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Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) is a unique ministry-through-investment organization that offers Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod members the opportunity to invest their money, earn interest, and help build LCMS churches and schools at the same time.

LCEF - Central Region serves Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod organizations and members in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Learn more about LCEF at lcef.org.

 

Kristen Carlson Awarded Final MNS LCEF Scholarship

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[Kristen] is an excellent example of what we want for the next generation of church and world leaders that are willing to serve others because of the good news of Jesus Christ,” wrote Richard Heuton, Chairman of the Elders at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Austin, Minnesota.

Kristen is the final 2017 Minnesota South District (MNS) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winner. She is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Austin, Minnesota and is a current student at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. Kristen is majoring in communication studies, music and philosophy.

In his letter of recommendation for Kristen, Heuton described her active service at church throughout her high school years with the youth group, at Camp Omega — the Minnesota South District Christian camp — and on two mission trips. While at college, she continues to generously share her gift of music with the congregation by playing handbells and violin.

“While at Luther, Kristen has taken up many leadership roles including holding the role of Service Vice President in a service organization, Alpha Phi Omega - Mu Theta. She also sits on the Luther College Hearing Board that oversees student conduct charges, is a member of Launching Luther Leaders, and is a Resident Assistant of her dorm. She continues to excel in the area of music, primarily as a violinist, but is taking organ lessons in hopes of working for the Church later in life.

During the summer of 2016, she was a Lutheran camp counselor for middle/high school youth in remote Montana. Presently, she is traveling in Tanzania with a Luther College program that studies the effects of conservation, tourism, and missionary efforts on the native population of East Africa.

Kristen is very dedicated to all she endeavors, showing maturity, level-headedness, confidence, and humility, all while maintaining a sense of humor. She is especially strong in her faith, sees it as an identifying feature of her life, and is willing and ready to reach out and care for others,” wrote Heuton.

In a second letter of recommendation, Luther College Professor of Music, College Organist and Music Department Head Dr. Gregory Peterson wrote, “Kristen is a person of high intelligence and academic achievement. She is a student who is intellectually curious, and someone with a strong work ethic. Her interests are broad but she also goes deep.

She is a person who will make a difference in the world after she leaves Luther College, regardless of what discipline she ends up in. …Her life of faith is an important motivating factor, which she sees as transformative. Her contributions to the Church through worship, music, camping ministry and Bible study are representative of her Lutheran identity and sense of vocation.”

“As LCMS members, we must embrace faith’s transformative nature and join in God’s calling by investing into organizations such as LCEF that grow the greater Church body,” wrote Kristen in her scholarship essay. “…By taking on the same attitude that LCEF embraces, and extending the Lutheran tradition, one can continually be blessed in seeing the Gospel move beyond earthly boundaries to bring others into the truth and care of God’s love.”

LCEF is blessed to support faith-filled students like Kristen with these annual scholarship awards. Fifteen of the sixteen 2017 upper Midwest district LCEF scholarship winners have been announced. The one remaining Minnesota South District LCEF scholarship will be announced yet this week. Visit our newsfeed and Facebook page to read the scholars’ stories. The 2018 scholarship applications will be available beginning September 1, 2017.

For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

Amber Billings Awarded MNS LCEF Scholarship

“Bright, genuine, intelligent and funny, Amber Billings was the first student I met this August on my first day at Rosemount High School (RHS). Her demeanor and smile drew me in, while her accomplishments and sincerity have continued to impress me,” wrote RHS Counselor Carol Grzybowski.

Amber is the third of four 2017 Minnesota South District (MNS) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winners. She is a member of Messiah Lutheran Church, Lakeville, Minnesota and will graduate from RHS, Rosemount, Minnesota, this spring. In the fall, Amber plans to attend Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

“Academically, Amber has an unblemished, unweighted 4.0 GPA. She has taken honors and coursework throughout high school,” continued Grzbowski. “Outside of the classroom, Amber has a full schedule. Spiritually, she is a leader in her youth group and participates weekly. In her community, Amber volunteers 12-18 hours a week as a Homework Help volunteer and at a local hospital working with infants. As a RHS band member, Amber has chosen to participate in our nationally recognized, and awarded, Marching Band. Squad Leader for the Color to Guard, she spends hundreds of hours during the summer, after school and many weekends during the and winter, competing or practicing.

…I do believe her impressive intelligence allows her to tackle more than others in her peer group. Amber is very smart - even passing the AP Biology College Board exam without taking the class. …I have no doubt that Amber will be answering to "Dr. Billings" very soon!”

In her scholarship essay, Amber wrote,

“As a member of a church who has used LCEF’s services as a way to fund renovations, I have witnessed first-hand the blessing of this wonderful program. Personally, I have been provided with opportunities to take advantage of LCEF’s services as well through the savings stamp program. This program taught me essential skills about how to save money. I still have money in an account through LCEF and plan to use this money to help pay for my college education.

After completing my college education, I plan to continue on to medical school to become a Pediatric Hospitalist. I look forward to spreading the love of Jesus Christ through my actions when I treat patients. My experiences in church youth group and on mission trips taught me that even the simplest actions as a doctor may show Jesus’ love and thus bring them to Christ.”

“Amber is not one to stand by and watch. She wants to be involved and likes to get her feet wet and her hands dirty,” wrote Messiah’s Director of Christian Education Andy Frerich. “Amber is very committed to growing in the Lord and continually trying to better herself as a person. Her involvement in church, school, and community shows a willing spirit, which Amber has.”

LCEF is blessed to support faith-filled students like Amber with these annual scholarship awards. There are additional North Wisconsin and Minnesota South Districts LCEF scholarships yet to be announced this spring. Follow our newsfeed and Facebook page for the most recent award announcements.

For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

Concordia Academy’s Adam Maser Awarded MNS LCEF Scholarship

Adam Maser is the second of four 2017 Minnesota South District (MNS) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winners. Adam is a member of King of Kings Lutheran Church, Roseville, Minnesota and will graduate from Concordia Academy (CA), Roseville, this spring. He plans to attend Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa in the fall and pursue a degree in computer engineering.

In her letter of recommendation for Adam, CA Director of Guidance & Academics Kelly Mack wrote, 

“As a student, Adam has proven himself to be an incredibly hard worker no matter what task is in front of him. He has been able to find joy in what he does whether it is studying an Edgar Allan Poe poem or solving complex math problems.

He naturally invites others into conversation and participation and leads discussions and group work with humility and inclusion. I have seen Adam work with students of different backgrounds and abilities as him and he has not only supported others in their learning, but has done it with incredible grace.

His authenticity as a leader is also easily noted in his leadership in athletics. Despite some injuries this school year, he has continued to lead his team by encouraging his peers to participate with an eye on the big picture of how God uses all circumstances to draw us closer to Him. His character is authentic and his leadership respected because he models the faith in which he proclaims.”

“As a member of the LCMS church, I fully support the evangelical aspect of our faith, and that is what makes LCEF so appealing to me,” Adam wrote in his scholarship essay. “With every dollar that I invest, I know that LCEF is using it to affect the lives of LCMS churches and organizations everywhere, increasing the effect we have on our communities.”

In his letter of recommendation for Adam, Rev. Steven Bielenberg wrote,

“Adam commits himself to each goal he sets, whether it is his academic life at Concordia Academy, athletics (he plays football, basketball, baseball), or extra-curricular activities like the Prayer Team, Student Ambassadors, Weekly Bible Study co-leader, and the National Honor Society. Adam also works here assisting our custodian at King of Kings.”

LCEF is blessed to support faith-filled students like Adam with these annual scholarship awards. There are more North Wisconsin and Minnesota South Districts LCEF scholarships yet to be announced this spring. Follow our newsfeed and Facebook page for the most recent award announcements.

For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

2017 MNS LCEF Outreach Event Grants Announced!

A 2016 MNS LCEF outreach grant helped fund this National Night Out block party hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota last summer. Pictured is local law enforcement interacting with the community; more than 250 people attended the event. Several people from the neighborhood met their own neighbors for the first time, and many of them commented on how much they appreciated Trinity’s special invitation to the event.

A 2016 MNS LCEF outreach grant helped fund this National Night Out block party hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota last summer. Pictured is local law enforcement interacting with the community; more than 250 people attended the event. Several people from the neighborhood met their own neighbors for the first time, and many of them commented on how much they appreciated Trinity’s special invitation to the event.

Five Minnesota South (MNS) District ministries will receive $1,000 each from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) to help provide funds for outreach events:

  1. POBLO International Friendship Center, Rochester, Minnesota

    • Host a Christmas/New Year’s outreach event for neighbors who come from many religious backgrounds, including atheism, Buddhism, and Islam; some of whom have never had Christian friends or heard the message of Jesus’ love.

  2. Rose of Sharon Lutheran Church, Cottage Grove, Minnesota

    • Host a community open house event to invite local families to the church and tour the new Christian Child Care Center. The center will be the only faith-based child care center in the community.

  3. St. Paul Lutheran Church, Pipestone, Minnesota

    • Host a “Thank You Lunch” for local police officers, fire fighters, EMT workers and National Guard members, plus an outreach event to Jamaica to conduct acts of mercy in conjunction with the church’s 125th Anniversary.

  4. St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fulda, Minnesota

    • Host "Praise in the Park,” an event that includes outdoor worship, vintage farm and auto display, and a community meal on the last Sunday in July.

  5. University Lutheran Chapel, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    • Provide bilingual Bibles in Arabic, Chinese, Somali, Farsi, Russian, Korean (and others as the need arises) for University of Minnesota international students attending the weekly Bible study.

Special thanks to all MNS District Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) investors and our Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) loan partners for their support. Based upon another LCEF strong fiscal year end, this nonprofit ministry of the LCMS was able to award grant funds with a portion of its year-end operating results.  It is a blessing to put funds right back into mission and ministry at the local level via these grants.

Online grant applications are accepted at lcefuppermidwest.org beginning in September. All LCMS Minnesota South District organizations are encouraged to apply.

For more information on how to become a Lutheran Church Extension Fund investor to support ministry via affordable loans, support and more, visit our national website at lcef.org.

Jerusalem's Journey from Ethiopia to America

­­­Jerusalem came to the United States as a young girl with her mother and siblings in 2011 from Ethiopia. Her father had arrived five years earlier and worked several jobs to prepare for his family to join him in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

“I began school as soon as I arrived,” wrote Jerusalem. “Upon starting school, I was anxious, scared, and perplexed. The words that came out of people’s mouth were puzzling. I did not conversate when people talked and I became shy as well as frightened because of language barrier.”

Jerusalem Tadesse not only overcame the language barrier coming to the United States, she has excelled academically and socially. She credits the support of her church family at Jehovah Lutheran Church in Saint Paul as an integral part of her success.

Jerusalem is also the first of four 2017 Minnesota South District (MNS) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winners. Jerusalem will graduate from Humboldt High School, Saint Paul this spring and pursue a college education.

In her scholarship essay, Jerusalem wrote,

“When I went to church on Sundays, I slowly learned to open up. The Bible study I was part of was mostly taught in English and that helped me get comfortable with the language. I am glad and appreciative to have been included at Jehovah Lutheran Church’s Bible study. I felt like I was myself because everyone there was friendly and welcoming. Overall, church helped me gain confidence and find myself.

Moreover, I used to sing and read the bible to the congregation with youth group back in Ethiopia. When I moved to the United States, I was afraid that I was not going to have a close bond with God as I used to however, the fear did not come true. The Bible study at my church kept me closer and faithful to God. Furthermore, if it is God’s plan, I will be the 1st generation in my family to attend college.”

In her letter of recommendation for Jerusalem, Humboldt H.S. Algebra Teacher Rachel Baker wrote about Jerusalem’s academic success despite a rigorous course load and the challenge of English as a second language. Jerusalem also speaks Amaharic and Hadigna. Baker also wrote,

“Jerusalem is an excellent candidate to receive this scholarship. She works hard every day in academics and various extracurricular activities. Most importantly, she is one of the kindest, understanding, patient, and helpful students I have ever had. Jerusalem has blossomed into a natural helper, collaborator, and lover of learning.  She genuinely cares for, and thinks about, others more than herself.

Jerusalem has taken advanced and college level classes all throughout high school. Jerusalem has participated and volunteered in a variety of programs at school and in the community. 

The most impressive thing I saw her do was present with a team of eight students in front of an audience of over 100 people at the University of Minnesota about a clinic they designed. Their team won first place!

After college, I see Jerusalem returning to the community and actively engaging as a strong role model. Jerusalem comes from a school and community that is in high need of positive and experienced young leaders. With the right educational experiences, she has the potential to impact many. She possesses a unique blend of integrity, perseverance, work ethic, and rigorous academic achievement.”

LCEF is blessed to support faith-filled students such as Jerusalem with these annual scholarship awards. There are several remaining upper Midwest districts’ LCEF scholarships yet to be announced this spring. Follow our newsfeed and Facebook page for the most recent award announcements.

For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

Growing Congregation Completes Construction

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Preschool has been growing significantly in recent years; the congregation is nearing a total of 800 members. The ministry is located in Owatonna, Minnesota, serving an immediate community of 25,600 with a median age of 37 years old. The congregation’s vision is a testament to their love for God’s people in their area: “We will prepare people to serve in our community and world, so more can find a meaningful relationship with Jesus.” Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) has been blessed to partner with this ministry by helping fund its expansion over the years.

To better serve their members and community, Good Shepherd embarked on several years of construction. They celebrated a ground breaking in February 2009 with their sights set on adding a sanctuary, social hall and more. The congregation celebrated the dedication of the new space in September 2009. While the initial construction moved rapidly, the congregation had to persevere. There were a few remaining projects; the finishing touches were finally completed by fall 2016. Last year, Good Shepherd completed work on several areas including a new coffee bar and a glass wall between the sanctuary and narthex. 

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church LCEF Advocate Paul Enter (left) and Rev. Mark Rosenau receive an LCEF Shared Blessings Loan Rebate check on behalf of their congregation Oct. 2, 2016.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church LCEF Advocate Paul Enter (left) and Rev. Mark Rosenau receive an LCEF Shared Blessings Loan Rebate check on behalf of their congregation Oct. 2, 2016.

On October 2, 2016, Good Shepherd celebrated an LCEF Sunday and received their annual rebate check. The congregation is eligible for an LCEF Shared Blessings loan rebate. The more members who are LCEF investors, the higher their rebate amount based upon total congregation membership each year.

LCEF has also supported this congregation in the past with a Minnesota South (MNS) District LCEF Outreach Event Grant. Members started a backpack program to provide food for school children in need on the weekends throughout the school year. MNS District LCEF is offering five $1,000 outreach event grants again this year. To apply, visit lcefuppermidwest.org, click on the ‘resources’ tab. The deadline to register for 2017 grants is February 28, 2017.

For more information on LCEF loans, investments and ministry support, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

Congregation Received Loan Rebate

Pastor Paul Biebighauser prepared for a Sunday morning Bible Study at Christ Victorious Lutheran Church in Chaska, Minn.

Pastor Paul Biebighauser prepared for a Sunday morning Bible Study at Christ Victorious Lutheran Church in Chaska, Minn.

Christ Victorious Lutheran Church in Chaska, Minnesota received a Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) loan to build their original church. Throughout the years, this growing congregation of nearly 900 members has added an education wing, Christian early childhood center and a larger sanctuary.

This year, Christ Victorious was eligible for the top level of its Shared Blessings Loan Rebate. The congregation received nearly $9,000 during its LCEF Sunday on September 25, 2016.

Pastor Paul Biebighauser and Christ Victorious LCEF Advocate Carolyn Wetzel with the congregation’s Shared Blessings Loan Rebate check of nearly $9,000. Christ Victorious hosted an LCEF Sunday on Sept. 25, 2016. The congregation is eligible for these funds based upon LCEF investor support.

Pastor Paul Biebighauser and Christ Victorious LCEF Advocate Carolyn Wetzel with the congregation’s Shared Blessings Loan Rebate check of nearly $9,000. Christ Victorious hosted an LCEF Sunday on Sept. 25, 2016. The congregation is eligible for these funds based upon LCEF investor support.

As a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS)-based financial institution, LCEF provides loan funding to LCMS churches, schools and rostered church workers. When a congregation is eligible for a loan rebate, the annual rebate amount is based upon investor support.

Many adults support Christ Victorious with their LCEF investments in addition to more than 75 Young Investors (Y.I.) Club members.

As LCMS congregations continue to need funding, the need for LCEF investor support increases. If you’re interested in supporting a congregation with your LCEF investment, please contact an LCEF information representative at 800-843-5233. LCEF investments help the LCMS fulfill the Great Commission.

Christ Victorious’ original sanctuary was center, the education wing is right and the current sanctuary is left.

Christ Victorious’ original sanctuary was center, the education wing is right and the current sanctuary is left.

Truth or Treat a Huge Success!

MLHS students in Northrop, Minn. helped attach a Christian greeting card and invitation to their school to blinking lights. They gave nearly 1,400 of the lights away to trick-or-treaters at their Truth or Treat! event in Fairmont, Minn. on Oct. 31, 2016.

MLHS students in Northrop, Minn. helped attach a Christian greeting card and invitation to their school to blinking lights. They gave nearly 1,400 of the lights away to trick-or-treaters at their Truth or Treat! event in Fairmont, Minn. on Oct. 31, 2016.

Nearly 1,400 children and adults received Martin Luther High School blinking buttons in just over three hours on October 31, 2016 in Fairmont, Minnesota. The lights were very popular with kids and parents alike, according to MLHS Director of Development, Marge Thiesse. The school is located in Northrop, Minn., a rural community just north of Fairmont.

"MLHS students enjoyed interacting with the trick-or-treaters," wrote Thiesse. "Thank you LCEF for funding this project. We hope that in some way we were able to make an impression on the community. It was a very fun and rewarding experience for everyone-givers and receivers!"

MLHS was the recipient of a $1,000 Minnesota South (MNS) District Lutheran Church Extension Fund outreach event grant. Attached to the blinking buttons were informational cards and invitations to the school. 

Applications for MNS District LCEF outreach event grants are now available. Click here for more information and to apply.