Chris Schei thought that Lutheran Volunteer Corps sounded like a good fit for his friends — just not for him.
But Chris re-evaluated that decision after visiting a former college roommate who was serving with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Chicago.
“Literally, when I got home after my trip to Chicago, I started working on my application,” he says.
“I kept thinking about Jacob and his roommates who seemed to be living a happier life living on less.”
By August 2009 he was working with Lutheran Volunteer Corps at Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County in Wilmington, Del. Now as he fits walls to make a house, Chris finds he fits, too.
“I love my job,” the 25-year-old originally from Redmond, Wash., says. “Seeing the reaction (of the homeowners) when they see their (new) house makes it so inspiring and makes me want to do more.”
Lutheran Volunteer Corps also gives Chris a better fit with his faith.
“I think that my faith, work and friends are experiencing what and who I really am,” Chris says. “I discuss issues of faith at work and with friends rather than just waiting for certain people to talk with.”
Chris relishes the connections he’s made with individuals from diverse backgrounds and religious affiliations. He and his roommates made a covenant to regularly discuss spirituality and their faith in God.
“These differences definitely have made my faith life experience something that it possibly has never experienced before,” he adds.
As his faith grows, so does his belief in his ability to directly impact his community.
“At the job site, I make sure that everyone is treated with respect no matter his or her background,” Chris says. “I make everyone feel welcome and that they make a difference no matter their skill level.”
Building on a firm foundation
Chris believes that his parents provided a strong faith foundation; Lutheran Student Movement during his years at Western Washington University added the floors.
Feeling alone on his first days as a freshman, he passed a Lutheran Student Movement table during Orientation Week and thought: “Hey, I am Lutheran, I should check it out.” A meeting later, he was hooked.
“When I heard faith stories and realized that many were in the same boat I was,” he explains, “I knew I had found people that I could connect with.”
When he looks into his future, Chris sees himself in a career that matches his Habitat experience with his degree in community recreation.
“I love going to work at Habitat every day because I have accomplished something very tangible and met some amazing people,” he explains. “In the future, I want to find that same job (in recreation).”
Until then, he hopes to meet a few ultimate Frisbee players; it’s a sport he loved playing in college that hasn’t caught on in Wilmington. He keeps the faith that players will come, hopefully also bearing hammers.