As we celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week, Trinity is telling the stories of our students, families and alumni. These current and former families are illustrating first-hand why Trinity is a great place for a solid Christian education.
Two years ago, Trinity parents Anna and Adam Kuehnlein were facing one of the most difficult times of their life. However, the wide community of faith that they have experienced at Trinity has supported them and through that, they have found a place where their family can flourish.
After Anna’s dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, the family faced some enormous changes. For one, Anna’s parents would no longer be able to help care for her children while she worked. Without two incomes, the family faced a difficult decision to not enroll their daughter, Nora Grace, at Trinity for the 2018-19 school year.
“It was a very difficult decision and transition as I decided to leave my job in order to spend any time I had with my parents in an attempt to help them through this adversity. With that decision came a financial realignment for our family; the reality of not being able to continue our daughter’s education at Trinity hit us very hard,” said Anna.
With her husband, Anna visited local schools and finally decided on a public school near their home. She said that was a sad day, but little did she know it was about to get worse. Her father, weak from his chemotherapy, fell down the stairs at his home and broke his back.
“My mother, siblings and I were at the hospital when we hear a knock on the door of the room where we were waiting,” said Anna. She immediately feared the worst for her father. “The door opened and it was Pastor Gary, whom I had never met up until that point. He didn’t know me or my parents, yet he had found out what happened and came to the hospital to pray with us. He took time out of his day to be with us. To me, it was definitely God’s way of letting us know that everything was going to be okay and we were going to make it work.”
That is when the family recommitted themselves to finding a way to send their daughter to Trinity.
The Kuehnleins came to Trinity in 2017. They were looking for a kindergarten for their daughter, but found a church home, something they didn’t have before. Adam Kuehnlein grew up in Monroe, Mich., and attended a small Lutheran school in that area. Together, Adam and Anna wanted the same experience for their children. They were introduced to Trinity by their high school friends, Kristin and Chris Orlick, who also have a daughter at Trinity.
“We wanted to become closer to God and raise our children in the Christian faith, but we didn’t have a home to do so. Within minutes of stepping foot into Trinity, as we were greeted by smiling faces and genuinely caring people, we knew this was someplace that our family belonged,” said Anna.
Anna said her daughter thrived in the classroom and taught the family new things about faith and Jesus every day.
“Watching my daughter navigate through kindergarten, first grade and now second grade, guided by wonderful, patient and kind teachers, as well as the way that Mr. Petzold, Pastors Ken and Gary are so engaged with the students, is a beautiful sight,” said Anna. This year, Nora Grace was joined at Trinity by her sister, Jude. “She comes home from school on a daily basis excited to share with us what she learned about God and how it impacts our daily lives. It is a wonderful feeling, knowing that as parents we made the best choice possible for her education, our faith and our family.”
When they joined the school, they also took Life with Jesus class taught by Pastor Ken. Anna said so many of the things she learned in the class gave her comfort in their family’s time of need.
“I found myself reflecting on the words that Pastor Ken taught my husband and I in our Life with Jesus class. I did my best to look to God and pray for his help,” Anna said.
On Oct. 31, 2019, Anna’s father passed away after a three-year fight with cancer.
“The support we received from our family at Trinity during his time in hospice, as well as during and after his passing, was truly heart-warming. From the support from our daughters’ teachers, counselors and classmates to the constant love, prayer and communication from Pastor Gary,” said Anna.
Anna said one particular moment stands out in her mind and always will. She said Danielle Hammer, a teacher assistant at Trinity, took her by the hand and led her to the chapel one morning in the weeks after her dad’s death and prayed with Anna. At the time, Anna said she was terrified, scared, angry and felt alone.
“In that moment, her compassion, empathy and love lifted my fears, comforted my heart and wrapped God’s word and love around the entire situation,” said Anna. “I don’t know what we would be doing or where we would be without our Trinity community. I can say without a doubt that being introduced to Trinity; both the church and the school has been one of God’s greatest blessings in our life.”
If you know someone interested in a Lutheran education at Trinity's school or Early Childhood Center, let them know that our 2020 Open House will be held on Sunday, Feb. 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They have the opportunity to tour the school, see our classrooms and meet with teachers. For more information, call the school office at 586-468-8511.