St. Croix Lutheran is unique to most schools in that a fourth of their enrollment (about 100 students) are international students and come from all corners of the world. St. Croix has a new dorm to accommodate housing for all these kids and those that come from the United States. Crown of Life members Chris Maki and Bev Abel are two of six dorm supervisors. Chris’s experience comes from years of teaching and coaching while Bev’s comes from years of parenting.
Chris Maki began his teaching ministry at St. Andrew’s Lutheran School in St. Paul Park where he taught almost every grade and learned about the challenges and rewards of teaching in a Lutheran school. After several years, Chris started coaching soccer at St. Croix and was offered a position to teach geometry and be a dorm supervisor. Along with this position came new challenges and rewards, especially as he shares God’s Word with students from all over the world.
Both Perry and Bev graduated from St. Croix Lutheran, as well as their children, so the St. Croix ministry is very close to their hearts. After retiring from Travelers, Bev joined the dorm supervising staff in 2015 as the girl’s supervisor. She enjoyed being a mom so much, she thought she could take on a dorm full of teenagers. Perry, although not a dorm supervisor, enjoys engaging with the students and can often be found at their games, concerts or photographing events. He continues to work in real estate and volunteer at Crown of Life.
Living in the dorms can be quite an experience for the students. They come from different cultures, eat different foods, they have to make new friends, and are an ocean away from family. However, no matter where they come from, they are still teenagers. Now, imagine having to supervise these teens. What makes the dorms successful is there are 6 adults to care for them, discipline, help with homework, bandage their injuries, encourage them, distribute their mail, go to their games, make sure they go to bed on time, and make sure their needs are met. Most supervisors teach which means they have to find time in their day to prepare for the classes, as well. This is called dedication.
What is also unique is St. Croix Middle School has International students who are housed in the dorm. This year there are 7 International and 1 American middle school students living in the dorm. Chris and Bev share in the responsibility of overseeing the Middle Schoolers, or affectionately called “Middles”.
To help create a family atmosphere, on Wednesday nights Bev cooks and serves a sit down, homemade meal in her apartment. This is a time where the dorm “Middles”, Chris, Bev and Perry sit down and have a family style meal, talk about the kids’ days, and what’s going on in their lives. Most Wednesdays, a special guest or two are invited. This has helped the kids with their conversational English, given them a sense of family away from their own, and strengthen the relationships between the kids and the supervisors.
Chris and Bev are very blessed to live and work in an environment where they get to share God’s Word. Continue to pray that the Lord bless their work of sharing the gospel with these students.
To learn more about the St. Croix Dorms visit: stcroixlutheran.org/dorm