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Skyler Hepler was born to Scott and Kristi (Prazak) Hepler and raised in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. He became a member of the ELS in eighth grade when a friend invited him to attend confirmation class at Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church. From there he became more involved with his church through the youth group and later became a counselor at Camp Indianhead, WI (now Camp Rise). Skyler graduated from Monona Grove High School in 2016 before attending UW-Madison to pursue a degree in engineering. During his first semester of college, Skyler began feeling called to the ministry. He dropped out after one semester before eventually transferring to Bethany Lutheran College in the fall of 2018. At Bethany, Skyler served as Chairs of the Religious and Internal Affairs Committees on Student Senate and was the president of Bethany’s Organization of Student Scientists, X-Terrain, Ultimate Frisbee and Juggling Clubs. He also participated in choir and the musical all three years and spent many hours counting migratory raptors at the Bethany HawkWatch. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology in May 2021. Skyler also met his wife Erin Kelly at Bethany on the winter Boundary Waters trip. Erin is from Brisbane, Australia where her family are members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. In his free time, Skyler enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and spending time outside birding and herping.
Caleb Strutz was born to Nathan and Elizabeth (Wierschke) Strutz in La Crosse, WI. He was raised in Galesville, WI and Verona, WI, attending homeschool and St. Paul’s school in the former and Our Redeemer school in the latter. After attending Lakeside Lutheran High School, he went on to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN and graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in Classical Biblical Languages and a minor in Spanish. During that time, he was involved with Forum and spent a summer abroad in Argentina. There he met his wife, Brianna Asik, and the two married on April 19, 2020, during the midst of COVID lockdown. Honeymoon plans to Argentina were foiled, so the two spent some of their first weeks of married life house-sitting a chicken farm. They expect their first child, Lydia Magdalena, on December 1st. This year, Brianna is serving as 4th grade teacher’s aid at Mount Olive and the two are Resident Assistants at the Beacon Campus Ministry. Caleb has a special interest in Hebrew, the liturgy, and BBC dramas.
Caleb VonDeylen was born to Marc and Monique (Archer) VonDeylen and raised in Friendswood, Texas. He went to Lord of Life Lutheran School up to the eighth grade after which he attended Luther Preparatory school in Wisconsin and then Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota. He graduated from there with a Bachelors of Arts degree. At Martin Luther College Caleb was involved in cross country, choir, intramural sports, and track and field. It was at the college that he met his wife, Sara. Sara graduated there with an early childhood degree and they got married shortly after her graduation. They have been happily married for over 2 years and have one daughter, Madilynn Hope VonDeylen, who turned one year old in August, 2021. Sara is a stay at home mom and Caleb is a waiter at Olive’s in Mankato. Aside from studying and serving people he enjoys running, games of any sort, and spending time with loved ones.
Jon Gross is originally from Hartland, Wisconsin. He attended Martin Luther College where he studied to be a teacher. Jon served as a teacher for a year in the Dominican Republic, as a tutor for two years at Luther Preparatory School, and as a Science teacher at St. Marcus Lutheran School for three years. Jon joined Kingdom Workers in 2015 and moved to Linares, Chile to support and encourage a small ELS congregation located there. After several years in Linares and by God’s grace, Jon accepted the opportunity to complete pastoral studies in order to officially fill the vacancy present at the church. While in Chile, Jon developed video and photo editing skills and began to work closely with Academia Cristo (a WELS publication for Latin America). Jon edits the videos viewed by thousands of potential church leaders as they grow in their faith online while being connected virtually with missionaries stationed throughout Latin America. Jon is happily married to his wife Elise and is a proud father to his almost three-year-old-son Moses. He feels extremely blessed to be able to serve as a leader at Unidos por la fe Lutheran Church, to serve together with Academia Cristo, and to be studying at Bethany Lutheran Seminary.
Joel Hansen has been working with teenagers since he was one himself. Joel graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2003, and has since served as a teacher, staff minister in Green Bay, and program director at Camp Phillip. He is currently serving as the staff minister of youth at Bloomington Living Hope Lutheran Church. He is thrilled to have continuous opportunities to travel along-side God’s people as they live through their ever-changing adventures. Joel’s wife, Rachel, graduated with a teaching degree from Martin Luther College. Joel and Rachel have four children: Lucy, Judah, Caleb and Moses. These children keep the dinner table exciting, and bring their parents a special kind of joy. Joel has a large hobby collection. He enjoys roasting his own coffee (and drinking it), playing soccer and coaching it, basketball, disc golf, Star Wars, woodworking, reading, knitting and crocheting, and loves playing (and collecting) board games. One of his favorite hobbies is playing guitar and writing spiritual songs.
Matthew Lehne was born to Tim and Teresa Lehne in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was raised in Lino Lakes with his two younger sisters until it came time for him to attend school. His family moved to Burnsville, Minnesota, where he got a third sister and attended Good Shepherd Lutheran School from kindergarten to eighth grade. He received his high school education at St. Croix Lutheran High School in West St. Paul, Minnesota, where he decided that he wanted to become a pastor. He went to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. After taking a few years off, he entered Bethany Lutheran College for one year to refresh his skills in the biblical languages and is now attending Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. Matthew likes to travel and go for walks in nature. He is also a fan of storytelling and likes to spend his free time watching films.
Cody Anderson was born to Keith and Lisa (Homann) Anderson who are from Colfax, Wisconsin. He attended St. Paul Lutheran School in Bloomer, Wisconsin from kindergarten to 8th grade. After attending Bloomer High, he graduated and at first pursued a career as a Game Warden/Park Ranger at UW-Stevens Point. With the help of the campus ministries there, he then transferred to Martin Luther College in New Ulm. He graduated from there in 3 years with a BS in Educational Studies and a minor in classical languages and Theology in the summer of 2018. On August 8th, 2020, he married his wife, Taylor (Thur) Anderson. In May of 2021 she graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a BFF in Interior Architect and Design. His hobbies include being an avid hunter and fisherman and he cannot wait to be a called worker like his Grandmother, Hildegard (Kunkel) Homann, class of ’61 at Concordia University Chicago.
Caleb Helmen was born to Tim and Lori Helmen and was raised in Minneapolis. He was homeschooled throughout his childhood. During high school, he enrolled in PSEO courses through the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Concordia University-St.Paul, and North Central University. He enrolled at Bethany Lutheran College in the Fall of 2015 and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology as well as minors in both Communication and Philosophy. While at Bethany, he was active on the Speech Team as a debater, as well as being involved with choir, theater and Student Senate. On Bethany’s speech team he met Emily, his debate partner, whom he married in July of 2020. He enrolled at BLTS in 2019. He enjoys spending time with his wife, friends and family, as well as baseball and traveling.
Max Kerr was born to Max and Darlene Kerr and raised in Tucson, AZ. He went to public elementary and high school. He graduated from Flowing Wells High School in 2011 and attended the University of Arizona for two years and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for one semester. Max diligently studied violin performance. Max had a change of heart and decided to enter the public ministry in 2014. He moved to New Ulm, MN and attended Martin Luther College from 2014-2019. There he rigorously studied German, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, history, philosophy, and theology. Max met his wife Danica in 2016. They were married in summer of 2017. Danica graduated from MLC and went on to get her Master’s in Mathematics Education from Western Governor’s University. Danica is currently teaching upper level math at Lakes International Language Academy. She enjoys playing the piano for church. The Lord has blessed the couple with a daughter: Aurelia Grace Kerr, born on July 8, 2019. Together they live in Saint Paul, MN. They enjoy walking, hiking, music, and seeing all that Saint Paul has to offer. They also enjoy serving at their church together and getting to know other people.
Colin Anderson was born in Rochester Minnesota, and was raised in Faribault, Minnesota. In my schooling he attended Faribault High School, Bethany Lutheran College, Minnesota State University Mankato, and Martin Luther College. At Bethany he studied Psychology and was also active in choir and golf and various intramural sports. After two years at Bethany he studied Special Education and graduated in May 2014 with a BS degree in Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato. After graduating college, he taught for two years in the Mankato Public School District. He was also a basketball coach at Mankato East High School for three years. He spent two years taking languages at Martin Luther College before enrolling at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in fall 2018. His most recent news is that he got married July 25th 2020, and could not be happier about it! His wife’s name is Hannah, and she is the greatest blessing in his life. They had a small intimate ceremony and reception at Colin’s parents lake home in Faribault, Minnesota. Currently the Andersons work as the Resident Hall Coordinators of Gullixson Hall at Bethany Lutheran College and live there as well. Outside of work and study, Colin enjoys hiking and exploring God’s creation with his wife and family, as well as golfing, hunting, fishing, exercising and other outdoor and lake activities.
Peter S. Bockoven was born to Peter M. and Christine A. Bockoven in Winchester, Massachusetts. When he was six years old his family moved to Sahuarita, Arizona. When he was sixteen, he transferred from public high school to Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wisconsin. Upon graduation he attended college at Bethany Lutheran College, graduating with a degree in history/philosophy in May 2018. At Bethany he enjoyed studying languages, playing the organ, singing in the choir, and working various on-campus jobs. He began studies at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in August 2018. He is married to his wife Katie (Farquhar). Katie is a recent nursing graduate of Bethany Lutheran College, currently employed as a nurse in Mankato. Peter and Katie have a daughter, Adeline Esther, who was born in May 2018, and a son, yet to be named, born in September 2020. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and exercising.
Abraham Faugstad was born to Dan and Julie (Sorenson) Faugstad and raised in Belview, Minnesota. He was homeschooled until eighth grade and then attended E.C.H.O. Charter School and Southwest Minnesota State University before starting at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics in May 2017. At Bethany Lutheran College, he was involved with Student Senate, Bethany’s Organization of Student Scientists, choir, chamber orchestra, theater, intramural sports, and playing guitar and organ. At Bethany Abe met his wife, Elise Widmer. Their first date was in Erfurt, Germany (where Martin Luther received his doctorate), when they were on the Bethany Choir tour trip. Elise was one of the first girls Abe met at Bethany at Music Theory Boot camp. They have now been happily married for two years and they welcomed a new member of the family this past February, their daughter, Hilde Grace Faugstad! This school year he will be working as the librarian for the Seminary and Elise is a stay-at-home Mom and Homemaker. They are also serving as the Resident Assistants at the Beacon Lutheran Campus Ministry at Mankato State University. Outside of his studying and work he enjoys physical exercise, music, and spending time with family.
Nicholas Lilienthal was born to Rev. Gene and Cynthia Lilienthal in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He grew up in Luverne, Minnesota and Brownsburg, Indiana, attending Brownsburg High School before entering into Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota in the fall of 2011. He studied theatre and graduated in May of 2015. At Bethany, he was heavily involved in the theatre program, as well as the choir. After graduating from Bethany Lutheran College, he worked as an assistant manager in a tuxedo rental shop, a night stocker, a daytime stockman, and an assistant manager at a Dollar Tree. In the fall of 2016, he returned to Bethany to take Biblical Hebrew and Ancient Greek, and enrolled at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall of 2018. At present, he works at the Barnes and Noble Café when he is not studying in the seminary. Outside of class and work he spends his time reading and occasionally writing.