Celebrating the Holy Baptism of Concordia University Wisconsin student Kylie Nelson (’23) on the shores of Lake Michigan.

It’s always reason to rejoice when a student comes to faith during their time at Concordia. That certainly was the case Monday morning when Kylie Nelson was reborn in the Spirit through Holy Baptism surrounded by friends, loved ones, and her Concordia faith family.

When she first enrolled at Concordia University Ann Arbor, such an event would not have seemed to be in her future. But God had other ideas. This is how she found herself there, in her own words:

Getting baptized was something I thought about for a really long time. I was not raised with a faith, and in the end I’m really thankful for that because it allowed me to seek it out on my own.

Growing up I faced a lot of hardships (child abuse, the loss of a sibling) and I thought that if God really did exist, He wouldn’t have put me through so much pain. When my high school boyfriend, Logan, passed away in the fall of 2019 everything started to change. I found so much comfort in reading scripture and I spent a lot of my time doing just that.

He died on Halloween, hours after an exam in Pastor Ryan’s Thursday night Bible class. Every class after was a constant reminder, but Pastor Ryan went absolutely above and beyond for me. Learning about the Bible in his class truly changed my life. That’s how I knew I wanted him to be the one to baptize me.

At semester, I transferred from CUAA to CUW. I joined a new sports team and made so many friends, one of which, Katie, introduced me to her twin brother, Nick. Within a few months we started dating. This man brings me closer and closer to God every day; we have conversations about scripture and pray together every night.

Being baptized at age 20 isn’t exactly common, but at this stage in my life, a “fresh start” being reborn in the eyes of the Lord is exactly what I want!

Pastor Ryan has had such an impact on me and my faith, and his willingness to journey all the way here to baptize me is so special to me. I have chosen my parents’ close friends, Josh and Nicole Bryan, to be my Godparents because they have such a strong faith and I look up to them so much.

Growing up I did not understand that God has a plan for me, but I do now. And I’m so thankful for this journey He has me on.

The Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson, Concordia University Ann Arbor’s vice president of administration, officiated the baptism. Other Concordia staff, including Pastor Doug Bender, CUW’s associate campus pastor, have walked with Kylie through this journey. Pastor Joel Howard, senior pastor at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, was also present and glad to welcome Kylie into the family of God.

Peterson, who taught and mentored Kylie in Ann Arbor, and has kept in touch since she transferred to the Wisconsin campus, said he is proud of how Kylie has grown in her faith since he’s known her.

“Every student that God brings to our university matters to Him,” Peterson said. “It was my joy and privilege to walk with Kylie as a student in REL 100 and as a Concordia Cardinal. To see her faith mature as a Concordia Falcon has been incredible to witness, too!

“Through baptism, God is at work to forgive sins, to rescue from death and the devil, and to grant eternal life. God is at work in Kylie’s life through this incredible gift!”

Please share our joy in celebrating Kylie’s new life in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Concordia University Wisconsin has a wide variety of student ministries available on campus. Learn more at cuw.edu.

— This story is written by Mike Zimmerman, corporate communications manager for Concordia University Wisconsin. He may be reached at michael.zimmerman@cuw.edu or 262-243-4380.

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