2010 News Stories

Introducing 2010 SME Participants

Posted on Fri, Jun 04, 2010

Summer Ministry Experience team excited to start program

Summer Ministry Experience 2010L-R: Back row: Staff Minister Michael Hennig, Deanna Becker, Jamie Anderson, Tim Babler, Sam Panning
Front row: Philip Strong, Mara Nass, Erin Peterson, Dani Ashman

Belle Plaine, MN—This year’s Summer Ministry Experience (SME), which is entirely funded by donations, began June 1. This year, 8 college students are excited to be part of this unique program.

Jamie Anderson heard about SME through the 2009 Summer WELS National Youth Rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where she met Staff Minister Michael Hennig. She shares, “He told me about the program and it sounded like a really fun and really great opportunity to learn and grow in God’s Word. This summer in SME I am hoping to learn more about Scripture and gain confidence in sharing my faith with others and spreading God’s Word. I hope to develop long-lasting relationships with the SME team and with those we work with, and I am ready for God to use my skills and abilities in the ways he knows best. Pretty much, I’m PUMPED!”

Jamie attends Winona State University, and she has 3 majors: Music Liberal Arts, Health Promotion and Secondary English Education.

Erin Peterson learned about SME from friends: “After listening to numerous friends rave about their experiences as a SME, I found myself drawn to the program. I’m excited to have the chance to share my faith with others and to grow as a Christian. I hope to develop lifelong friendships with the individuals I encounter this summer. I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity, and I look forward to a memorable and life-changing summer.”

Erin attends University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Her majors are Elementary Education and English, and her minor is Secondary Education.

Samuel Panning currently attends Martin Luther College, previously attending the University of Texas at Austin. He states, “I truly appreciate the opportunity to openly share God’s Word in the work place. My first year at Martin Luther College has uplifted and edified my faith and I am overjoyed to share the Gospel with individuals from all walks of life. My time as Vice President of “Anchor” at Martin Luther College opened doors for service at nursing homes in the area and I hope my experience and passion carries over into my work in SME. As I noted before, I am in awe of the opportunity to make our lives’ purpose my work this summer. Moreover, I am thankful that our group is filled with such diverse and talented people eager to serve and share their gifts.”

Tim Babler also attends Martin Luther College, majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in theology and music. He found about the SME program when the 2009 group traveled to Washington state: “I talked to a few of last year’s students, and I really was drawn to the program. I am excited to be a part of the SME team this year as we get to go out into the community and share our faith with the people we come into contact with. I pray that God blesses our Summer Ministry Experience and that we can grow in our faith as we share our faith with others.”

Philip Strong thought SME appeared to be a great opportunity when he heard about it at Martin Luther College, where he goes. “It looked like it was a great experience for those who had done it in the past and hearing about it made me want to share in this experience. I hope to share my faith and God’s Word with others through this experience. I am so excited to share what I know about God’s Word with others and to see how God works through everyone!

Philip’s studies focus on Elementary Education with a coaching emphasis.

“I heard about the Summer Ministry Experience from a girl who did it last summer,” shared Deanna Becker. A 2009 participant shared a video from last summer at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Campus Ministry’s Bible class. “It looked like something I would love to be a part of. It seemed like an awesome way to get experience for my planned career, but also just a great experience in general. I know it’s going to be an amazing two months and I am excited to be able to share and show my faith with others. I hope to create close relationships with my team members and others along the way, but mostly strengthen my relationship with God. This is such a unique opportunity and I am so thankful I get to be a part of it!”

Deanna’s planned career is in therapy, as she is majoring in Therapeutic Recreation and minoring in Psychology.

Dani Ashman also heard about the program from a friend who had been a participant, “The excitement and personal experiences that he shared with me really made me interested to learn more, and a few months later, here I am! I am so excited to be part of this opportunity and have the chance to witness my faith to others. It is going to be a summer full of new experiences, challenges and relationships, and I cannot wait to see how God uses me and my talents to spread His Gospel. I hope to establish some strong bonds with as many people as I can, learn more about myself, and most importantly, impact the lives of others with the power of God’s Word.”

Dani attends Viterbo University, studying Dietetics and Spanish.

Mara Nass learned of SME in the same way, through friends who been part of previous SME teams over the years, “The joy they showed for their job and the stories they shared with me made me interested in what SME was all about. I have always been interested in working with the Jesus Cares Ministries program, and SME gives me an amazing opportunity to see another type of ministry. It is going to be an awesome summer of meeting new friends, experiencing new adventures, and most importantly being immersed in God’s Word. Going into the called ministry, this experience gives me a chance to see the many different ministry opportunities and spread God’s Word with those who don’t yet know about His amazing gift of salvation. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for my fellow co-workers and me and the amazing journey He will lead us on.”

Mara attends Martin Luther College, studying Elementary Education with a Social Studies emphasis.

Of this group, 7 participants will travel around the Midwest, serving people with special needs. This includes working with our locations and Jesus Cares Ministries. The 8th participant will serve as a Chaplain’s Assistant for us.

We thank all who make this experience possible!

Learn more about what these students are doing this summer by following The Lutheran Home Association on Facebook®.

Tags: Jesus Cares Ministries, Summer Ministry Experience, WELS, Belle Plaine