(Myself, along with the elite boys choir at Immanuel Lutheran Church
In the winter of 2008 I received an e-mail from Pastor Gutz at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Salisbury, Missouri. He informed me that it was the wish of the Sunday school at Immanuel to help support a seminarian in his studies. I received this email at time when I felt buried and overwhelmed by the financial undertaking of my seminary education. I shortly thereafter received a check from the young students at Immanuel. Prior to this gift, I had readied myself to leave seminary for a couple of years to retrieve some funds (by working) and then return when I had to funds to help offset the cost of the Master of Divinity program.
I was incredibly moved by the generosity of the young students. They had randomly selected me as their sole mission. They could have chosen any other cause to give their money to. They could have tithed anywhere, but it was their desire to support a seminarian of all things! [Seminarian] A man being prepared for ordination into Christ's Office of the Holy Ministry, that he may faithfully preach, teach, baptize, administer the sacraments, and thereby care for God's people. They will not receive a stylish t-shirt for their giving. Their names will not be inscribed in hymnals or in a block of stone. Their giving to a seminarian will not award them praise from buddies at school or in the eyes of the world. But after hearing their singing at worship this past Sunday and confessing the faith with them, I know they are not motivated by those things anyway.
I am so thankful for these young people - their faith and their piety. It was through their example and gift that I resolved to press on with my education and trust that God would equip me to meet the needs ahead.
This past Sunday I had the honor and privilege to preach and worship with the congregation in Salisbury. After the service the congregation hosted Kristina and I to a special potluck just to celebrate our coming. We will look forward to visiting Immanuel Lutheran Church again! What a blessed congregation!
(Kristina and I along with the sons of Pastor and Traci Gutz: from left to right - Emmit, Emerson, Ethan, and Emery)