The Other Side

Zion has been Emily Bengtson’s church home since birth, and this summer it is also her workplace as Zion’s first Children, Youth, and Family Intern.

My dad is a lifelong member at Zion.  He is the son of Len and Phyllis Bengtson.  My dad’s family has been part of the congregation since it began.

Emily was baptized at Zion in 1994 by Pastor John Folkerds, and confirmed at Zion in 2008. Her parents are Kirk and Angela Bengtson (also on staff at Zion as the Communications and Membership Secretary). She also has a brother, Trevor, (16), and a sister, Karin, (14).

Some of Emily’s earliest memories of Zion are from Sunday school, when preschool classes were held in the present-day bell room.

Some of the friends I made in those early Sunday school classes remain my closest friends today (shout out to Kirsten Olson and Katie Halvorson!).

Emily has been part of SONshine Choir, Joy Choir, and Youth Choir, and played handbells with Ring Forth, Class Ring, Joyful Ringers, and other pick-up bell choirs.

Though most of these memories seem to revolve around snacks and fun times with friends, my involvement in church choirs undoubtedly helped shaped my decision to pursue music education.

Emily is currently an instrumental music education major at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Music fills much of my time.  I play piano (thanks to years of lessons with Sherilyn Burgdorf), clarinet, handbells, and French horn (though I’ve only taken a semester’s-worth of lessons so far).  At Concordia, I play clarinet in both band and clarinet choir, and I am in the touring handbell choir, Tintinnabula.  In the fall, I plan to join the non-auditioned band, so I can continue with the French horn.

Aside from music, I am a lover of good books, thrift shopping, and getting together with family and friends.

Emily previously worked in Kelly Hanson’s law office during high school and last summer, and has two on-campus jobs at Concordia as an office worker in the English Department and a grader for two music theory professors. After a busy second year at Concordia, Emily was excited to return home for the summer, and already knew that she wanted to spend parts of her summer at Zion when she heard about the Children, Youth, and Family Internship.

 I knew that it could provide so many opportunities for me to grow in my faith while connecting with others at Zion in a new way.

Emily began her position as Summer Intern at Zion in mid-May. The first month of her time at Zion was almost exclusively devoted to Weird Animals VBS. A highlight of the week was seeing middle school students volunteering at VBS who had once been in her Sunday school class when she volunteered as a Sunday school shepherd.

Playing a role in planning VBS was a fantastic learning experience.  I was able to connect with so many others who were excited about God’s love and the incredible children’s ministry at work at Zion (though I didn’t quite learn the names of all 360+ kids and 200+ volunteers).

As part of the intern position, Emily will join the Senior High mission trip to Indianapolis.

High school trips continue to stand out as some of my favorite memories…ever, not just as memories from Zion.  I was fortunate to travel to Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming and Chicago, Illinois, for mission trips, as well as a local mission trip in 2011.  I also loved going to Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp in Colorado as a final trip following my graduation in 2012.  These trips brought me so much closer to friends from Zion and opened my eyes to God’s grace and love in different capacities around the country.

The rest of her summer will include adventures to Camp Wapo, working at Zion Day Camp as a counselor, and helping prepare for Homecoming Sunday in the fall.

The people I get to work with is by far the best part of working at Zion.  I am so fortunate to get to work with my mom, Sherilyn, and Myron, who have been incredible mentors in my life for years, and Kirsten, Kristin, and Marsha, who make everything three times as fun.  It’s also really cool for me to be on the other side of things.  I’ve been a staff kid for a long time, and I love that I now get to be part of the process.

Emily will return to Concordia College in the fall as a junior.