Junior High Students are active in multiple programs at St. John Lutheran Church! They are learning about their faith in Confirmation, enjoying fellowship and hands-on activities in DARE2B, and joining together for Bible Study on Sunday mornings.
The High School years are filled with new adventures, and this is certainly true at St. John! When our youth members reach their freshman year, they have the opportunity to take part in an awesome small-group program called Godparents. This gives youth a close-knit faith family to turn to during this time of transition.Learn More
At St. John we are committed to supporting our families from cradle to college. This means that we are constantly working to provide opportunities for our young children to be active in their faith life, as well as supporting parents as they raise their children in loving, Christian homes.
The latest happenings at @stjluthyouth
It can now be said that I am officially a sophomore at Valparaiso University! I am two weeks into the fall semester now and the time is flying by. This last week seems like it just began and now it’s already over. I have a sense that this is what the rest of the year will be like. To any new college freshmen reading this, be prepared: Thanksgiving will come quicker than it ever has before and finals will be right around the corner in a heartbeat. In addition to my academic life, I have taken on several leadership positions this year including serving as a peer minister in a freshmen residence hall, the chaplain for the Social Action Leadership Team, an Ambassador in Admissions, and various other positions in different organizations. It is an extremely busy semester for me, and I have begun to realize that I may have bitten off more than I can handle. Stress abounds in my daily life and sometimes I struggle to get a grasp on it. How does one manage stress? They don’t really teach kids how to handle it in high school. It’s just assumed that you know what to do when life gets busy and deadlines come at you from all directions. There is actually no easy answer to this question I believe. Sure, there are self-help books that will teach you different techniques like breathing exercises and better time management. They will definitely help you, but I think there is more to relieving stress than what the Help for Dummies book can tell you. As a Christian, I don’t...Learn More
One day, her dad picked her and her siblings up from school and told them they had to go to the dentist. She was not happy, because the dentist sucks. (Like seriously) Soon enough they found out that they were not headed to the dentist, though. Actually, they were headedto the zoo for a surprise excursion. Her mom even met them there. Now, who is this mystery person? Well, it’s Bethany Werner, our new youth communications coordinator. It may be a mouthful, but it’s an important job. She’s in charge of this very blog, and helps PR by sending out emails, the family newsletter, and other things. She used to be a DCE (Director of Christian Education) in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s pronounced Lou-ul-vul by the locals. Yeah I know, crazy. Bethany suggests practicing with marbles in your mouth until you perfect your Kentucky accent. Bethany was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and grew up in Honey Creek, Iowa. She now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her husband Michael Werner, son of our very own Betsy Werner. Bethany is a cat lover, but unfortunately her husband is allergic, and doesn’t want to be near them. So, they don’t have any pets. On the more serious side of things, Bethany has a strong faith in the salvation from Jesus Christ. She prays before and after meals, in the evening before bed, or whenever she feels the need to. As we mentioned earlier, she is also a DCE, and spent 4 years in Kentucky working with youth and family ministries. She started her job here in Seward on August 1st as a way...Learn More
Suicide. It’s not a fun topic, but it needs to be talked about. We hear about it quite a bit, but rarely are we personally affected by it. And even if we don’t necessarily hear about it, that doesn’t mean it’s not present. Whether or not they have spoken about it, many people have struggled with suicide. What does the Bible say about suicide? Why would someone want to end their own life? There are so many questions surrounding the topic. Life is a gift. That life is always in God’s hands, never our own. With all life can throw at us, it would be easy to take our life into our own hands! However, while suicide is an act meant to take away temporary pain, it does so in a permanent way. The Holy Spirit is inside everyone (1 Corinthians 3:16), yet everyone still feels low at times. Those are the times God invites us to call to Him. Those times we feel like nothing else will help–when we feel so low that it will never get better–when we are angry, sad, depressed, anxious, upset, or any unwell feeling, those are the times God invites us to call on Him. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 32 is so comforting. I wish I could tell it to everyone who is hurting. It’s very true, too; the Lord is always there for us, when we are at our highest and when we are at our lowest. How can you be sure? The same Jesus, who went to...Learn More
The last time I wrote a blog I was sitting in my dorm room six hundred miles east of here preparing for finals and the end of my first year of college. It was great to return home after the school year wrapped up and be welcomed back into the St. John and Seward communities. I recently had a second homecoming in Seward after spending two weeks in Alaska, which were amazing. This was my fifth year as a member of the Alaska Mission Team to Akiachak, Alaska. It was a true blessing to return there again with my family and a great group of friends and team members to share the love of Christ, while also being witnessed to by members of the village. During our last night in the village I found myself struggling to say goodbye to the kids, teens, and adults that I have gotten to know well during my five weeks spent there over the past years, as I know that my return to the village is unlikely in the next couple of years due to the reality of pursuing a career in science. I realized during the week that I spent in the village this year that Akiachak is one of my homes. Seward is my permanent address and Valparaiso is where I spend two-thirds of the year now, but Akiachak is also a place that I can call home now. This year was my favorite year in Akiachak so far for several reasons. First off, the team was incredible, and very funny. We had several people that could probably be comedians if...Learn More
Who had twelve aquariums full of guppies? Who enjoyed fixing sewer problems when he was a kid? Who now has 18 tenants between all his rental properties? From being a dorky, only child to sharing God’s love through his service inside and outside of the church, this person has impacted lives in not only Seward, but the world. Well, obviously it’s Paul Soulek, but you may not call him that. Some of you know him as Mr. Soulek, others as Cantor, but overall he’s known as that crazy good organist who fills our church with wonderful music. So, what makes Cantor Soulek tick? Well, out of common knowledge, he’s a big fan of bananas. I remember he used to label his bananas for each church service (he may or may not still do that). He also relies on coffee each day and wet morning kisses from his puppy, Silas (be warned, Silas is scheduled to get a haircut sometime soon, so he may not look like the same shaggy dog we all know him as). Once again, the answer “there is no typical day” comes up in another interview. However, Paul spends his day working with people from a wide range of ages, and what he does with each group can vary drastically. He says that “every day is an opportunity to teach about Jesus.” From crazy object lessons at the CDC to playing the organ for a funeral, Paul gets to experience many different styles of work. Besides leading the whole congregation in music, Paul also leads various groups in choir and hand bells. He writes articles for...Learn More
It’s May and that means moving time for many people, including myself. I am currently working on packing up here at Valpo, and by the time this is posted I will be back in Seward! I look forward to seeing all of my Nebraska friends and family very soon! While packing here in my cramped dorm room, I am reminded about how tiny our lives are. My eight months here in Valpo is currently being condensed down into one carload of clothes, books, shoes, and anything else a college student could need. My entire life fits into just a few small boxes. That’s a shocking thought to me as I sit here on my now-bare mattress. A few boxes contain my life – and what is actually in them? Not very much to be honest. Sure, there are lots of things in them. Coats, blankets, utensils, paper, and miscellaneous objects fill them to the brim. Is that my life though? Am I as insignificant as these few boxes crammed full of common objects that everyone has? No, absolutely not! Both you and me are unique individuals and who we are can never be contained in boxes. Boxes can only contain material objects; they cannot hold memories, dreams, wishes, disappointments, emotions, or faith. The thing that truly defines our past, experience, is not limited to the dimensions of a box. Neither are the desires of our future subject to what a moving truck can transport. But even if all of these things are tied up into objects for you, I still believe that faith can never be removed from a...Learn More