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Women’s Retreat

A Letter from Paul and Courtney Mroczenski

Grace, mercy and peace be to you in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank you for your past, present and future support. Much has happened since Courtney and I left Colorado on May 16.

We spent most of the summer living with my parents in Wisconsin. In May, we unpacked (somewhat) and spent time with my family, especially our young nephew and goddaughter, who lived just down the road. In June, we visited Courtney’s grandparents near Lodi, California. We went wine tasting, visited San Francisco (touring Alcatraz and visiting Pier 39) and visited Calaveras Big Trees State Park (giant sequoias).

In mid-June, we attended the first of three summer weddings. In July, we attended two more weddings, we drove to Fort Wayne for Courtney’s job interviews, we spent time in Door County with Courtney’s relatives, we helped with VBS at my home church, we signed an apartment lease, Courtney accepted a job and we volunteered at Camp Luther for a week. We returned from Camp Luther on July 29, picked up a U-Haul on the 30th, packed the truck on the 31st and drove to our apartment in Fort Wayne on August 1. Two days later we drove to Knoxville for a four-day vacation with my family. After vacation, we enjoyed some much-needed rest in our very first “home”. We were blessed to be able to find an apartment very near campus with the amenities we wanted, and it is starting to look like a home now. We are so very thankful to be able to finally fully unpack and enjoy our own space.

Courtney began her new job as a social worker at Lutheran Hospital on August 15 and is still mostly training. I began working on campus in Public Safety on August 20. Last week we attended historic St. Paul’s Lutheran church, explored downtown Fort Wayne and attended a Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball game. I start classes on September 6, which I am greatly looking forward to, and I will be assigned a fieldwork congregation sometime in late September.

Courtney and I are incredibly excited to start our life here in Fort Wayne. God has brought us safe thus far, and we are only here because of his great mercy and countenance. We look forward to being His instruments in Fort Wayne and beyond, and seeing how His grace is at work in our lives in the next four years. I pray that this same grace and mercy of our Lord would be upon you all.

Please remember us in your prayers! Our new address here in Fort Wayne is:
5571 N Clinton St
Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Paul Mroczenski served as an intern at Saint John’s the summer of 2020. He is an incoming student at Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne.

A Letter from the Vanderhyde Family

Greetings in the beautiful name of Jesus, our brother, savior and Lord. God works all things for the good of those who love Him. Whether our time is peaceful or turbulent, God is working for our good because He is our Father, and we are called to be His sons and heirs. If for now we feel like a field getting dug into, having wounds opened and fresh fears exposed, if the plowers are plowing on our backs, making long furrows (Psalm 129:3), it is God preparing us to receive the seed of His Word and produce an abundant harvest.

Our family has arrived at a pleasant resting place over the course of the summer. After vacation in Colorado, we returned to our St. Louis home and began attending a new church, Epiphany, in South St. Louis. Benjamin joined the staff there and works in the areas of music and ministry, directing the choir, playing some organ, teaching Bible study and preaching occasionally. He has been composing music for the choir to sing Psalms to. We are excited to belong to a church family while Benjamin works on his PhD, and Benjamin thoroughly enjoys working with music again.

Benjamin is now fully accepted into doctoral studies at the seminary. He is in the History of Exegesis program, which covers the interpretation of the Bible—and, really, the theology in general—of the Christian Church from the Apostles to the Reformation. His focus is on the Fourth and Fifth Centuries, around the time of the first four Ecumenical Councils, including figures like Augustine of Hippo and John (Chrysostom) of Antioch. This summer he completed a video presentation for the seminary’s fall theological symposium on these two figures and their use of Scripture in preaching. All in all, Benjamin is excited to be still and work in this academic setting for the next two years. We anticipate a call in the spring of 2024.

We are due for our fourth child in mid-September. This will be the second newborn we welcome into our apartment on Alamo (Adelaide was just a month old when we first moved here). We are trying to keep busy with new (and old) seminary neighbors while we wait for baby to arrive. Among the new arrivals to campus are Jenna (Benjamin’s youngest sister) and her husband, Josh, who is starting seminary this fall. We’ve enjoyed playing board games with them here in this time before school starts up again.

We pray this letter finds you well, and we are confident that God is holding you in his loving care in every situation. God bless your work and endeavors with His favor.

Benjamin Vanderhyde served as an intern at Saint John’s the summer of 2017. He is a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. During his vicarage year, Ben and his wife, Grace, served the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trained up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them.

A Letter from the Vanderhyde Family

Greetings in the name of Jesus! As always, we thank God for your support of our family at the seminary. By his grace, I have completed the MDiv (pastoral degree) program and am accepted into the PhD program. God willing, we will carry on at the seminary for two more academic years before taking a call and entering the ministry. I will be in the History of Exegesis doctoral program, studying how the Christian teachers and fathers of the church of the first five ( or so) centuries AD read and interpreted the Bible. It will be a joy and a privilege to open up the spiritual wisdom contained in this important era of the church's history for the benefit of the church both here and abroad.

We are thrilled to be staying in St. Louis for a little longer. The area around the seminary is beautiful, and now that summer is here we can fully enjoy the green spaces, the walking paths and the zoo over at Forest Park. But the best part about being here is that we have family nearby. My brother, Daniel, his wife Jess and their five kids live on campus a short walk away. And this fall yet another Vanderhyde sibling will move on campus, my youngest sister Jenna, who is getting married this summer to a future seminarian. Larson, Hollen and Adelaide love spending time with their cousins and will have a blast with their Aunt Jenna and Uncle Josh. God willing, our three little ones will be joined by a fourth in September, as Grace is approaching her third trimester of pregnancy.

We're so grateful for your steadfast support and encouragement on our out-of-the-ordinary seminary journey. Most of all we thank God who watches over all of us and provides every necessity for us and for you, “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:3–4). God be with you as you live every day in the grace of his Son by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Benjamin Vanderhyde served as an intern at Saint John’s the summer of 2017. He is a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. During his vicarage year, Ben and his wife, Grace, served the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trained up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them.

A Letter from the Vanderhyde Family

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus, our light and our salvation. Much has changed since our last letter, but God remains faithful.

The fall was my most difficult semester yet at seminary, but finishing out the term also meant completing the entire MDiv program! Rather than taking a call right away, we decided to stay for at least one additional year of coursework as I pursue an STM degree, which will better qualify me to teach at the college or seminary level. I really value the further education as it will aid me to speak boldly and knowledgeably in my future ministry, whether that’s here in the states or overseas. I think this is one way God is preparing me to be a blessing to the next generation of pastors and church workers.

After the hectic finish to the fall semester, we enjoyed a long vacation in Colorado with family. Now we are all appreciating the flexibility of my being an STM student. Instead of fourteen or fifteen hours of class per week, I’m only taking six and the rest of the time can be given to reading, writing, tickling kids or building igloos.

Grace continues to give unfailing support to me in my studies as our three children (and one more on the way) occupy 350% of her attention, energy and patience. She is preparing to teach Larson at home this fall as he will be starting kindergarten. Currently, Larson is into writing, Robin Hood and the Lion King. Any scrap of paper that doesn’t get scribbled on and bound into a book or scroll gets pulverized by a small pair of scissors, skillfully wielded into “money.” Hollen is saying more and more that we can understand, and the days of our smiling and nodding seem pretty much over. She has staked her inalienable claim to the blue plate, bowl, cup and cutlery, and likes to help out by setting the table. Adelaide sleeps in the same room with her siblings now and likes to sit on the couch like a lady. She walks a lot, especially when looking for Mommy, or being chased by Daddy. Hollen and Larson love making her laugh.

We are so grateful to everyone who has offered prayers and support to us during our seminary and vicarage years. It is encouraging to be surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, and we pray that God would bless your witness, as you live and speak God’s word of life each and every day. To God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be all glory, honor and praise.

Benjamin Vanderhyde served as an intern at Saint John’s the summer of 2017. He is a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. During his vicarage year, Ben and his wife, Grace, served the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trained up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them.