2/26/2014 7:58:00 AM Pastor is ideal fit at Seventh-day Adventist
Never mind that 24-year-old Tyson Kahler is fresh out of Union College in Lincoln, Neb., and that serving the four Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Southwest Minnesota District is his first call.
Kahler appears to be an ideal fit for the district, and Windom in particular. Although he will be based in Pipestone, Kahler will have little trouble relating to worshippers in Windom. About half of the 55 to 60 regular attenders at the Windom church are native Kenya, Africans.
Kahler, who was born in North Dakota, raised in Florida and graduated from Maplewood Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school in Hutchinson, Minn., was a student missionary in Kenya for about a year.
"We prayed for someone who would fit into our church," says Pastor Ed Eigenberg, retired pastor at Windom Seventh-day Adventist.
There's another twist to Pastor Kahler's storyline. Although presently single, he is engaged to Marielle Solis, a native of the Philippines. Marielle's parents are missionary doctors in the Philippines. Kahler and Solis plan to marry in December in Florida.
"She was actually a student at the school where I was a student missionary in Kenya," Kahler explains. "But I didn't meet her at that school. The year I left Union College in Nebraska to go to Kenya, she had just graduated and went to Union College. So, we swapped schools.
"Then she came back with a Union College recruiter to do some recruiting at the missionary school in Kenya. She was there just a week and we met. When I returned stateside and she was back at Union College, we had that common connection of the academy in Kenya."
Kahler and his future wife have one more Southwest Minnesota congregational connection.
"The funny thing about the Pipestone church is that it has about 25 Filipinos," Kahler notes. "Marielle and her parents are native Filipinos, but they spent many years in Africa, so she feels more African than anything."
If you're seeing a missionary pattern, you're not mistaken. "Our long-term plans are that we are really passionate about mission work. We would love to do overseas mission work some day," Kahler confirms. "But I don't know how far in the future."
Presently, his mission work is in Southwest Minnesota serving the congregations of Pipestone, Windom, Marshall and Artichoke (north of Appleton). The Windom and Pipestone churches are similar in size; Marshall and Artichoke are both smaller churches, numbering about 10 and 15 attenders, respectively.
Kahler is excited about the opportunity, but admits that as a new pastor the responsibility of serving four churches at one time is a daunting one.
"God is good and I feel he's called me here for a reason to serve these churches. I have great leadership in each church. They're very understanding and they've been in this district for a long time. So, they either have been without a pastor and have had to self-sustain or they've had pastors who have had to juggle it all before. The way I look at it is, there have been plenty of pastors who have been here before me and they've done just fine. If they can do it, I can do it," Kahler maintains.
The monthly rotation will have Kahler delivering the message in the Windom church every fourth Saturday.
For more on Kahler, see the story on the faith & family page in the Feb. 26 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.