Emily grew up attending Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, MN, until her family moved to Buffalo in 1991.
I attended Sunday school, was involved with the choir and went to Vacation Bible School. My fondest memory was that every Palm Sunday Pastor Foss would have us raise our palms high and shout “Hosanna!”
Emily was a teenager when they moved to Buffalo, and Zion became Emily’s home away from home. She was involved with VBS, youth group, Kairo singers, and mission trips.
When we moved to Buffalo, we joined Zion. A big part of why we joined was we felt welcomed by Pastor Blair. We came to visit and the next Sunday when we came back he knew all of our names.
Youth ministry is very important. At that age you have lots of questions in life and are trying to figure out who you are and what you want to do. Youth ministry lets you talk about these with peers your own age while growing in Christ. The youth ministry made a huge impact on me and has helped me become the person I am today.
Her parents, Jim and Audrey Onstad, are also members of Zion, and have been the biggest inspiration in Emily’s faith journey.
Growing up they brought me to Sunday school and church, had me sign up for choir and various activities. We prayed before every meal and at night before bedtime, and still do this to this day. As I got older, and was able to make my own decisions, I kept at this because it was an important part of my life and the values they had taught me. I am now passing the values they instilled in me on down to my own children, and hope they continue down a great faith journey. My parents are always there for me and no matter what, I know I can always count on them.
Sherri Larson was Zion’s youth director when Emily was a youth, and was also a big influence.
She had a great sense of humor, loved the Lord, and was a great role model. She was always there to answer any questions we had and never made you feel out of place.
What Emily enjoyed most about being a youth at Zion was the mission trips.
This was a highlight to my summer and I can remember each one to this day. My favorite one was the very first one Zion youth attended. We went to Sky Ranch, Colorado, and this is where I gave my life to Christ. Hiking up in the mountains, camping, and just plain having fun with peers and the chaperones that went. My dad was one of the chaperones that came on this trip and what a wonderful experience it was. I felt that he and I grew closer together with each other and through Christ.
Her favorite Bible verse is Psalm 118:24:
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
This is my favorite for two reasons. The first is that when my friend and former Wiggles and Giggles co-worker, Peggy, and I were having a bad day, we would always revert to this verse so we could make it into a good one. The second reason is that my great aunt, who lived to be 104, woke up every day saying this verse as part of her devotional.
Emily is now married to Jay and has two daughters, Anna Rose (9) and Lucy (7) who attend Tatanka. They have two cats, Boots and Mittens. Emily works at Kid’s Haven and Jay works at the Wright County Courthouse. Emily likes to go for walks, ride her bike, read, scrapbook, and do arts and crafts. As an adult at Zion, Emily is involved with Sunday school, VBS, Children and Family ministry team, prayer sister group, and attend Wednesday night suppers.
[Zion] is a great place where I feel very welcome and have met many people where we spent time outside of church together.