Y4Life is so excited about welcoming two new members to our LFL family this summer, and we thought you might like to get to know them, too! Nadia is our Y4Life intern. Cori is our Y4Life assistant. Check out their answers to our interview questions below.
Can you tell us a little about your family and where you grew up?
Nadia: I am the oldest child of five, and we are all three years apart, so it has been such a joy to grow up with younger siblings who are still little! Since we were all homeschooled, we got to spend more time together than most siblings do. My parents always had a dream of living in the country, so when I was eleven, my family finally bought a fixer-upper house in the country outside Champaign, Illinois, and we have lived there ever since!
Cori: I got married to my husband Alex in 2019, and we had our son Dean in 2021. We recently moved to Columbus, Nebraska, from Kansas City to be closer to family, and it’s been a huge blessing! I grew up in York, Nebraska, with my parents and one younger sister. My parents are still in York, where my mom works as a pharmacist for the local family-owned pharmacy, and my dad works at the hospital as the lab director.
What degree have you earned or are you working toward in college?
Nadia: I am a sophomore at Concordia University Chicago in their Lutheran Teacher Education program studying secondary education. I have a major in history with a middle grades endorsement and a theology minor.
Cori: I graduated in December 2018 from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a degree in management and marketing, with a focus on entrepreneurial management.
What led you to want to work for Y4Life?
Nadia: When I heard about the internship position at the March for Life in Washington, D.C.., this year, I was very excited to apply! My goal when I graduated high school was to start a pro-life club on campus wherever I ended up going to school, but when I got to Concordia and found they already had a Y4Life team, I joined and became the co-leader during spring semester. Throughout the year, my passion for the unique Gospel-motivated perspective of Y4Life helped me realize I did not want to give up working in the pro-life ministry throughout the summer. Since I wanted to get a summer job that would have more professional experience; since I love researching, organizing, and being creative; and since I was hoping to stay close to home, the internship was a perfect fit for me.
Cori: I first learned about Y4Life at the LCMS National Youth Gathering in 2016 where I got to help with the Y4Life booth as a young adult volunteer (YAV). I loved getting to interact with the youth and youth leaders and getting to learn more about what Lutherans for Life and Y4Life did. I’ve been following along with Y4Life since then, and I felt the Lord’s call to apply for the Y4Life assistant position when it was posted earlier this year.
What areas of life ministry are you most passionate about?
Nadia: The areas of life ministry I am most passionate about usually have to do with families and children, and that has grown as I am studying to become a teacher! From protecting the unborn and young babies from infanticide or fighting against eugenics to advocating for the blessings of adoption and helping human trafficking victims, I care deeply that every child has a home where they are loved and can learn about Christ’s love. I want to fight the cultural trend of abandoning God’s plan for marriage and in doing so help young adults my age realize that they are still valuable simply because God made them, regardless of what they look like or how many times they have messed up. God’s forgiveness is endless, and His love extends to all children, planned and unplanned.
Cori: I’m most passionate about the issues of abortion and IVF. Abortion is the first life issue I learned about in middle school, and over the past two years, I’ve really gone deeper into researching what abortion is and why women may feel compelled to have abortions. I’ve had the privilege to volunteer with Let Them Live, which is a pro-life organization that works with pregnant moms who may be struggling to choose life for their babies. It’s really helped me see the other side of the argument and opened my eyes to what others experience. IVF is an issue I’ve recently gained more interest in, as I have friends my age who have struggled with fertility issues. I’m hoping that I can learn more about IVF during my time at Y4Life and how best to pray for and interact with my friends who struggle with fertility issues.
Have you always had a passion for upholding life, or was there a specific instance that led you to be a Gospel-motivated voice for life?
Nadia: Passionate has been a word used to describe me for as long as I can remember, and that extended to life issues at a very young age for me. However, in high school, as I got older and learned more about the world today through interactions with friends and family members who were hurting, I began to truly realize the urgency and scale of problems like abortion, sex trafficking, and birth control that ravage our communities. My view shifted from an angry awareness to Gospel-motivated action, and I have been advocating for life with a lens of love ever since!
Cori: I was raised in a pro-life household, but it wasn’t until after I graduated from college and moved out of my “bubble” that I realized how many life issues there actually were. There were a lot of things that jump started my deep dive into the theology and doctrine behind life issues, but the two most prominent were moving to Kansas City and getting pregnant with my son. Genesis 1:26-27, Psalm 139:13-14, and Psalm 127:3-5 have really helped me to re-focus my “why” for being pro-life.
Not everyone agrees that human life is sacred. How do you handle opposition to this truth when you encounter it, especially among your peers?
Nadia: This year I have actually been struggling with the idea of defending truth only when directly confronted versus being an aggressive advocate for life, and I have come to the conclusion that the answer, like most things, requires a delicate balance depending on the immediate circumstances, my current vocation, and the relationship I have with the person. If it is someone I am close to and thus have a responsibility as their friend or family member to give Godly advice, then I would gently but consistently urge them to reconsider their actions or views without severing our relationship. Wherever possible, I find values that we can agree on to establish common ground and decrease feelings of hostility that are so quick to spring up around such sensitive topics. With strangers I meet in the world, however, I try mostly to witness to the sanctity of life through my actions as a Christian unless they are actively trying to confront me about my views. In this case, I try to speak to them in a loving way as another valuable human, often by asking questions so I can better understand where they are coming from, explain confidently what I believe and why, and pray for their hearts to be changed.
Cori: The biggest thing for me is to stay calm and remember that the person I’m talking with is also a human made in the image of God. I find it’s best for me to have discussions when I’m not trying to be defensive or come from a place of attack. It also helps the person I’m speaking with to feel at ease because they’re not being belittled or bullied, and I find that they’re more open to having a constructive dialogue.
Okay, now it’s time for some favorites. What is your favorite …
Nadia: Romans 14:8
Cori: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Nadia: Cooking, painting, reading, and playing volleyball! I like to mix it up a lot!
Cori: Reading, knitting/crocheting/sewing, baking, or hanging out with my family
Nadia: Steak and potatoes. This girl loves a great combination of fine dining and red meat!
Cori: Cheese Runza with a side of ranch, a very Nebraska combination
Nadia: I have not listened to many podcasts before as I prefer to read or watch movies, but if I do, Issues Etc. is my go to.
Cori: I’ve done a lot of driving over the past few years, and I’ve listened to quite a few podcasts. My absolute favorites are The Lutheran Ladies Lounge, Friends for Life, The Being Lutheran Podcast, and Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey.
Nadia: I also do not spend a lot of time on social media, so I do not know many influencers, but one account on Instagram that I love is called Educated Females, and the young women who run it are dedicated to combatting the modern feminist movement by sharing life facts, modesty tips, Christian relationship advice, prayers, and Jane Austen memes.
Cori: Katy Fasset on Instagram. She’s funny, uplifting, motivating, and best of all, a Lutheran wife and mom.
Nadia: My music taste varies hourly depending on what I am doing, and I will listen to anything from pop to classic country, but the most consistent genre that I listen to regularly is one I made up and call folk pop. This includes my favorite song “Riptide” and artists like Vance Joy, Passenger, and Of Monsters and Men.
Cori: I’ve been listening to a lot of late ‘90s/early ‘00s Christian music recently, but I also enjoy classic rock and alternative rock. I’d say my favorite band is Twenty One Pilots if I had to pick.
Nadia: My favorite T.V. series is Poldark from the British Broadcasting Company, but I love most period dramas.
Cori: I have so many shows I consider “favorites,” but I’d have to say that my top favorites are Monk and Psych.