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Mentors Practice Vocational Discernment In Preparation for the Institute!

Written by Adrienne Kuchler Eldridge

LT to RT: Sarah Runck, Adrienne Kuchler Eldridge (director), Bella Wizik, Ella Sutherland, Hannah Sackett (chaplain), Carson Vincent, Jasmyn Kendall, John Schwehn (chaplain). Not pictured: Grace Harrison (coordinator).
LT to RT:
Sarah Runck, Adrienne Kuchler Eldridge (director), Bella Wizik, Ella Sutherland, Hannah Sackett (chaplain), Carson Vincent, Jasmyn Kendall, John Schwehn (chaplain). Not pictured: Grace Harrison (coordinator).

One of the ways the Christensen Center for Vocation is engaging in vocational discernment with students is through the hiring and training of college mentors as facilitators for the annual Augsburg Youth Theology Institute. Mentors spend the spring semester discerning their own God given gifts, practicing small group facilitation, digging into theological texts with curiosity for how they might give us some insight into the questions we have about how to show up as neighbors in our own neighborhoods, churches, schools, and communities. 

This year’s mentors are engaged, curious, and determined to create a community of belonging for our participants. And that means focusing on their own development. They are practicing leading prayer, asking questions, developing their strengths, understanding their spiritual gifts, and digging into texts. Stay tuned for our upcoming social media introductions and highlights from the end of the month training retreat – follow up on Facebook or Instagram to learn more! 


Do you know high school students who would benefit from an experience like this? 

The CONFLUENCE is an experience that empowers young people to be curious about how their personal story, the world’s story, and God’s story flow together to create a loving and just world. In June of each year, we invite high school students to spend a week living on campus with our college mentors, building relationships and getting to know one another, exploring theology and discerning vocation through experiential learning opportunities. Our hope is for them to gain deeper insight into who they are and the life they want to live as children of God. This learning happens through many forms: academic inquiry in the classroom, community engaged learning, a variety of worship styles and spiritual practices. 

College mentors play an important role as facilitator and guide for the high school participants throughout the week as everyone leans into opportunities for vocational discernment. 

Applications are open until May 15th – will you JOIN US THIS SUMMER! 



Headshot of JasmynJasmyn Kendall (she/her/hers) 

  • First, Major/Minor: 3rd year Biochemistry major
  • Top 5 CliftonStrengths: Restorative, Learner, Achiever, Significance, Futuristic

Tell a story that was influential in your faith journey

I grew up going to church every Sunday, never really understanding it, just learnt the songs. After a couple years in Minnesota a lot of things changed for my family and my interest in learning and understanding the bible was triggered. I started going back to church to understand and live the gospel.


Headshot of SarahSarah Runck (She/Her/Hers)

  • Year/Major/Minor: 3rd year Music Therapy major, Psychology and Religion minors
  • Top 5 CliftonStrengths: Includer, Developer, Positivity, Maximizer, Input 

Tell a story that was influential in your faith journey.

Growing up, I only went to church because I had to and I never understood why my parents liked it so much. In fifth grade all that changed because we found out my dad had cancer. At the time, I didn’t really understand what was happening and all my parents would say was “Just pray. Everything will be okay”. I still did not understand. One night I started crying and just began talking to myself. It was a weird feeling but I felt a presence, like someone was there listening. A few weeks passed and 2-3 times a week I had to go to my dad’s dialysis after school. I would sit with him and we would talk. Those conversations stick with me today as they helped influence my faith because he was getting strong in his faith. After three years, my dad sadly passed away. It wasn’t until the night he passed that I truly found my faith. I cried for days and nights and got so angry at God. But as time passed I was comforted, supported, and given signs by God. Shortly after, the anger went away and the part of me that was missing was finally discovered. But it took losing something to gain something more. My life was forever changed. I was able to meet some mentors who helped me and changed my life. I started teaching religious education to children and young adults. I became actively involved in several churches and organizations. I was able to help people get through losses because I experienced it. I even had people reach out to me saying that my faith had inspired them. When I look back at my fifth grade self, never would I imagine me to be where I am right now. My faith is a big part of my everyday life and I am proud to be the person who I am today because of it.


Headshot of CarsonCarson Vincent (He/Him/They/Them) 

  • Year/Major/Minor: 3rd year Biochemistry and Religion major
  • Top 5 CliftonStrengths: Analytical, Strategic, Individualization, Connectedness, learner 

Tell a story that was influential in your faith journey.

Summer of 2022 I worked on weeklong staff at a bible camp. I worked as the waterfront coordinator. The experience of working at a bible camp was very transformative for me. I grew up attending bible camp every summer as a kid. I was always my happiest and most authentic self at bible camp. This rang true as a councilor. Being a part of such a charged faith space all summer really showed me that my call is to ministry. I’m currently planning on attending seminary after graduation, and working at a bible camp really solidified my plans to go into ministry.


Headshot of EllaElla Sutherland  (she/her/hers) 

  • First, Major/Minor: 2nd year Elementary Education major
  • Top 5 CliftonStrengths: Includer, restorative, Woo, Developer, and Futuristic

Tell a story that was influential in your faith journey.

Coming to Augsburg I was very introverted and shy. I did not enjoy public speaking. However, this year I wanted to take more risks and make more connections with people. Campus Ministries always hosts a block party in September. It sounded really fun so I decided to go. I tried to reach out more and talked to the pastors and the student deacons. They were very friendly and answered any questions that I had. Everyone was so friendly, it made me want to grow in my own faith and to regularly attend church and really become more involved on campus.


Headshot of Bella Bella Wizik (She/her/hers) 

  • First, Major/Minor: 1st year Film, Communications, and New Media major
  • Top 5 CliftonStrengths: Discipline, Includer, Responsibility, Focus, Restorative

Tell a story that was influential in your faith journey.

In middle school I used to tag along with my friend to her youth group outings. I wasn’t raised religious so each time I went it was a new and unique experience. One night after some bible study and small group discussion we went to Mcdonalds and paid for the cars order behind us. After that we went down to Canal Park which is on the edge of Lake Superior, and we handed out fresh red roses to those that were passing by. I remember seeing the smiles on peoples faces and the joy that we brought to them. Seeing this, and being a part of a group that had good intentions in our community was empowering and fulfilling. So I continued to attend youth group with her and some of my other friends, and after many more joyous experiences similar to the roses, I had no plans to stop.