Andrea Bates (maiden name Stover) was living in Nebraska when she first heard about Lenoir-Rhyne University. She and her father, a Lutheran pastor, were looking through the directory of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) for college options. There was something about LR and the Hickory area that intrigued her and they went for a visit.
"It was the people I met there that made the biggest impression," Andrea said. One individual in particular was the Campus Pastor, Andrew Weisner. "I remember he took mine and my mother's hands and we prayed together. I just knew that LR was the place God was calling me to be for the next four years." Andrea would continue to meet people at LR who would impact her life – including her future husband, Kyle Bates. They met during their junior year through mutual friends. They were both members of the Lutheran Student Ministry and fraternity/sorority life. Kyle majored in Theology and Religion, minoring in Sacred Music and Andrea studied Human and Community Services.
Following their graduation in 2009, they each held jobs in Atlanta but were excited to discover openings at Lutheridge in Arden, NC – a Christian summer camp that Kyle often attended as a youth, and had served as a summer counselor during college. The couple worked at Lutheridge for two years - during which time they became engaged and married in 2013. The experience reinforced their passion for sharing the gospel and dedicating their lives to ministry. They chose the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) to pursue Master of Divinity degrees.
"The faculty members are top notch at LTSS," Kyle said. "As a student, you are welcomed by name and have the opportunity to get to know and work closely with your professors."
Both Kyle and Andrea hope to graduate in May 2017 and are looking forward to their ordination through the ELCA.
"We couldn't have asked for a better educational experience than we have had with Lenoir-Rhyne and LTSS."