In order to understand why I love serving in a Lutheran school I must go back to my childhood. I attended St. Lorenz Lutheran School in Frankenmuth, where I received an excellent education in an environment where my faith could be nurtured and grown. I was blessed to have Eugene Kuske as my eighth grade teacher. He was the person who planted the seed that I should consider becoming a Lutheran school teacher. Through years of encouragement from Mr. Kuske, I ultimately decided to pursue a career in Lutheran education. I couldn’t think of a better path for my life than to give children the same wonderful experience I had in school where students were surrounded by caring teachers who fostered spiritual growth.
God has placed fantastic people in my life over the years. One such person was the principal of St. John’s Lutheran School in Marysville, Ohio where I received my first call to serve. Herb Mock was a man whose love of God was evident in how he led his school and how he lived his life. Each morning he held the door and high fived every student as they entered the building. Christ was the center of everything in the building. He urged teachers to always strive for excellence and to show the love of Christ in all things. He was my strongest mentor, challenging me to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Not only was he a model to the students and faculty, he demonstrated the love of Christ to everyone he met.
This past year Herb battled lung cancer. He provided weekly email updates highlighting how his battle was progressing and sharing humorous stories. But what I found most interesting were the interactions he had while receiving chemo. He would write about his conversations with people as they were receiving treatments. He loaned out his devotional books and shared recordings of the sermons he listened to during the hours of treatment. Herb met his Savior in September, but until that very day he was about the Lord’s work of sharing the love of Christ to those who needed to hear it the most.
These educators and countless others in Lutheran education continue to inspire me to share Christ’s love at Lutheran Special Education Ministries, both in and out of my classroom. At LSEM, I have the opportunity work with students for whom learning is difficult. My job could be described as helping students who struggle overcome those difficulties and to gain confidence in themselves and their ability to learn. But that would be incomplete. Students in my classroom will not only learn about reading and math. They will learn God loves them so much that He sent His Son to save them. They will learn that God has a plan for their lives.
After all, that is what Eugene Kuske and Herb Mock taught me.
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