Recently Director of Alumni and Church Relations Tim Puls visited the members of Grace Lutheran Church in Ventura, CA, to formally announce the establishment of the Yaspelkis Endowment, thanks to gifts from Andrew and Thea Nielsen. Andrew thanked the congregation by giving them his CTSFW Miles Christi award. Many were enthused how the Nielsens’ story intersected with not only Pastor Yaspelkis’ story, but with the Puls family and CTSFW stories as well.

After Tim’s father, the Rev. Art Puls, left CTS Springfield for his first call in the spring of 1962 to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Paula, CA, he also served a new mission start, Grace Lutheran Church in Ventura, which met at an Electrician’s Union Hall. One picture here includes Lyn and Judy Franklin who still remember Tim’s dad leading services for them for a year.

Then, in 1963, Pastor Yaspelkis left CTS Springfield for his first call at Grace Lutheran Church in Ventura, where he served for 46 years. Pastor Paul Koch (pictured with Dr. Nielsen and Tim), the present pastor of Grace Lutheran Church graduated from CSL, but was confirmed by Pastor Yaspelkis. In 1997 the Nielsens met Pastor Yaspelkis at Grace Lutheran Church when he retired from being a physician.

We thank God for Andrew and Thea Nielsen, Pastor Yaspelkis, Pastors Art and Tim Puls, and everyone dedicating their time, talent, and treasure to “Make Known His Deeds!” The generous heart and legacy of our donors paves the way for the Church leaders of tomorrow, so the next generation will have their own stories of blessed connections to share.

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