Wanda Pritzel, Director of Development, has been an integral part of the Lutheran Family Service (LFS) ministry efforts since 1988. Her expertise, passion, faith, and heart for sharing the love of Jesus with others is evident in every encounter, visit, and conversation. On February 15, 2018, Wanda celebrates 30 years of service with LFS. We are incredibly grateful for her unwavering dedication to serving our Lord. In Wanda’s honor, we invite you to join in her efforts to fund the life-changing work of LFS by making a $30 donation today (one dollar for every year of her service) by clicking here.
1. How has the Lutheran Family Service (LFS) ministry both stayed the same and changed over the last 30 years?
Much has changed in the last 30 years. Two big things stand out, as I think back to how it was when I first started here.
First, in 1988, young women who were pregnant and didn’t know what to do were often determined to have an abortion, but their parents would not support that plan. Today, with all we know about the amazing uniquely human life that is there from the moment of fertilization, so many young women are intent on keeping their unplanned baby, and it’s their parents who are more likely to push them toward abortion. This is a generational shift, consistent with the research showing that young people are more pro-life today than at any point since abortion became legally available in the early 70’s.
Second, I see two huge influences that disrupt marriages and families, way more so now than 30 years ago: busy schedules and technology. Families are so over-scheduled and involved in screen-time that they no longer take time to eat, talk, pray or simply spend time together without the interruption of another activity or a phone call, tweet or Facebook post to pull them away. We’ve helped many to change that, and change is possible, but it takes work and constant attention.
The LFS ministry has stayed the same in some fundamentally important ways. We continue to be a strong voice for the unborn who can’t yet speak for themselves. We continue to bring high-quality, professional counseling to those in need, and to be conduits of God’s grace and love wherever we can. We continue to believe that God’s plan for how life is best-lived is shared in His Word. We continue to provide a way for Lutheran Christians here in Iowa to act on what they believe by partnering with us in this work. We have opportunities every day to meet with people who are in need of someone to care for and reach to them. We can do that on behalf of the church and those who support our work. Even though the kind of problems we deal with will always change, I don’t see any of these things changing.
2. What roles have you held over the last 30 years within LFS?
I started out as a counselor, seeing families in Fort Dodge primarily, and over the years serving through satellite offices in Algona, Storm Lake, Des Moines, and Iowa Falls. I also had the privilege of working in both pregnancy counseling and adoption for many years. Then for awhile as Director of Counseling, Director of Operations, Interim Executive Director for two years, and now Director of Development.
3. What’s one of the best memories or stories that you would like to share?
There are many, many “best stories” that have to do with counseling, seeing God heal marriages that were destined for divorce, conflicted relationships between parents and children, and individuals suffering from painful life events. Also to watch Him make something beautiful out of hopelessness and pain by joining two families together through adoption and their mutual love for a little one. These are memories that I will cherish forever.
However, today, one of the things I enjoy most is something that happened again just last night: I was in the home of one of our supporters whom I had never met, and listened as they told me their story of why they support LFS. It’s because one of our counselors was there during a time of great need for their own family years ago. And now they can help LFS serve others that need the same kind of help.
4. What do you most enjoy about working for the LFS ministry and in your current role?
The chance every day to live our mission, and to connect others to our mission – which is to walk with someone who is having a hard time, and to be there for them, just as God has been there for us. We do important, life-changing work every day throughout Iowa (and beyond), but are still a small enough organization that it’s easy for people to see the impact their dollars make. They can see how their gifts are actually used to serve someone in need, right now, instead of their gift getting lost in a big bureaucratic system.
5. What are ways for others to get involved with and be a part of the LFS ministry?
We could use your prayers for our mental health and pregnancy and adoption counselors, as it can be overwhelming and difficult work. We could use your prayers for those we serve who are experiencing such desperate, difficult times. It may be a recent death or traumatic experience, an unplanned pregnancy, infertility, a crumbling marriage, or pain from a childhood experience they have been carrying alone for years. Even though you don’t know them by name, God does, and your prayers are heard and make a difference.
We could use your financial support, as many services are provided on an ability to pay basis, and we don’t intend to turn anyone away. Some services, such as pregnancy counseling, are always provided at no cost. I love it when we have the chance to tell our clients why we are able to help them at a cost they can afford, and that is because of many Christian people who care about them and want to help.
One of the best way to get involved with and stay informed about LFS’ ministry is to become a “Friend-in-Deed”, joining hundreds of others who make monthly or quarterly gifts, and receive a monthly update from our Executive Director, Rev. Max Phillips. We also send out a lot of great information through our eNews and on our Facebook page. So sign-up and follow-us today to stay informed and hear stories of success and ways the LFS ministry is making a difference!
Feel free to leave a comment of thanksgiving for and encouragement below to Wanda as she continues the Lord’s work through the Lutheran Family Service Ministry. May our Lord bless you and use you to share His love with those who need it most.