The call to use God's gifts for others
Clint Mack during one of his deployments in Iraq.
Clint Mack heard God's call for him at a most unexpected time in his life: during one of two deployments in Iraq with the Minnesota Army National Guard.
He was listening to a sermon by Corey Bjertness, an ELCA chaplain, that reminded Clint of the story of Saul's conversion.
"That story was very important to me, and I actually felt like my eyes had been opened," the 25-year-old says. "Pastor Corey was there to answer the tough questions when I started to hear my call."
After returning from Iraq, Clint began his journey toward ordination, enrolling at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., to pursue a Master of Divinity degree. He plans to graduate from this ELCA seminary in May 2012.
Clint loves being a full-time student at Luther and immersing himself in his theological studies. He participates in the Student Council, supports the local food shelf and takes every opportunity to give support to new students.
"My faith is a quiet one," Clint says. "I like to think of myself as living a life of faith. I try to be the first person to help. I have a sense of being grounded and calm when things are the craziest that allows me to help others. I know this comes from God and I try to use this gift as best as possible."
Clint believes his experiences in Iraq will prepare him to help those facing death, pain and suffering.
"In Iraq, I felt the closeness to my own mortality -- the idea that at any given time we could no longer be here," he explains.
"I also think it will give me a chance to connect to a population of people (veterans) who might not feel like their local church understands them."
Clint feels God's presence most when saying the Lord's Prayer. "When I say it, shivers roll down my body and I just know that God is listening," he says, "Not only listening, though. God is actually with me while I say it."
Just as Clint hopes to be with those who are in need.
Editor's note: Since this story was published, Clint has found that his call from God has taken a different turn. He's now pursuing a degree in social work and trusts that his seminary training and military experience will be key ingredients in his ability to minister to those in his care.