Tuesday
Sep242013

What about people not attending a college? - Phil Sebald

I’d like to take a minute to tell you my story with The Point of Grace.

Last year I attended the Gathering at Marquette not expecting much. I was surprised by how interesting the presentation was. The presenter was talking about popular TV shows like The Walking Dead, and American Horror Story, how Christians should view them. Despite not knowing much about the TV shows, I found it the presentation interesting and encouraging. The focus was that in these television shows, there is little hope for a future, whereas Christians have eternal hope through Jesus. One thing that attracted me to TPOG was the fact that I could have fellowship with my peers. I had been feeling out of touch with my home congregation, so TPOG was a great alternative. When Mike pitched the Collegiate Council idea, I was on board. I thought that the idea was great because the new direction included outreach to people in my situation. I still live at home and attend Technical College and felt left out of campus ministry, even though I am in the age group. Since the idea was hatched, I have been the representative for what we are calling the “non-campus campus” group. It has been a little difficult to reach out to this group because everyone is so spread out and busy. It has been a slow start, but we are confident that it will continue to grow.

Since I graduated high school I have changed my mind a lot on what I want to do as a career and where God is leading me. I first attended technical college for welding, got laid off from my welding job, volunteered at Camp Phillip for a year, moved home and worked for a year and now back to technical college for maintenance. Through all these changes, ups and downs in life, I have learned just how faithful God is. Whatever path I chose, God was always there to provide. A passage that someone reminded me of the other day from Proverbs talks about this exactly. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9). I find this so comforting because I know that wherever this life leads me, he will always establish my steps.

I am thankful that I have gotten involved with TPOG. I am excited about the direction and the potential of growth in the future. To know that we have a hope for a future through Jesus, and to be able to spread that hope throughout campus is such a blessing.

Your Brother in Christ,
Philip Sebald

Thursday
Jul112013

Campus Ministry Impact - Jacob Gajewski

Hello,

My name is Jake Gajewski and I'm a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences. I was originally introduced to the Point of Grace by my boss, Mike Westendorf. Mike is the Director of Operations for Innovative Weather, a program at UWM in which I am involved. As a WELS student I had heard about the Point of Grace when I first came to UWM, but never really had any motivation to become involved, mainly because I did not live on campus. After an invitation from Mike I attended several services, and eventually joined in on the Gatherings that were being held there as well. After just a few services I immediately realized the value of the Point of Grace, and my experience there had a very positive impact on my life. After talking with some of the other students, it was comforting to know that others were struggling with some of the same issues that I was facing. Through this new perspective I was able to become stronger in my faith. The Point of Grace is more than just a place to meet once a week and hang out with friends, it is a place to share your experiences, gain support from fellow students, and become closer with the Lord. I pray and thank you for your continued support.

- Jake

Friday
May032013

Campus Ministry Impact - Andrew Limmer

Hi. My name is Andrew Limmer. I graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation & Environmental Science.

My journey through college filled with God’s blessings and ultimately his plan for me was way better than I ever imagined. I began college with what I thought was a great plan for my life. I was an electrical engineering student at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. It was a great school, great people and my career outlook was even greater. However, as classes ended for the first year I knew something wasn’t right. This is where God through The Point of Grace was able to bring me back on track.

After God placed me in numerous volunteer opportunities with the WI DNR and conservation organizations I realized it was time for a switch in majors and schools. This was a tough decision. Not only would it take longer to graduate it would add to the already mounting student debt. After much prayer I realized it was the right decision to switch to UWM.

Looking back God placed me there so that I could be integral part of campus ministry in Milwaukee. I had the pleasure of serving as a house fellow for 3 years and serving among some of God’s great people. The campus ministry there was a safe place that helped guide me through my tough times as a student, I can’t imagine being where I am today without it. Shortly after graduation he blessed me a with a great career path and I currently serve as a Regional Director with National Wild Turkey Federation in Peoria, Illinois.

Campus ministry has played such a significant role in my journey with God that I am a firm believer in its value and continued existence. The leaders that are in place at TPOG have been blessed with great gifts and I thank God frequently for placing them in my life. The chance to gather with people your own age in a comfortable place near campus is invaluable. 

I hope and pray that the ministry there continues to thrive and a be a safe haven for all college students in the Milwaukee area.

Andrew Limmer
2012 UWM Graduate

Friday
Apr192013

Campus Ministry Impact - Adam Smith

Thank you for your support of WELS Campus Ministry in the Milwaukee area in the past, present and going forward into the future. Your gifts of time, talents and treasure help to strengthen the faith of many college students and work to bring other college students to knowledge of God and his Word. I would like a couple minutes of your time to share my story of how your support of campus ministry affected my life.

I came to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee as a graduate student working to receive a Masters in Public History after receiving a Bachelors degree in History from Missouri S&T in Rolla, Missouri. The closest church was an hour and a half away and while there was a church family that I would ride with on occasion, it didn’t really give me a chance to fully participate in God’s Word. I did not participate much in campus ministry, mostly because I was the only WELS student on campus but also because I didn’t really want to. As you can see, there sounds like a number of excuses here, because that’s what I seemed to do a lot of and was growing apathetic in my faith. The final straw was when mom died unexpectedly and that sent me down into a further spiral where I was angry with God and struggling to comprehend why these things could happen.

Luckily, when I came to Milwaukee I was able to meet some great people through TPOG and the WELS Campus Ministry. Through Bible Studies, conversations with Pastor and other staff, and regular church attendance I was able to start gaining a greater appreciation for what God has done and continues to do for me and to start becoming a more active participant in my faith life. One of my favorite bible studies I was involved in included a number of graduate students and some of the staff from TPOG. We would sit down once a week, usually for breakfast, and talk about a chapter of the Bible and how it related to our lives today. Discussions were awesome and I learned a great deal about myself and my fellow studiers.

In short, Milwaukee Area Campus Ministry provided an excellent opportunity for me to find myself and redefine my faith relationship with God. I am so grateful for the opportunities you helped to provide for me through your generous donations of time, talent, and treasure. While I moved from Milwaukee seven months ago, my passion for campus ministry has not ceased and I continue to support and help with True North Campus Ministry at Saint Cloud State University and surround St. Cloud schools.

Thank you again for all of your support and helping to make this possible!

Yours in Christ,
Adam Smith
TPOG Alum

Monday
Apr012013

Campus Ministry Impact - Charlie Hohenstein

Dear supporter of the Point of Grace campus ministry,

I would like to start off by offering you my deepest heartfelt thanks for the support you’ve given to the Point of Grace. The impact the Point has had on the lives of the students who attend is amazing to see. I’ve been going to the Point for just over five years now, and the growth I’ve seen in the people who have joined us in that time has been utterly amazing. I can’t speak for them, but I would like to share my own story with you.

I started going to the Point in February of ’08 when my work schedule went to third shift and I could no longer make it to Sunday morning services. I need to back up. I had somewhat recently moved out from my parents’ house and down to Milwaukee, and the only reason I was going to Sunday morning services was because my grandparents live in town and would buy me lunch afterwards. I went to St. John’s in Wauwatosa, and I was almost completely disengaged by the formal, traditional worship. I’ll concede that sometimes a good Christmas or Easter hymn really gets you going, but weekly services felt like a hassle and I would honestly rather be sleeping.

When I started working third shift, my grandparents suggested I try the Point because their service was more contemporary and there were more people my age, not to mention the night service wouldn’t get in the way of work. I thought to myself, “Whatever. Maybe I’ll meet a good Christian girl there. There’s no harm in trying one service.” So I went and checked it out. It seemed good enough, and they were looking for a drummer to help Mike lead the music of worship. My grandparents had called ahead and gave them the heads up to watch for me and that I was, in fact, a drummer. Long story short, Mike asked if I wanted to bring them over and play along the following week, and I shrugged and said ok.

In the time I’ve been playing drums at the Point, I’ve become much more enthusiastic about my faith, church attendance, how to play different styles of music while still being worshipful, and just all around being a Christian. I’ve grown so much and even in ways I don’t realize but others point out. The community of believers that go to the Point and interact with each other is really great for keeping people together, attached to the body of Christ, and showing each other that, in a sea of unbelievers, we are never alone; we have Christ and our church community to help get us through the tough times.

Those times do get tough, too. In the five years I’ve gone to the Point, I’ve enrolled in college at WLC, lost my dad to a freak heart attack, moved to a new city, been in and out of work and monetary stability, lost my grandpa, and dropped out of college again with even more instability, and that’s just off the top of my head! Words cannot express how much the community at the Point has helped me and been there for me in all these trials. If I would’ve fallen into religious apathy, like I was heading for before I started going to the Point, I would no doubt be in jail from some stupid, liquor-fueled act of desperation. Having that strong base of convictions and support network has been a literal life-saver!

I know the Point has done some drastic changes to their operations and are taking a bit of a new direction, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that we no longer need support. We may not have a building anymore, but we are still touching lives and eternities on campuses throughout the Milwaukee area. We still have functions that bring our church community together, and we still have bills and salaries to pay, and I can tell you first hand that college kids simply don’t have the resources to fund our mission.

Thank you for the support you’ve given us in the past, and please, keep up the good work you are doing to help us further God’s kingdom. Thank you.

- Charlie Hohenstein