Twist and turns lead to a new home
When the Rev. Matthew Wietfeldt was growing up in Fort Wayne, Ind., he knew he would someday be a church worker. Much of his extended family was made up of church workers, after all, and he had a close relationship with his pastors.
After 9/11, however, Wietfeldt turned his attention to a different endeavor. He instead wanted to enter the military. After participating in his Lutheran school’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, he was all set to look at colleges and plan his next move.
“I was trying to figure out life and was talking to my close, trusted friends,” Wietfeldt recalled. “They asked if I’d considered the Concordias. So, I decided to go to Concordia University Chicago, but not in the church work program. I was majoring in political science.”
It wasn’t long before his well-laid plans took another turn.
“I got on campus and soon after I bumped into the pre-seminary director, Rev. Brian Moseman,” Wietfeldt said. “He said, ‘Hey! You’re Matt Wietfeldt and you should be in the pre-sem program. Let’s just go change your major right now.’ So, he walked me down to the office and we did it, we changed my major. I’ve never regretted it. I felt like it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing.”
No time to unwind
Years later, now a 2011 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne (CTSFW), Wietfeldt is back in his hometown serving as the seminary’s assistant vice president of admissions. He’s also a husband to Jenna and father of seven young children, including two sets of twins.
“When we moved to Fort Wayne, we were a family of five and the seminary’s on-campus housing, which is fantastic, felt huge to us,” Wietfeldt said. “But then we added four more kids and the house suddenly felt really small. As the Lord has given us more and more kids, the parsonage situation was not as conducive to our sanity as we were hoping for.”
“We just ran out of space,” he added. “We had enough bedrooms and outdoor space, but for our day-to-day sanity, we were spending an exorbitant amount of time in the evenings cleaning up kids’ stuff and toys and we were never able to unwind at the end of the day.”
Another twist in the journey
Wietfeldt and his wife would talk about moving off campus and buying a home someday. But they didn’t have any plans to make it happen anytime soon.
Then came another twist in the story.
“We weren’t actually looking for a house, but then all of a sudden Jenna and I saw this house on Zillow,” Wietfeldt said. “The thing was, though, we didn’t even have an idea of the square footage that we’d need. But we saw this house – separately – and knew we had to take a look.”
On the Fourth of July, the Wietfeldts called up their local Lutheran realtor who did a lot of work with the seminary. They toured the house that had so unexpectedly popped into their lives.
“When we walked into the house we thought, ‘This is it,’” said Wietfedlt. “It’s a little over 3,000 square feet, but the having multiple levels and more space separating us from the kids, but not too much space, would be great. Our seminary house was a ranch home, so we were all together, all in the same room, with nearly no time away from each other. In the new home we wouldn’t feel like we’re living on top of each other all the time.”
Wheels in motion
By the time Wietfeldt was off representing CTSFW at the LCMS Youth Gathering (YG) in Houston in 2022, the wheels on his new home purchase were already turning.
Wietfeldt thought of Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) right away since his children already had Young Investor (Y.I.) StewardAccounts® with LCEF. Plus, Wietfeldt kept in touch with the LCEF district vice president from his first parish in southern Illinois.
“We never even looked at anyone else for a loan,” he said. “We thought if we didn’t work with them we might not even pursue the loan because if LCEF can’t do it, we’ll probably just have to wait. Well, we didn’t have to wait because LCEF came through with a great interest rate and took care of us completely. It was no surprise; I knew we’d be taken care of. I knew they’d take care of my family the way I want to take care of my family.”
-Rev. Matthew Wietfeldt
The less stress, the better
“It was such an easy process that while I was at the Youth Gathering, we were getting things lined up with LCEF,” said Wietfeldt. “I got home, and the offer had been accepted. It was really cool because this new house had really good bones. Plus, it was built in 1984, the same year I was ‘built!’”
The Wietfeldts had gone from barely window shopping in July to closing on their new home at the end of August, and they couldn’t be happier.
“[This new home] has given us the ability to spread out, to be able to really clear our minds and not live on top of each other,” explained Wietfeldt. “It’s resulted in less stress in our household, and as a big family, the less stress, the better it is for us. When I’m at work and Jenna is at home, I know that while the day-to-day may still be a little chaotic, my family has the space they need. That is one less stressor, and now even my own work is more focused because of it.”
Not only that, but Wietfeldt appreciates how LCEF’s ministry of caring for church workers has led to his being able to better care for other church workers in turn.
“I’m in the business of finding men and women for ministry, so having one of my cares and concerns alleviated by LCEF, that’s huge,” Wietfeldt mentioned.
Consistency amidst chaos
While the Wietfeldts’ new home helps bring a bit more calm to the sometimes chaotic life of a large family, Wietfeldt also can’t help but share how LCEF also carries some much-needed consistency to the lives of Lutheran church workers.
“As I talk to seminarians, I recommend LCEF to them for the sheer fact that, in these unstable times, our investments help in the Lord’s work of sharing the Gospel and furthering the Church’s work,” he said. “LCEF just has this consistency in identity in who they are and who they’re a part of. We all
know where our money is going and know they are doing good things with our money. I trust them, and appreciate that we all believe, teach, and confess the same thing. It helps ease the minds of church workers during these uncertain times, so thanks be to God. It’s all for the proclamation of the Gospel, and it helps those who are the proclaimers of the Gospel.”