We are grateful to have Michael Westendorf
share his gift of music with us
for our Saturday evening entertainment.
“Awake and Alive” is the heartbeat and prayer of this Milwaukee based WELS Christian recording artist, worship leader and conference speaker. Believing in the power of Psalm 89:1-2 to see God’s faithfulness made known through all generations, Mike’s prayer is that God would continue to wake us to who we are in Jesus, making us alive to living out the purposes and plans of God in our everyday lives. Married with three children, Mike is a meteorologist working with college students through Innovative Weather at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He has been a part of campus ministry through The Point of Grace and as the director of Awake and Alive, a Christian event for young adults in SE Wisconsin. A veteran song writer and worship leader for his home church of St. Paul’s Muskego, Mike is passionate about helping the local church thrive by sharing the joy of this journey in faith through worship and outreach concerts across the country since 2005.
Mike’s professional music interests are varied and deep, from the classically focused “He is Worthy” events that are centered on solos from Handel’s Messiah, to the full band concerts that may include saxaphone, violin, electric guitars and even bagpipes. At his core, Mike is a storyteller through music and the softer acoustic guitar is the form that you will most often encounter Mike and his team as will be the case at the Pathways Retreat.
Meet our Speakers:
Melanie is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and professor – and is rather tired, especially since no one ever listens to her. She spends her days at UW Oshkosh teaching students how to study, and she repeats herself over and over because her students don’t listen. She has a husband, two boys and a male dog, (but we like the dog because he listens) so is really, really looking forward to being in a room full of women. If you all have pink nail polish and some Barbies, it would be a huge bonus. She’s a member of Martin Luther Oshkosh, where she needs to get over everything she wrote here and focus on being a better listener…to what God has to say.
On Friday night Melanie Marine will begin with a focus on “The Art of Communication”. Melanie will share with us our need to really listen to what others are saying, how/when to respond in conversation and carry that over into developing listening skills for God’s message.
Natosha loves Jesus and loves working with students as they discover Jesus’ grace in their daily walk, worship Him with their lives, and share His glory at Manitowoc Lutheran High School, in the community, and throughout the world. She is married to Pastor Dan Cole and they have been blessed with 3 sons: Justin, Zach, and Micah. In her spare time when she is not doing ministry work, she loves to “dig deep” into God’s Word to learn truths that she can daily share with others that God purposely intends to cross her path. Her favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Her calling in life is to be a servant of the Lord, and to lead others to the message of reconciliation by sharing the love of Jesus Christ
On Saturday Natosha Cole will start us off with the first verse of “Speak O Lord”. She will focus on how to seek out God’s Word and let it grow in us. As God’s Word grows in us, it will be reflected in our words and actions. God’s light will shine through us.
Colleen Gunderson Oldenburg:
Colleen was born and raised on a grain and cattle farm in South Dakota during the 1940s through the 1960s. Her parents and their parents did not have much education past eighth grade with some not getting that far. Her education started in a one room public school with 1-8 grades and then driving seventeen miles to high school for four years. After graduating, she went one year to the University of Wyoming (with a ratio of 1 girl to every 4 boys). During summer break, her cousin encouraged her to visit DMLC in New Ulm, MN (with a ratio of 4 girls to every 1 boy). she transferred and the rest is history. She needed to pick up some religion credits during the next summer school and her future husband was also going to summer school to pick up some religion credits. They married, after she taught one year, and spent the rest of their current 50 years in Appleton, WI. They have five children with 10 grandchildren that are scattered in MN, CO, WI, and two live in Appleton.
In 1989 she went back to graduate school and received her master’s degree in K-12 school counseling. Her husband’s comment was “now you will get paid for what you have been doing.” She was a school counselor in the Appleton School District for 16 years. In all this she can say that God leads her on adventures whether she have packed her bag or not. Each morning is anew with His blessings. She just needs to open her eyes and be ready for the day. She thanks the Lord for helping her keep her perspective.
Colleen will be focusing on verse two. She will focus on ways God tests our faith to make it grow. We will learn how to obey the work God is doing in and through us.
Pastor Brad Wright:
Brad Wright grew up in Manistee, Michigan and is a thankful alumnus of Michigan Lutheran Seminary. After graduation from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS) in 1991, he spent 5 years as a parish pastor in Highlands Ranch Colorado (Abiding Word). For the past 22 years he has been the Vice Principal and instructor at Winnebago Lutheran Academy and head varsity wrestling coach. Brad and his wife Susan (a preschool teacher at St. Paul, North Fond du Lac and SCRIP Coordinator at Winnebago Lutheran Academy) have one married daughter, and two sons (all thankful graduates of WLA) who all now reside in Phoenix, Arizona. Therefore it can be concluded that Brad and Susan plan to retire in Phoenix someday.
Pastor Wright will focus on how the lessons taught in Scripture still apply to us today – they are unchanging lessons. We will embrace the way God would have us live our lives and not how the world feels God’s Word is no longer relevant in the 21st century.
On Sunday Pastor Leon Ehlert will share a Bible study with us and lead us in worship.