When I graduated from South Christian in 1999, I left recognizing two important things. First of all, I by no means did the best work I was capable of producing. Second, despite not doing my best work, I left SCHS with a drive to live a life with purpose. I was never told which path in life to choose. I was taught simply to serve others and serve causes bigger than myself as an individual. I was guided to extend myself fully in the most worthy causes I could find. I left high school knowing that the why in life or why we choose to do something matters.
Aside from serving our God, I chose to serve the greatest cause I know, our country. I was a bomb technician in the U.S. Army for over 12 years until an explosive device detonated beneath my feet while fighting in Afghanistan. There is a great deal I could say about this period of life from combat to recovery. I believe, however, it is most important for all to know that because I was serving my brothers in combat and serving America, any regret I may have had about my amputated legs was replaced with total peace and gratefulness for the opportunity to save the lives of friends.
Undoubtedly, it is being at peace with my past that has allowed me to continue to seek out purpose in public service. I now have the very humbling honor of serving in the 115th Congress of the U.S. House of Representatives. While I do not know the exact date I decided to pursue congress, I do remember the moment. It was while I was lying in a hospital bed after my injury. My wife Brianna and six-month-old son Magnum were sitting across the room from my gurney. After having much time to think, I tearfully declared to them that the best defense I give our country and the best example I set would still be in my future.
When I look back at so many Bible stories, those my own children are now learning, I realize something important. Nearly every one from beginning to end includes the Lord working through someone, who is otherwise incapable without his strength, to accomplish something great for many people. It is God’s instruction for building a life with purpose.
—Brian Mast, 1999 Alumni
Brad Lanser (’82) Diane (Sinnema) Lanser (’82)
Remembering back 30 plus years ago when Diane and I attended South Christian, I am so thankful for God’s grace. As any of my past teachers and classmates can confirm, I was not looking to grow in my faith at that time in my life. But God was definitely using that time along with South Christian teachers, coaches, and friends to help mold me into who I am today.
Diane and I both graduated from South Christian in 1982. Following high school I went on to college and started a small landscaping business with a cousin. Soon after college, Diane and I got married and purchased a home with property to run the landscape business from. I think we were both pretty confident that this was going to be our future.
God was working on me during those years. My partner in the business talked of someday doing full-time ministry, but I was convinced that digging holes and cutting grass was for me. I remember attending a Rich Mullins concert around that time and watching a mother and her teenage daughter dancing and praising the Lord with such joy and reckless abandon. It hit me so hard that I wanted to be a part of something like that. My father owned a few radio stations and one Christmas asked me if I had any interest in joining him. I remember thinking, “Thanks, but no thanks. I love what I do.”
After a while, it is just easier to listen to God than to fight it. This very immature, fun seeking kid began to seek what God would have me do rather than what I thought was best. In 1993, Diane and I sold our home and interest in the landscaping business and moved to Hudsonville to start working at the radio stations. After 22 years I can see how blessed I have been to work side-by-side with so many Christ followers. I am confident I would not be the same person today had I not listened to God.
My father and I own and manage a few radio stations here in West Michigan and just recently purchased one in North Carolina as well. I share with staff often that we at Lanser Broadcasting are so honored to be used by God to “bring hope” each day through radio. We never know who is listening and what they are going through.
God has blessed me with such a wonderful godly wife. We have five believing children. Two are now married to awesome Christian people who they met at Unity Christian High School. Diane is active at Hudsonville Christian School where our two youngest boys attend and oldest daughter now teaches. Diane and I love taking a trip or two each year to the Open Doors Orphanage in Guatemala and spending time loving on the kids there.
Would that have happened had God not led me to South Christian and to move to Hudsonville to work at the station?
If anyone would have told me or any of my teachers back at South Christian in 1982 that God was going to take this “mouthy immature kid” and use him to run Christian radio stations, we all would have had a good laugh. Praise God for His grace. And thanks to so many of you in and around South Christian who have played a part in that.
—Brad Lanser, 1982 Alumni
Alumni Profile Brent Miedema, (’98) and Kathy (Lucas) Miedema (’98)
Brent and I attended Dutton Christian School together and our friendship began in sixth grade through ski club. Our sophomore year at South Christian we rekindled our friendship after a Young Life meeting, which turned into a homecoming date, which turned into a lifelong friendship. We were married in 2002 and have been blessed with four children, Alaina (10), Seth (9), Lacy (5), and Ava (3).
Brent and I felt called to ministry, but we always thought it would be something in our own community. I felt called to high school ministry while my brother Kevin was fighting a losing battle with cancer. I was a Young Life leader at South Christian for five years and had the privilege of walking alongside the kids Kevin would have gone to high school with. As a couple, we became part of the high school ministry at Caledonia Christian Reformed Church. The class we walked alongside of the past three years are the seniors of 2015; great kids! Parenting has become our greatest ministry and one we are still working on.
God began speaking to us through our Bible studies, sermons, Christian radio, and even our kids. Brent and I felt we were living the American dream and getting very comfortable with the life God blessed us with. Brent turned to me one day and said, “I think we need to move to Zambia and work at The Esther School.” This began a time where I dug my heels in and had a lot of questions. What about our home and jobs? Is it safe? What does schooling look like for our kids? How do we raise the money? Most of all how do we leave our family and friends?
The answers were simple, we can’t but God CAN. Through the support of our family and friends, God answered all my questions, doubts, and fears, and as of fall 2013 our family is now working at The Esther School in Zambia! Brent is the Administrator of Building and Finance and I volunteer in the kitchen at the school. The best part of this story is that it is His story and not ours. God went before us, just as he did with Abraham when He called him to a foreign land to be a foreigner.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
If you want to follow our journey or see what is happening at The Esther School you can go to estherschool. org and our blog is miedemasinzambia.wordpress.
—Kathy (Lucas) Miedema
Stan DeJager, Class of ‘61 and Wanda (Stapert) DeJager, Class of ‘62
Stan and Wanda DeJager are familiar faces around the SCHS and Cutlerville communities. After graduating from Calvin in 1965, Stan began his teaching career at Byron Center Christian where he taught mostly science for 26 years. Following that he taught math at SCHS for 15 years. Stan has served on Cutlerville Christian and SCHS School Boards and on First Cutlerville CRC Council.
Remember Cutlerville Floral right on the corner of 68th and Division? Wanda ran that business with her sister-in-law from 1966 to 1976. Following a time at Eastern Floral, she took a position as an administrative assistant at SCHS where she worked for 24 years.
Meanwhile, two houses down from the SCHS parking lot, they raised their three children, Julie (DeJager ’84) Ellens, Jill (DeJager ’88) Haan, and Russ DeJager (’91). They have also been blessed with seven grandchildren.
Following retirement in 2007, both Stan and Wanda continued to use their gifts by beginning new careers as volunteers in Young Life. They work at Timberwolf Lake Young Life Camp as volunteer coordinators from April thru October, then take their RV to Florida and work at Southwind Young Life Camp several weeks in November and again in January and February. Keep in mind that they are always looking for new volunteers to join them at either camp!
Recently, Stan and Wanda celebrated 50 years of marriage. They feel God has richly blessed them in many ways.