This summer, Esther and Jordan Berg make up our team of interns at First Free. Esther will work with Sam Olson and the junior high girls, and Jordan will work with Jim Kirkpatrick and Todd Olson in Adult Ministries.
Esther is a gracious young woman who has been a part of First Free practically forever. Jordan Berg, on the other hand, has been here for just a few months. One thing they have in common is their tenacity for higher education.
Esther is entering her super senior year (5th year) at the University of MInnesota, but before she enrolled as an undergrad, she finished her junior and senior years of high school through PSEO at Century and the University of Northwestern.
Jordan began his college career at the University of Wisconsin–Stout and transferred to Crossroads College in Rochester. From there, he transferred to the University of Northwestern and graduated in December with his BA in Pastoral Ministry.
To help you get to know Esther and Jordan a little bit, here are some quick facts for you.
- Grew up at First Free
- Double Majoring in Music Performance on clarinet and Accounting
- Has three older brothers and a twin sister (Music Performance major on flute)
- 2nd summer interning
- Loves working with 7th grade girls
- Volunteers with the youth during the school year
- Has participated in six mission trips: four times to New Orleans and two times to Slovenia
Ever since third grade, she has taken private clarinet lessons. In high school, Esther developed tendonitis which affected the ability to physically play her clarinet. She watched from the sidelines as her sister, Karen, won competition after competition. Feeling discouraged and angry, Esther chose to rely on God’s strength. It was then that Esther’s faith became her own.
“I clung to God and my faith was strengthened,” Esther stated.
She could have easily blamed God, but when this was suggested she shrugged humbly and said, “Yeah, but I didn’t.” And that has made all the difference.
Esther will work with the junior high girls, pouring into their lives to help them feel a sense of belonging in the youth group. She is leading a Tuesday morning Bible Study about the Fruits of the Spirit that started on June 14 and runs through July.
When the fall ramps back up, she plans to stick around and volunteer as a youth leader like she has done in the past.
“I love junior high girls. It’s a fun age,” Esther said. “They trust you as a leader.”
- Grew up in Fall Creek, Wisconsin
- Married for three years to Kelia (who is from Clear Lake, Wisconsin)
- Has interned at two other churches, Centennial Free Church in Lino Lakes and his home church in Chippewa Falls
- Attending UNW for his M.Div.
- Interested in adult ministry, possibly chaplaincy
- Lives in Cottage Grove
Jordan was raised Lutheran until middle school. Then his family went to an Assemblies of God church. It was there that he responded to the Gospel and was baptized as an early teen. He and his family were also involved at a non-denominational church.
It wasn’t an easy road as a teen, though.
“I kind of did my own thing for a while,” Jordan admitted.
Three and a half years into his college career majoring as a packaging engineer, he was all but graduated. He woke up one morning and said, “I don’t want to do this.”
So Jordan stopped going to class.
“I didn’t even un-enroll. I just stopped going.” That was when he felt God’s calling into the ministry.
Jordan’s internship plans are to continue through December when he will graduate with his M.Div. He will be busy learning the ropes here at First Free as well as different facets of leading adults in discipleship.
Both Jordan and Esther have huge hearts for the Lord and are excited to intentionally build into the First Free family.
Gianna Kordatzky has been a part of the First Free family since 1997. She graduated from Northwestern College (now University of Northwestern–St. Paul) in 1999 with a B.A. in youth ministry which prepared her and her husband, Chris, to raise four amazing kids. She is one of the founders of Family Fun Twin Cities and the Moms in Prayer leader for Bel Air Elementary in New Brighton. Gianna is passionate about serving families whether she is volunteering with New Life Family Services in St. Paul or overseas at the ELIC conference.