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United by a shared commonality

In many ways, Andy Liu is a typical senior at Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS), WELS’ preparatory school in Saginaw, Mich. He enjoys building things in STEM class. He participates in multiple sports, sings in the concert choir, and plays the organ. He also appreciates the spiritual encouragement of daily chapel services.

But in other ways, Andy is not a typical senior. Andy is from China, where he and his family cannot openly share their faith. Their church worships secretly in homes. And at the educational institution where Andy not only learned English but also the truths of Scripture, he and his classmates often had to hide their Bibles for fear of being shut down by the government. Through the uncertainty, his family put their trust in God: “We prayed, and we believed that whatever happens, it’s part of God’s plan,” Andy recalls. “Even if something bad would happen, God would use it as an opportunity to do good things.”

Andy’s road to MLS began early in his childhood. His father, who attended college in the U.S., wished for his children to not just get an American education—but an American Christian education. When Andy was in seventh grade, he and his classmates were introduced to WELS high schools in the Midwest. He was drawn to MLS because of its smaller size, knowing he could easily become involved in its wide variety of extracurriculars and ministry opportunities.

Even though Andy knew that MLS could be a great fit for him, there was one barrier: the cost. So he and his family prayed about it. “If it was God’s will, we knew he would take care of me and lead me down the right path,” says Andy. And God did. Andy’s extended family generously helped support the cost of his education. “That was really a blessing,” he recalls. “God answered our prayer.”

Andy Liu in choir and football
Andy Liu is part of the choir and plays football at Michigan Lutheran Seminary.

Being able to talk about their faith and attend daily chapel is a privilege that Andy and the other international students at MLS don’t take lightly. “In China, we can’t openly say we are Christians. Here we get to express we are Christians and what we believe. That just feels good,” says Andy.

The international students are a vital part of the fabric of MLS, making up about ten percent of its student body. Not only do they learn about American culture—they teach their American counterparts in tangible and intangible ways. Mark Luetzow, MLS president, explains: “It’s good for our American students to appreciate other cultures and see that the gospel does not have borders. It is for every race and every culture. We are reminded of that every single day at MLS.”

Andrew Naumann, international admissions counselor at MLS, agrees. “Our international students help all of our MLS students realize that color, nationality, customs, food, and the like do not unite us. Our simple need for law and gospel unites us,” he says. “Starting with that realization knocks down many cultural barriers and makes everyone realize a shared commonality: sinners in need of a Savior—the same Savior, Jesus.”

At this point, Andy hopes to attend college and remain in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. But even if that doesn’t happen—if God has a different path for his life—he trusts that God’s plan will always be good and that God will use him for the good of the kingdom.

Learn more about Michigan Lutheran Seminary in the February 2022 WELS Connection.

Volume 109, Number 02
Issue: February 2022

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