Current Students

Students 2017-2018

Click each student’s name below to find out more information. Click the name again to hide their information.

Junior Class:

BrasichAdam Brasich was raised in Madison, Wisconsin, and was confirmed at Resurrection Lutheran Church (WELS) in nearby Verona. He graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he majored in religion and minored in political science and Ancient Greek. He continued his education at Florida State University, where he earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in American religious history. Adam enrolled at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2017 and is excited to train for the public ministry. When not studying or working, Adam enjoys singing, hiking, and visiting with his family and friends in Tennessee, Indiana, and Utah.

EmmonsRoger Emmons Jr. was born to Roger Emmons Sr. and Kay Emmons in Winona Minnesota. He attended Onalaska Luther High School, he graduated Winona State University with an Associates of Arts in June 1993, Troy State University with a Bachelors of Applied Science in Human Resource Management in December 2004, and Martin Luther College with a Seminary Certificate in May 2017. He is a retired infantryman of the United States Army. His military service was with the Minnesota National Guard from Nov 1984 to Jul 1993 and on active duty from July 1993 to February 2014. He is married to Tammi (Allison)Emmons of Peoria Illinois; they enjoy traveling to visit their five children Cassandra Emmons (Trempealeau Wisconsin), Stephanie Simmons (Flora Illinois), Cale Emmons (San Antonio Texas) Taylor Emmons (Fort Bliss Texas) Destini Ott (Osan Air Base South Korea) and their six grandchildren.

JohnsonSamuel Johnson was born to Dan and Emily Johnson and grew up in rural Nicollet, Minnesota. He was homeschooled through high school and then attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota. He majored in Music with an emphasis in piano performance, graduating in Spring 2016. At Bethany he was in concert choir, gave two piano recitals, and played in the honor recitals held each semester. He enrolled at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2017. Presently he teaches piano lessons and plays for seminary chapel. His family includes his wife, Elisa, and their daughter, Tovah. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing piano, reading, and camping.

MenoughJonah Menough was born in June 1994 to Ronald and Kathleen Menough and raised in Hanover, Minnesota. He graduated from Buffalo High School and then began studying at Bethany Lutheran College in 2012. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics on May 2016. At Bethany, he both wrote for and designed the college newspaper, The Scroll. Additionally, he worked as a Math tutor, teacher’s aide, and cafeteria worker. He enrolled at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2017 and is excited to learn more about God’s Word and how to best serve the Lord.

ScheeleSean Scheele was born in Southern California but moved around a lot throughout his life. He also grew up in Michigan and Arizona. He attended California Baptist University where he studied theology and served on several missions teams. After Graduation he moved to the Middle East to teach ESL and when he returned back to the States he attended Phoenix Seminary. During his second year there he became a Lutheran and started attending Redeemer Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, AZ. He finished his M.A. in religious studies and moved to Mankato in May of 2016 to finish his language studies. He likes to woodwork and enjoys time with his wife and three children.

Middler Class:

David Choi was born and raised in north- eastern China, specifically in the Jilin province which shares a border with North Korea. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication from JiMei University, which is located in the southeastern part of China. He returned to Chang Chun City in his home province to study for his master’s degree, which he finished in 2013. After working for two years at a telecom company, he went to South Korea and became involved with Seoul Lutheran Church. The pastor there, the Rev. Young Ha Kim, encouraged him to pursue his interest in becoming a Lutheran pastor. He took classes at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong before moving to America and enrolling at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in September 2016.

KempfertJacob Kempfert was born in Water- town, WI to Lowell and Carol Kempfert. He attended Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, WI, where he was involved with band, choir, drama, and speech. He also started a support group for students struggling with depression and mental illness. He attended Bethany Lutheran College from 2003-2007, eventually graduating with a BA in English. He was active in the theatre and creative writing communities at Bethany, and served as an editor for the Inkwell literary magazine. At Bethany he met Anna Basel, and the two were married in 2011. He received an MA degree in literature and creative writing from the University of Maine in 2012. After graduate school, he and Anna taught English in South Korea for three years. Anna currently is a graduate student and teaching assistant in the English department at Minnesota State University – Mankato. Jacob’s older brother Ben is a WELS pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Oronoco, MN, and his younger sister Zabet is an honors student and former squirrel colony intern at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.

John Spivey was born in Pensa-cola, FL in 1992 to John and Joan Spivey. During his adolescence, his family moved to Casa Grande, AZ south of the Phoenix metro. John Spivey graduated High School at Casa Grande Union High School and completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona in Social, Behavioral, and Human Understanding. John met his wife Hannah in the Spring of 2013 and began attending Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church Tucson, AZ. They were married in December 2013 and he became a confirmed member in February 2014. The fall of 2014 John began his studies for the pastoral ministry by attending Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN where he studied Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Theology. John and Hannah were blessed with the birth of their daughter Aubrielle in July 2015. John honorably served in the U.S Army Reserves from 2011-2017 a. Hannah is currently working on her Master’s degree in harp performance at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. John enrolled at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2016.

Ethan Urtel is the son of Gene and Jill Urtel, born July 1994. Raised in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, he was homeschooled through high school. In his high school years he attended Youth Educated At Home Academy, and participated in PSEO classes there. He thoroughly enjoyed his four years at Bethany Lutheran College, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and minor in Religion in 2016. Highlights for him were choir, choraliers, and any opportunity to sing, from chapel to choir tour. He also spent time serving at the cafeteria, and hopes to do more serving through training at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary to share the good news of Jesus Christ to others.

Karim Yaghleji was born to Fawzi and Amira on February 5, 1984 in Hassaka, Syria. He moved to Aleppo when he was 12 years old. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a Master’s degree in Linguistics from Aleppo University, Syria. He taught English as a second language and English for specific purposes at Aleppo University for over 4 years. He was the head of the English department at United Nations, Syria before he moved to United States at the end of 2012. His parents and only sister, Antoinette, are still in Aleppo, Syria. Karim graduated from Martin Luther College with a seminary certificate and enrolled in Bethany Lutheran Seminary. He currently works for Multi-Language Publications as a translator, translating books and movies from English into Arabic for Arabic speakers. Karim was united in marriage with Anna Yaghleji. They are blessed with a little girl last July and called her “Amira Jade” after his mother’s name.

Senior Class:


Patrick Ernst was born to David and Sharon Ernst and raised in Shakopee, Minnesota. He attended Shakopee High School, Martin Luther College, and Normandale Community College before beginning study at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota. He studied English and graduated in December 2015. At Bethany College, he was active in organ playing, choir, and PAMA student mentors. In addition, he was editor at the college’s literary magazine, Inkwell, a member of the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, and on staff in the English and German departments. He enrolled at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2015. Currently he works as the seminary’s librarian and serves as the seminary’s organist and choir director. He teaches religion as an adjunct faculty member at Bethany Lutheran College and preaches often in area congregations. Outside of study and work he spends time with music, foreign languages, and running.

Vicar Class:

Thompson-picNoah Thompson is the son of Rev. David and Jenna Thompson. He was born on December 4, 1990 in Mankato, MN. Noah attended High School in Detroit Lakes, MN and was involved in soccer, track, and basketball. He attended college at Bethany Lutheran College and continued his athletic career playing socccer for four more years holding the responsibility of captian his final year. Noah graduated from Bethany in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. During his time at Bethany, Noah met Courtney Nelson. They were married in November of 2013 and were blessed with the birth of their first child Elliott David Thompson on September 4th.


Christian J. Walz was born in Lisbon, North Dakota. During his childhood, his family moved to the Kansas City area. Christian was confirmed in a WELS church. After finishing high school, Christian furthered his education at North Dakota State University. In 1995 Christian graduated college with a degree in biology. Christian worked a number of jobs living in Minnesota then moving back to his hometown in Kansas. Christian became very active in his church, teaching Sunday school and serving on various boards. He became interested in becoming a Lutheran pastor. He attended Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota and completed their seminary certification program. Christian continued his education at Bethany Lutheran Seminary. He completed two years of seminary training. He returned to the work force. After some time he returned to seminary in 2015. He plans to graduate in 2017. In his free time Christian enjoys riding his bike, fishing, and nature. He wants to become a pastor so that he can share the love of Jesus with all souls, bought with the blood of Christ.