Hannah Limbong, a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, is musical, leads well, has a willing spirit, and an infectious smile. As a first-year student in high school, Hannah was feeling a bit lost and wasn’t really sure about her purpose in life. She was searching.

Hannah became friends with Maddie Engelau through synod youth ministry events. Maddie attended the ELCA Youth Leadership Summit, and afterward, she shared with Hannah how transformative the experience was for her. Maddie shared that it strengthened her faith and got her more involved in the church.

When Pastor Dan Fugate invited Hannah as one of the two synod participants to the upcoming Summit, she was open to the experience and accepted the invitation because of what Maddie had shared with her. However, Hannah didn’t have any expectations that she would have the same experience as Maddie.

“Although it sounds like a cliché,” Hannah said, “attending the Summit really was life-changing. I felt the presence of God and how God is working through us and through our church. I’ve always been involved in our congregation, but never on this scale. I wasn’t aware of all the ways the ELCA is actively responding to things that are happening in the world.”

Hannah says seeing youth lead the Summit inspired her to know that she, too, could be a leader in the church. As a result of her experience at the Summit, Hannah applied to be part of the ELCA Youth Core Leadership Team, a group of high school leaders who plan each year’s Summit. Hannah was chosen to be part of the team for two years. “Being part of the Core Leadership Team changed the trajectory of my high school career and of my life really.” Hannah added, “Through this service, I learned a lot about myself. I learned what it means to be a servant leader.”

Hannah, now a senior in high school, says she has grown as a person and has picked up skills that will benefit her throughout her entire life. Hannah was elected at the 2021 IK Synod Assembly as a voting member to the 2022 Churchwide Assembly. “I can’t form the words to express how grateful I am for the experiences I have had. I am amazed at God’s miraculous work in small ways at the synod level, national level, and global level. I am grateful that in the ELCA youth are being listened to.”

Your gifts to the Indiana-Kentucky Synod make it possible for Hannah and other young people to participate in the ELCA Youth Leadership Summit as well as our Synod’s Youth Leadership Summit and other synodical youth ministries. As Hannah said, investing in young people can change the trajectory of their lives. Thank you for your generosity in making it possible to make a difference in the lives of young people in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod.