September 30, 2021

The 2021 National Lutherans For Life Essay Contest was a 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.” 

This year, the Texas state first place winners in both categories took home the national first place prizes as well! To top it off, the two winners are sisters!

The first place winner in the 9-12 grade division was Grace Ann Roth. Grace Ann is 15 years old and is in 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!

The first place winner in the 6-8 grade division was Emma Roth. 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.” Emma wrote that 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.