March 25 – April 1, 2019 – Mobile, Alabama – The sole purpose of this Kettle Moraine Lutheran mission trip is to help improve the church’s outreach to the community while inviting others to worship services, especially the Easter service. The members at Saving Grace Lutheran Church were not hesitant to put the Kettle students to work on this.
The approach to establishing contacts with people in the surrounding area included: going into neighborhoods to place flyers in the doors, knocking on houses to take surveys on how the church can better serve the community, personally calling people on the church’s prospect list to invite them to the Easter service, as well as counting and preparing flyers for mailing routes. The five juniors from KML, Olivia Bernarde, Jordyn Heckendorf, Sarah Kary, Ellie Kudek, and Kayla Nommensen also gave their input on indirect outreach through the use of social media…their cup of tea.
The statistics of their labor (see above), collected by the ministry assistant and former U.S. Coast Guard, Commander Bob Kaylor.
The girls and their chaperone, pastor and teacher at KML, Phil Malchow, were shown true southern hospitality by the members and leaders of Saving Grace Lutheran Church. This mission team would agree that they were embraced with an affectionate welcome by each and every person they met. Not to mention, a majority of the strangers they ran into when canvassing were so accepting and appreciative of the information that was shared with them. Even if people already attended services at a different church, some still took the time to fill out a survey regarding Saving Grace’s community outreach and how they can improve.
Through their time in Alabama, the mission team also had the opportunity for some entertaining activities and sightseeing. A particular member of the church, Chad Small, is a current U.S. Coast Guard mechanic and is involved with search and rescue. He devoted some of his time to show the KML group around the Coast Guard base while taking a pitstop in the helicopter simulator to give them a lively taste of what it would be like. Other days involved visiting downtown Mobile, Gulf Shores beach, as well as, New Orleans, Louisiana. Also, these five cross-trainers did not head back to Wisconsin without getting a taste of traditional southern seafood such as oysters and crawfish.
Many memories and life lessons were instilled in these KML students as they shared their faith and stepped out of their comfort zone. Kayla Nommenson expands on how this mission trip has impacted her personally,
“I learned that reaching out to people is easier than I thought. I have more opportunities to share my faith with other people and I can be confident doing that now. We, as Lutherans, take for granted how blessed we are in the number of resources we have for worship whereas in the southern areas some people travel hours for a WELS (Wisconsin Evangelic Lutheran Synod) congregation.”
Opportunities like these are hard to come by so it is such a privilege for these students to have embarked on this journey and come back with a new sense of confidence and spiritual growth. If you want to learn more about Saving Grace Lutheran or how you can benefit them, click on the link provided in the line above.