Small Group Leaders
Henry Elling (he/him)
Cambodia 2017 - 2018
My name is Henry Elling and I am 27 years old. I have grown up in Wisconsin and currently live in Madison, WI. I am also currently working as a bartender and an usher at a theater downtown Madison. I attended Gustavus Adolphus College where I graduated with a degree in Saxophone Performance and Film Studies. I participated in YAGM from 2017-2018 and was placed in Cambodia. While in country I lived and worked directly with the Lutheran Church in Cambodia where I taught ESL (English as a Second Language), worked on Life Sustaining Projects with the church, and I was the church musician for a year. One of my favorite parts of my experience was getting to visit Angkor Wat with my Cambodian Friends and see their culture through their own experience.
Deja Hartsfield (she/her)
Argentina/Uruguay 2018 - 2019
Dejaneria “Deja” Hartsfield is a 27 year old woman who resides in Naperville, IL. She is an artist, a recent graduate masters student who studied Applied Behavior Analysis, and much more! Since her Young Adults in Global Missions (YAGM) year in 2018/2019 to Argentina/Uruguay, she has felt compelled to connect to who she is as a young person and to reconnect to her inner child through creating art, such as drawing, painting, and writing poetry. So far, it has been a rejuvenating and powerful journey, as she is slowly understanding why self-discovery can be a pleasurable experience! She is excited to be a part of DIP, and to learn more about the newest crew of YAGM volunteers!
Grant Holsinger (he/him)
Australia 2018 - 2019
Grant Philip Holsinger (He/Him) was born in Reno, Nevada in the glorious year of 1994 Shortly before the release of Macaulay Culkin’s hit movie and Grant’s personal nightmare fuel, The Page Master. He went to Luther College in Decorah, IA and graduated in 2017 with a degree in Music. He served during the 2018-19 YAGM season in Australia as a Church admin assistant/resident young person and as a community center gardener/lawn mower technician/cuppa drinker. He played mandolin and guitar in a praise band and was in an intramural volleyball league while there as well! He currently lives in Rochester, MN with his cat, Hera, and works as a hospital security personnel and substitute teacher. He enjoys kickboxing, opera, science fiction, “Wierd Al”, horror, video games and forgetting about that time he was hypnotized in front of 1500 people to believe that he had beaten an Alligator named “Big Hoss” in a wrestling tournament and that if anyone asks him about it, he is required to tell the story. He is really excited to be here for you and loves to talk about and share his experiences with the divine and holy in this world.
Renee Roeber (she/they)
Mexico 2018 - 2019
Renee was a YAGM in 2018/19 in Mexico. Since serving in Mexico they have gone on multiple cross country road trips and is an aspiring dirt bag living out of her van they’re currently building out by themself. Passionate about all things outdoor, queer, and homemade you can find her out hiking with her cat or crocheting a blanket that is probably bigger than anyone needs.
Brynn Wiessner (she/her)
Madagascar 2015 - 2016
Brynn Wiessner is a school social worker working for Aurora Public Schools just outside of Denver, Colorado. Originally from Minnesota, she served with YAGM during 2015-16 in Madagascar. She primarily worked at a school for the deaf in Toamasina, teaching English, learning Malgasy sign language, and loved singing with her church's choir. It was a life changing experience and informed her decision to pursue a graduate program in social work upon returning to the States. She is passionate about social justice issues especially as related to public education. She enjoys serving youth and working to provide equitable learning opportunities for youth with disabilities. She also is passionate about working to provide opportunities for youth to experience interactions with animals and nature. She works with a certified therapy dog, Pumpkin, in the public schools. In her free time, Brynn loves to drink coffee, hike, run, and ski in Colorado with her two dogs, Java and Pumpkin, and spend time with her dear friends and family. :)
Elizabeth Zimmermann (she/her)
Central Europe 2016 - 2017
I am from Austin, TX. I served my YAGM year in Piliscsaba, Hungary from 2016-2017. After my YAGM year, I spent a year with the ELCA Central Europe Teachers Program teaching conversational English in a high school in Kosice, Slovakia. I moved back to Austin in 2018 where I joined the AmeriCorps Program called Literacy First tutoring K-2nd grade. In September, I started work as the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent of a charter school district in Austin. I joined First English Lutheran Church in 2018 when I moved to Austin and am heavily involved serving on the CDC board and church council as secretary. I have been involved in the Lutheran Campus Ministries at UT by helping at their food pantry and community meal. In my free time, I enjoy reading, yoga, ballet and exploring the coffee shops around Austin.
Kara Barkman (she/her)
Mexico 2019 - 2020
Hi! I'm Kara and I am part of your DIP weekend worship team! I grew up in Shelton, WA and served in Cuetzalan, Mexico from 2019-2020. After YAGM, and some time at home because of the pandemic, I lived in intentional community at Holden Village (a Lutheran retreat center in the middle of the Cascade mountains) for a year. I am now living in the Twin Cities where I'm working for a refugee resettlement agency and attempting to knit myself a new wardrobe (not super successfully). I love coffee to a fault, believe that Western Red Cedars are the most beautiful trees in the world, and am a proud member of the "get a tattoo during your YAGM year" club.
Hannah Johnsrud (she/her)
Jerusalem & the West Bank 2018 - 2019
Hannah Johnsrud is so excited to ba a part of the YAGM Worship Team for DIP! She grew up in the great Pacific Northwest, just outside of Tacoma, WA, before moving to Nashville, TN to attend Vanderbilt University. She graduated in 2018 with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and then spent the 2018-2019 year as a YAGM volunteer in Jerusalem and the West Bank. COVID-times found her unexpectedly back at home, living with her parents and working at Target, a local university, and her church's community center (not all at the same time). Now, Hannah is a seminary student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She has a cat named after a book of the bible (kudos if you can guess which one), thinks pickles are an abomination, and enjoys crocheting badly.
Hannah Loeffler-Kemp (she/her)
United Kingdom 2016 - 2017
Growing up on the shores of Lake Superior, Hannah has a deep love for the outdoors and spending time among the tall trees. She studied Religion with a Faith and Leadership concentration at Concordia College - Moorhead. During college, she worked on summer staff at Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry and Luther Crest Bible Camp. In 2016-2017, Hannah served in Manchester, England with Young Adults in Global Mission. Her YAGM placement was as a Parish Assistant at a vibrant Anglican Church. Part of her time was spent playing with kiddos at a primary school, teaching English classes to men who experienced human trafficking, engaging with the university students, and serving lattes at a coffee shop. She lived with two inspiring and empowering nuns who shared endless stories and taught her how to make elderflower wine. Hannah has been serving in full-time outdoor ministry for 6 years, 4 years as the Program Director at Good Earth Village and going on 2 years as the Retreat Director at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp. She loves going on hikes with her puppy, Birkley, checking out local restaurants, taking cool dips in Lake Superior and warm dips in Colorado hot springs, and hanging in her hammock.