In a lovely, 9 am service, Elkhorn Hills UMC recognized 12 High School graduates from six area schools on Sunday, May 17th.
The graduates included: Jonathan Barnes, John Beeson, Alec Carberry, Kerri Carleton, Sawyer Cooke, Karissa Heckens, Jason Meyer, Quinton Nietfeld, Mitchell Ragan, David Van Vleet, Jeremy Lumbard, and Jenna Wiebelhaus.
The High Schools these graduates represented include: Elkhorn High School, Elkhorn South High School, DC West High School, Millard North High School, Millard West High School, and Gretna High School.
Message from Youth Director Jenny Louis
I feel privileged to be able to honor our 2015 graduates today. Each year I look back at all they have accomplished in their faith journey and try to share a few words of wisdom with them as they continue their journey.
Each of the Seniors sitting here today has a new path before them. A path that may not always be as simple and straightforward as what they have planned, but with God leading them, they will find their way to Him and to where He wants them to be in their lives.
Take time to enjoy exactly where you are and with God leading you, the rest will come together for you.
As each of you heads off to pursue your dreams, please remember this scripture verse from Isaiah 30:21:
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Faith Journey Reflections
Every year Jenny asks the senior to reflect on their faith journey and how the church helped them. Here is a random assortment of those comments.
I want to thank my parents and grandparents for their support and motivation. They are wonderful, positive role models who put me on the right path in life. . . . My favorite memories through youth group will forever be the mission trips. The kids on that first mission trip welcomed me with open arms, and to this day I will always call the youth group my best friends and my second family. . . .
Jenny, Michele, Deanna, Kip, and all of the other adults involved have taught me so much and helped me to grow through Christ as I made my journey through both middle and high school. . . . Elkhorn Hills United Methodist Church has shown me what a loving, God-serving church is. Coming to church on Sunday mornings and being greeted by happy, smiling people makes coming to church enjoyable. Over the years, the church members have turned into my church family. . . .
It was through the church that I began to realize my passion for helping others and spreading the word of God. Whenever I go to a nursing home or the Christian Outreach Program of Elkhorn, I find myself realizing how much God has blessed me and how much I want to spread his message of kindness and goodwill onto others. . . . Thank you Elkhorn Hills for showing so much love and support. . . .
God has also blessed me by putting me into a home where I would see so many different walks of life, and personalities, under the guidance of such wonderful parents to teach me about what I was seeing. It’s allowed me to be truly accepting and understanding of those around me. That feels invaluable to me. . . . I know that God will be with me through every wild step, and that I can always find comfort and other Christians, no matter where I am. . . .
By some miracle, I decided to attend the senior high mission trip to Joplin, Missouri, and it changed my life. I cannot explain the impact that this mission trip had on my relationship with the Lord. The volunteer work, the worship, the message, the chaperones, and the members of the youth group all helped me realize how absolutely indescribable and loving the Lord is. . . . Church taught me how to love and be loved. . . .
The gospel sang by the most beautiful voices; voices of angels, became a melody stuck in my head. Pictures snapped by the best. Jokes told by the craziest. This church is absolutely the best. . . . You are the people who have made me stronger in my faith. . . . Looking back, church, and the wild family that came with it, has always been there when I needed it.
We pray for God’s blessings on each of our graduating seniors today and in their future endeavors.
John Beeson will be attending the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He will be majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Supply Chain Management.
Alec Carberry will be attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and majoring in business and marketing.
Kerri Carleton will be attending Iowa State University in the fall. Her plans are to major in Sociology and minor in Spanish. She would like to travel and do mission work.
Sawyer Cooke will be attending community college and pursuing his musical career in Nashville, TN.
Karissa Heckens will be attending Morningside College and will be double-majoring in Integrated Community Service and Spanish.
Jason Meyer will be attending UNO this Fall majoring in Civil Engineering.
Jenna Wiebelhaus will be attending Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri in the Pre-Occupational Therapy Program with a Major in Psychology.
Go with God: A Prayer for Graduates
Graduation marks a major milestone in life, a time when we celebrate accomplishments and transition to another phase. We hope these words of a benediction written by the Rev. Jay Moyers (pastor of Groveport United Methodist Church in Groveport, Ohio) offer guidance and encouragement to our graduates.
As your classes and grading are now complete, may you strive toward excellence in all you do.
As the speeches conclude, may your voices rise up to pronounce justice and peace in the world.
As the fanfares cease, may you sing of joy, even in the dark and lonely places.
As the applause quiets, may you celebrate and lift up those around you.
As you graduate, may your achievements grow and cause growth in your communities.
And may we all know of the overwhelming blessings of the One who created all things.
The families of high school juniors provided a wonderful, delicious breakfast for the graduates and their families prior to the service.
The United Methodist Men presented the graduates with pen sets as a reminder of their EHUMC church home as they enter the next stage of their lives.