to the scholarship fund, and the donations are still coming in. Visit the scholarship’s GoFundMe page to give to the training of future called workers.
MLC is thankful for the support that allowed the Jim Unke Memorial Scholarship to be established!
Pictured: Head Men’s Basketball Coach Greg Holzhueter MLC ’10, scholarship committee chair; MLC VP Scott Schmudlach DMLC ’85, Jim’s brother-in-law; Julie Schmudlach DMLC ’86, Jim’s sister; MLC Admissions Counselor Lori Unke DMLC ’84, Jim’s wife; Dan Cline, scholarship committee member; MLC VP Mark Maurice.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On January 16, the MLC campus family came together for MLK Day 2023: a day dedicated to learning to serve God’s diverse kingdom.
The activities focused on 1 Corinthians 12:12: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” Each session encouraged attendees to prepare for the diversity they will experience in their ministries.
Students, faculty, and staff especially enjoyed speaker Ronald Kelly’s keynote address. Kelly, a pastoral assistant at St. Marcus-Milwaukee and a student in the Joshua Urban Ministry Program, shared his experiences and the ministry he and his wife Shavanaka are leading in the community. He engaged the campus family with humor, stories, and lessons for them to carry into their own ministries.
Another favorite was the panel discussion at the conclusion of the day. Keynote speaker Ronald Kelly, Professor Aaron Robinson (cultural diversity coordinator), and Admissions Counselor Martín Santos answered audience questions on race, diversity, and ministry. Panel speakers shared both frustrating and uplifting experiences and discussed the ministry lessons they learned from those situations.
MLC thanks the organizers, speakers, and attendees for an enlightening experience on MLK Day 2023.
Pictured: Keynote speaker Ronald Kelly presenting to the campus family on MLK Day.

New Face on Campus: Kayte Gut

Professor Kayte Gut (early childhood) is originally from Wausau WI and attended Northland LHS. Her ministry has involved many roles in various regions, which is a blessing to her current work at MLC.
When Professor Gut graduated from MLC, she was assigned to Lambs of Grace-Charlotte NC as a lead teacher and assistant director. From there she served at Abiding Word-Houston and Shepherd of the Valley-Westminster CO. In addition to her congregational ministries, she served as the early childhood district coordinator for the Nebraska District.
“Being able to share God’s Word with the littlest of God’s children is a blessing that looks different depending on the type of ministry you serve,” says Professor Gut. “Every early childhood ministry (ECM) in our synod is unique. The variety of ministries I have been blessed to serve allows me to bring firsthand knowledge and experience to our teacher candidates to better prepare and equip them for the unique opportunities our ECMs offer.”
At MLC, Professor Gut teaches several early childhood courses, including Teaching Literacy, The Arts and Movement in Early Childhood, and Teaching Religion in Early Childhood Education. She also observes student teachers in the early childhood education program and is the assistant women’s soccer coach.
“The best part of preparing called workers for public ministry is seeing them learn how to teach young children,” says Professor Gut. “I get to see them apply what they are learning in class and do what they have ultimately come to MLC to do: teach young children about their Savior’s love for them while preparing those same children for the world they live in.”

Bingo Night Donations

Bingo Night will be Wednesday, February 8, 2023!
The Ladies’ Auxiliary, with wonderful help from the MLC Student Senate, conducts this fun evening in the MLC Auditorium. Last year, nearly 400 students participated. They were excited to win 142 blankets and quilts, along with $3,450 worth of gift cards and cash prizes!
With your help, we will again hand out fabulous prizes of gift cards, quilts, and baked goods to the MLC student winners!
Please help us with this fun break for our MLC students! They always appreciate it, and many describe it as one of the year’s highlights!
By February 1, we’ll need to receive your cash donations for the purchase of gift cards and, of course, your beautiful BLANKETS and QUILTS!
By February 8, we’ll need to receive your baked goods. Bring them to the MLC reception desk by noon, please.
For more information about donating to Bingo Night, email
Thank you from your MLC Ladies’ Auxiliary and from many grateful students!

New Face on Campus: Isaiah Degner

Professor Isaiah Degner (foreign language) grew up in St. Peter MN, where his father served as a pastor. In 2007, he accepted a call to teach Spanish at Fox Valley LHS, where he served until accepting the call to MLC in 2022. At MLC, he’s teaching a variety of Spanish courses, such as Communicating Christ, Spanish and Latin American Literature, and Advanced Spanish Conversation.
Professor Degner’s path to MLC is evidence of God’s perfect plan for his life. After graduating from Minnesota Valley LHS, he studied forestry, natural resources, and wildlife management for one year before transferring to MLC’s preseminary program.
When he started at MLC, Professor Degner selected a Latin emphasis, having studied both Spanish and Latin in high school. “One day, I was ascending the staircase in Old Main when Professor Bases introduced himself and began to explain to me why I needed to take Spanish classes with him,” he says. “He was very persuasive and convinced me to give it a try.”
He hasn’t stopped studying Spanish since. “After my sophomore year at MLC, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an English teacher in Puerto Rico through WELS Kingdom Workers,” he says. “That experience really got me excited about continuing with Spanish and also about teaching.”
Professor Degner now gets to share that excitement with the next generation of called workers. “The best part about preparing future called workers is the faith and fellowship we share and being able to talk about that every day in class,” he says. “It brings me joy to talk about Christ with my students and to get them excited about how they will share Jesus with their future students and members.”

Fun and Fellowship

The MLC Student Senate creates a rich campus life for the student body. This student-elected group organizes events throughout the year. Some highlights during the first semester were trivia nights, the Homecoming talent show, karaoke nights, MLC night at New Ulm Steel hockey, and campus Christmas decoration.

Mary Zellmer (St. Matthew-Iron Ridge WI), Katie Ungemach (First German-Manitowoc WI), Gretchen Lucht, and Alaina Bartel (Resurrection-Chesapeake VA) decorate cookies at the Christmas karaoke event.

While the whole campus enjoys the Senate’s activities, the senators receive an additional blessing from their hard work: ministry preparation. “Student Senate has helped me better understand the behind-the-scenes work it takes to plan a fellowship event and the importance of a dedicated team,” says first-year Senator Gretchen Lucht (Grace-Ringle WI).

Study Abroad: Berlin

Josiah Koelpin with his host-mom on the Glienicker Brücke (Bridge) in Berlin.

David Rutschow (Peace-Cottonwood AZ) and Josiah Koelpin (Calvary-Dallas) spent last semester studying abroad in Berlin.

Both young men attended classes, traveled throughout Europe, and worshiped with our WELS sister synod Evangelisch-Lutherische Freikirche (ELFK).

David and Josiah’s blog offered advice to students considering studying abroad. “Be open about new experiences,” says Josiah, “especially if they are out of your comfort zone. The friends I made along the way, my experiences, and the joy of learning I have found are all evidence of God’s hand throughout this semester and always.”

Josiah admits that he felt nervous about maintaining a strong faith in a highly atheist country. To overcome this challenge, David and Josiah connected with other WELS members from the United States and forged friendships with their peers at ELFK congregations.

“Through fellowship at the ELFK churches in Berlin, Hartenstein, and Dresden, and the WELS Heidelberg Retreat, I was well-supported in my faith,” says Josiah.