May 22, 2021

by Dr. Barbara Geistfeld

The 2021 National Lutherans For Life Essay Contest was another success! Lutheran students from across the nation wrote essays on the theme “God Chose You,” based on John 15:16: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” Texas students again participated and wrote some great essays!!

The First-Place winner in the 9th-12th grade division was Grace Ann Roth. (No photo available.)

Grace Ann is 15 years old and is entering her junior year of high school as a homeschooler. She is a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Elgin, Texas, where she is on the altar guild. Playing piano and violin are two of her favorite pastimes. Grace Ann is frequently in the kitchen, baking or cooking for the family. She especially enjoys reading, most recently completing The Lord of the Rings trilogy. She enjoys all sciences and plans to study nursing in college.

Grace Ann’s essay was entitled, “Destroying the Fruits of the Spirit and of the Womb.” She affirms that not only does abortion destroy a life intentionally created by God, but it also robs the child and the world of the fruits that person would bring to all of us. The conclusion of Grace Ann’s essay is a wonderful inspiration to all of us:

“Instead of dishonoring God and His Gifts to us, we should rejoice that He has chosen us to be His children and glorify His name by bearing fruit, not destroying it.”

Rejoice and bear fruit indeed! Thank you, Grace Ann!

Second place in the 9th-12th grade division was awarded to Greta Hamre. Greta is a freshman at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills, Texas, and is a member of Crown of Life Lutheran Church in Colleyville. She lives with her mom, dad, two sisters, and grandma. Greta is a part of the soccer and track teams at her school and is challenging herself by joining the cross-country team this coming year. She also enjoys participating in theatre, so she joined the fall show, The Slave of Duty. Greta enjoys trying new things and is enthusiastic about the future ahead of her.

Greta’s essay was entitled “A Loss of Words.” Greta’s grandma has Alzheimer’s disease and is “losing her mind.” Greta does a wonderful job explaining that God has a purpose for her grandma no matter what.

“God creates each and every person for a specific purpose no matter what their situation may be … I do not always understand, but God tasks me with respecting and loving her beyond mental boundaries.”

In her conclusion, Greta reminds us of the most important truth of all:

“My grandmother will continue to face the effects of Alzheimer’s throughout the rest of her life, but she can find great comfort in Jesus’ promise for her future … I can trust God’s plan for what happens after life.”

That truth is one we can all trust. Thank you, Greta!

First Place in the 6th-8th grade division was awarded to Emma Roth. (No photo available.)

Emma is 13 years old and is the second oldest of seven children. She attends Grace Lutheran Church in Elgin, Texas. She is homeschooled, is particularly fond of algebra, and is also a talented pianist and guitarist. As the craftiest person in her family, she enjoys crocheting, sewing, painting, and drawing. When she isn’t doing an art project, Emma can be found making her family laugh from jokes and puns. Most recently, she has tried her hand at gardening and eagerly awaits her first harvest.

Emma’s essay was entitled “Bearing Afflictions and Bearing Fruit: Hope for the Handicapped.” The theme verse “indicates that God made every individual for the purpose of bearing fruit, that is, spreading the gospel; handicapped people are not exempt from this command. Despite any personal obstacles, all people have gifts to share within the church.”

Her own Aunt Holly, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy, is proof that handicapped persons can still share the love of God. “Regardless of the fact that she cannot talk and can barely walk … as a confirmation gift last year, she gave me a wooden cross on which she colored with a crayon, ‘God is good.’”

Indeed He is! Thank you, Emma, for reminding us that everyone matters.

Second place in the 6th-8th grade division was awarded to Ella Thomas. Ella is 14 years old and will soon graduate from the eighth grade at Crown of Life Lutheran School in Colleyville, Texas. She plans to attend Keller High School in the fall. She lives with her parents and two younger sisters in Colleyville. Ella enjoys all subjects in school, but her favorite is math. She can often be found playing basketball and softball, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Ella truly grasped the theme “God Chose You.”

“God brought me into this world for a purpose. I know in my heart there is a reason for my life on earth. It is not just me; everyone on this earth has been chosen by God intentionally. This means we should value everyone’s lives, for God has a plan for us.”

Ella recently lost her grandpa and the pain of that loss “showed me to cherish and live my life to the glory of God because God chose me. My grandpa did this, others did this, and I need to do this because I am chosen by God.”

May each of us know deep in our hearts, just as Ella knows, that we are, indeed, chosen by God.

Dr. Barb Geistfeld is Life Team Leader at Trinity, Blanco, Texas, and Lutherans For Life Regional Director of Texas