My Story: Kristen Luettchau
This means “Good Health” in Slovak, and I remember my grandpa saying it all the time when I was growing up. It’s probably the only Slovak phrase I learned from him, but it’s a good one. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 99. I remember growing up and going to Zion Lutheran Church with him and my mom every Sunday. His father, my great-grandfather, was one of the founders of that church. Why am I telling you all of this information about my grandfather when the topic for this week is “My Story”?
Even though the topic is “My Story” it really isn’t a single story of an individual. I could tell you about myself: that I am in my 7th year teaching high school, that I have been a member here at St. Paul’s for the past 5 years, that my husband and I have been married for just about a year and a half, that I am finishing my first year serving on Church Council. But what do all of these things have to do with my story and my spiritual journey?
Remember that phrase, Na zdravie? Well, I wish all of you “Good Health,” but it’s more than physical health and well-being that makes up our health; health is also made up of our spiritual health, and my grandpa was a great role model of that for me.
When pastor first asked me to share my story, my first reaction was, why me? We all have stories to tell. Any one of us could be up here today talking about their story. But as one of the newer members of this congregation, I can provide some insight on how being involved with a local congregation can foster one’s spiritual health and faith, as I see what the congregation does for me and continues to do for others through its ministry.
The first time I came to St. Paul’s to worship and “try it out” was on Christmas Eve in 2012. I was with my grandpa, my mom, and some family. I came here not knowing much about the church. I had actually been here once before when my friend had made her Confirmation, and I later found out that my Aunt Sue and Uncle John, who passed away many years prior, used to go to this church. Some of you who have been members here for a while may even remember them. That Christmas Eve night I had filled out the attendance card and checked off that I desired a call from the pastor because I wanted to learn more about the church. When Pastor Jim started here and called me back, my mom and I began attending as regular members, and the rest is history.
In only five years as a member here at St. Paul’s, I have gotten involved with helping plan big celebrations like the 60th Anniversary of St. Paul’s and the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. I volunteered my time at the food pantry one day last summer when I was off from school, and I’ve donated items when I can. This past year I took a leap of faith running for Church Council, despite my already-overflowing schedule. While the other things I do in my life are out of necessity, working to make money to pay bills and put food on the table, serving on Church Council is something I can do as a way of refreshing my spiritual faith.
I always tell my students at school, “You only get out of something, what you put into it.” The same goes for being involved in a congregation. If I wasn’t willing to put in the time here, volunteering to sell ducks in silly outfits and cooking fifteen pounds of German potato salad with my mom, I wouldn’t have as strong of a faith.
Last week when pastor was telling us the story of the Good Samaritan for the third time in as many weeks, he reminded us that Stewardship is everything we do after we say, “I believe.” While I was never very involved at my old church, I look at my membership here at St. Paul’s as a “do-over.” It’s never too late in life to get involved, and all of the people I have met here at St. Paul’s have become a part of my spiritual journey. I hope that all of you will take some time to reflect on your stewardship here at St. Paul’s and reflect on your own spiritual faith.
With that, I say, “Na zdravie!” And to your spiritual health as well! Thank you.
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