The vision of Kingdom Prep Lutheran High School, in Wauwatosa, Wis., says it all: “Where young men develop their God-given gifts to lead in the home, serve in the church, engage in meaningful work, and transform the community.”
It’s not just a pretty saying to etch in the entryway of the school and to paste on the school’s website. Living out this vision is central to how Kingdom Prep operates. For example, one period each day is known as “Nehemiah hour.” Students identify a problem and ask the Lord how they are gifted to help in solving that problem. This becomes a self-directed project that can take many forms. For more than a year, some Kingdom Prep students have been spending Nehemiah hour—and many hours outside of school—helping Kingdom Prep’s neighbor Laura build a new garage.
Laura’s husband, Matthew, passed away from cancer two years ago. Before his death, Matthew rebuilt their home. He did not have time to also rebuild the garage. Seeing a neighbor in need, Kingdom Prep stepped in.
As Kevin Festerling, principal of Kingdom Prep, explains, “The Garage Project has introduced about 50 of our boys (9th and 10th graders) into a personal journey of demolition, design, local ordinances, building construction, gritty perseverance, community partnerships, and most important, empathy for those who are suffering and discovery of their ability to help.”
Along the way, Kingdom Prep has received support from neighbors and community businesses. In July, Kingdom Workers Construction joined the project.
“Kingdom Workers swooped in like Superman to help us,” says Festerling. “Their volunteers’ knowledge and skill have been so valuable. They also brought a really positive spiritual focus to our work this summer. Each morning we prayed and had a devotion before we began. Then during lunchtime, we did the same.”
Jeff Ulman, director of Kingdom Workers Construction, says that these moments when the volunteers and students can share fellowship are the best parts of the project. “It’s a blessing to listen in on the conversations and hear the talks on life that include challenges, encouragement, and gospel sharing.”
He also appreciates the sense of accomplishment that he sees after showing a student how to use a new tool. “You can just see their confidence grow and that they now have the sense that they can do this.”
The project, which began in August 2019, is nearing completion. Festerling looks back and is grateful for this opportunity. “The Garage Project fits so well with our work at Kingdom Prep. It gave faculty and students a common experience where we could work together to solve a problem. We often say, ‘Let’s work together to see how we can bless each other.’ Being able to also bless our neighbor made this a really cool project.”
Learn more about Kingdom Prep at kplhs.org.
Volume 107, Number 10
Issue: October 2020