Guided to teach others  

By Cathryn Zarnke

Jesus’ love and guidance have always been evident in my life. Being adopted, God protected me and provided for me with a loving Christian family. My Mum and Dad, Helen and Ronald Zarnke, brought me to baptism at Peace Lutheran Church Gatton in Queensland, where I was adopted into my spiritual family. When I was […]

Jesus’ love and guidance have always been evident in my life. Being adopted, God protected me and provided for me with a loving Christian family. My Mum and Dad, Helen and Ronald Zarnke, brought me to baptism at Peace Lutheran Church Gatton in Queensland, where I was adopted into my spiritual family.

When I was five, my mother died but my dad and church family nurtured in me my love for education and God. My Dad modelled a love for God’s creation and encouraged my creativity. His death when I was 20 inspired me to graduate from the then Luther Seminary (Australian Lutheran College – ALC), following my Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts.

After teaching in Christian colleges in Australia and Germany, a friend suggested I study theology further and serve with him as a missionary in Papua New Guinea (PNG). But my vision of a forever home in Australia blinded me to this possibility and we went our separate ways.

However, God continued to gently guide me through a beautiful missionary couple, Pastor Norman and Joy Wurst, who helped heal my heart, clear my mind and prepare my hands for mission. I gained a Masters of Education from ALC and a Masters of Sacred Theology from Concordia Seminary St Louis in the US.

Currently, I teach academic English to Indigenous students at the University of Southern Queensland. After a missionary to PNG mentioned that teaching positions there can be vacant for years, I felt my life experiences unite to serve in this way.

Now I hope to serve the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG as an English lecturer at Martin Luther Seminary, an English-speaking institution. While this church also has seminaries teaching in Pidgin, qualifications in English are highly desirable as it is the international language. Students from the seminary will be able to serve not only in their own country but in any English-speaking nation. They will be prepared for higher-level studies in institutions across the globe and may publish books, lecture, and hold church leadership positions. This is why I am so excited about this mission.

Prayer for the spread of the gospel, safety and financial and spiritual support is crucial. Being part of this team allows you to be part of something amazing. We are the body of Christ, his mind, his heart and his hands to people on earth and being part of this team means you can help usher in God’s kingdom across the world from wherever you are. So, come join me in the adventure!


This story was also published in the November 2022 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

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