by James Heine
At its 34th biennial convention last June in Peoria, Ill., the LWML elected Kay Kreklau as its 17th president. A longtime member, Kreklau has served the LCMS auxiliary in a multitude of roles at the local, zone, district and national levels. As a member of a small North Dakota congregation, she has filled a host of roles, too, from Sunday School teacher to impresario of the annual Christmas program. Kreklau and her husband, Mark, have three children and two grandchildren. Recently, the staff from The Lutheran Witness (LW) sat down with Kreklau (KK) for an interview. The following is an edited version of that conversation.
LW: Tell us a little about yourself.
KK: I’m from northern North Dakota. I’m married. I have three grown children and two wonderful grandchildren. I work full time as a vice-president of a bank. I do a lot of internal auditing there. My free time is pretty much the LWML and my family.
LW: How long have you been in the banking business?
KK: I’ve been in the banking business for about 15 years. Prior to that, I was a financial consultant for bankers who are working with farmers. My background is in accounting. Auditing just kind of came around as I came to work at the bank.
LW: How long have you been a member of the LWML?
KK: I was an adult confirmand. So, I have been a member of the LWML for approximately 36 years.
LW: What is your first memory of the LWML?
KK: Wanting to be a part of the women when they were in Bible study and wanting to be a part of the joy they had when they were serving Him. My first national memory is the 1989 Rapid City convention and “Seek His Face Always.” The first national event I participated in fully as a leader was an Assembly of Leaders in St. Louis. I believe it was 1992, and it was an experience that touched my life.
LW: What is your home congregation?
KK: My home congregation is Trinity Lutheran Church in Drayton, N.D. On a Sunday, we probably worship 3540.
LW: How has the LWML influenced your life?
KK: It has totally influenced my life. I grew up Roman Catholic, and [the LWML] was for me my way of reading the Bible and not being intimidated. I was able to sit down with women of all ages at an LWML meeting and ask questions about things I had wondered about after going through adult instruction. I truly learned so much from those women. I learned of the faith, of God’s gracethat I didn’t have to earn my way to heaven. But mostly, just being in the Word and serving Him. Again, it was seeing the joy they knew and knowing I wanted it.
LW: What is your vision for the LWML?
KK: I want to continue that joy of serving Him. I want to help our women grow through God’s Word. I want them to continue to strive to spend time daily with Him in Word and prayer, because in our busy lives it’s just so very difficult to take that time. You need to be very inten-tional about that.
My vision is that our women will reach out to the women in the pew, that they’ll reach out with the love of Christ, that they’ll reach out in Bible study, in service events. We’ll go beyond where we are right now. It’s very important that our women are in the kitchen, and they are helping and being a helper of the church, but it’s also so important that we educate them that we are more than that. We are servants in the mission field. We are raising mites; mites that touch lives all over the world. And we’ve reached $100 million mites. It’s absolutely amazing. Our Lord has blessed this organization. And He continues to bless it. We ask for a little, and He gives us abundance.
LW: What is your assessment of the state of the LWML?
KK: We feel the economic crunch, but God continues to bless us, and we continue to grow. We watch our dollars. Everything we spend we watch. We want to be able to support more and more and more missions and to make those mites grow and growand to go to even fartherto the ends of the earth.
LW: What is your biggest surprise since becoming LWML president last year?
KK: I guess my very first surprise was emails, even though I knew there’d be emails. It was amazing. Technology is amazing, and it’s amazing what we can do. Perhaps my biggest surprise has been that I knew there was a respect for the office, but there truly is very much a love and respect for the LWML president and that is humbling.
LW: Last question: What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends?
KK: Spend time with my family, my grandkids. Lexie is 10 and Trevor is 3. Totally oppositea little girl, a little boy.
> In 1930, receipts from the 92 Ladies Aid societies totaled $6651.31.
> Today, national mites fund over $1 million in mission grants.
About the Author: James Heine is the LCMS director of News and Information.