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Brothers in ministry

It was an exciting day for Joel and Karen Thomford. Not one, not two, but all three of their sons received assignments at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s call day on May 20.

Although Luke (30), Hans (28), and Orie (27) Thomford were born within three and a half years of each other, they all were eligible for assignment this year. Luke and Orie are 2021 seminary graduates, while Hans returned for an assignment after serving two years as a tutor at Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn.

“Because of a series of events that the Lord was in control of, they all ended up together,” says Joel Thomford, an admissions counselor at MLC.

Hans and his wife, Amelia; Orie; Luke; Karen; and Joel Thompson
The Thomford family (left to right): Hans and his wife, Amelia; Orie; Luke; Karen; and Joel.

Joel, who was a parish pastor for 31 years before serving at MLC, says that none of his sons knew from little on that they wanted to be a pastor. “But it’s a decision you need to make in life: Does the Lord want me to serve in the full-time ministry or does he want me to serve him as a layperson? They’re both important. That’s a conversation I had with them, and that’s a conversation I have with the students I meet today.”

He continues, “[My wife and I] just wanted our boys to grow up and know Jesus and die in the faith.”

But now that his sons are entering the ministry, Joel does have some advice for them: “Really get to know the people you serve. Love them! Take time to earn their trust.”

See full coverage of the 2021 Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary graduates.

Volume 108, Number 7
Issue: July 2021

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