Welcome, Carissa!

Carissa Wittig, newest ministry member of Lutheran Indian Ministries

Lutheran Indian Ministries is excited to announce the newest member of our ministry staff, Carissa Wittig!

Carissa spent the last two years teaching preschool at Lamb of God Lutheran in Las Vegas and plans to carry over experience into her new role as Volunteer Coordinator in Fairbanks, Alaska.

"I moved around a lot as a child, and I was feeling really good and settled in Las Vegas. I thought it was going to be home for a while, but then God said, 'Nope! I have one more place for you to go!'"

Despite growing up in warm weather states, Carissa fell in love with Alaska during a mission trip to Venetia in 2013 and has returned to the village every summer.

"My favorite memory of that first mission trip was sitting by the river with this one little girl, who had attached herself to me. When we had free time, she would pull me away from the group to sit outside and talk. She was such a sweet, little girl. Sitting by the river, that's where I fell in love with Alaska."

When she was approached with the opportunity with LIM, she flew up to Fairbanks the week between Christmas and New Year's to make sure she could handle the cold and the short days, as well as the treacherous travel to remote villages in the winter.

"I absolutely loved it! We flew to Tanana, and it was fun to see the difference between village life in the winter as opposed to the summer. People keep telling me the newness will wear off, but I don't think I will ever get used to the beauty and people of Alaska!"

Carissa will be serving as the Co-Volunteer Coordinator with Rosemary Sternbeck, who has held the position for the past five years. The next six months, working alongside each other, will help prepare Carissa to take over when Rosemary retires at the end of the year.

"I remember telling Rosemary, a few years ago, 'You have my dream job!' But I never imagined I would one day take over. She has left me some big shoes to fill. I hope I can serve the volunteers and Alaska Natives as well as she has!"

Please keep Carissa and Rosemary in your prayers during this transition time, and help us welcome Carissa to the team!