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Changing His Life Completely

Finding passion in his youth ministry work

On the face of it, Dave Whetter was living the perfect life. He had worked his way up to division president at a company in Kansas City, Missouri. The salary was comfortable enough that his wife didn't have to work outside the home, and they owned a beautiful home.

"You'd think at that point, I'd be on top of the world," says Whetter. "But there was a gnawing in my heart that this wasn't right."

Over the years, Whetter and his wife had become more involved in their church. His youth ministry work fulfilled him in ways his job didn't. Then one day, his wife planted a seed that would change his life completely.

"You should go to seminary," she said.

"I laughed it off," Whetter says. "How could I do that? We had three kids. We had arranged our lives so she could be a stay-at-home mom."

After ignoring his wife's suggestion for years, Whetter finally quit his job. For the next five years, he attended seminary in Chicago while his wife went back to work to support the family. They downsized their home. The kids, who were entering college just as their father was starting seminary, got jobs to help pay their tuition.

There were some scary financial times – the house sitting on the market and the financial losses after Sept. 11. But they made it through. Today, Whetter, now 55, is pastor at Salem Lutheran Church in Lenexa, Kansas.

"Courage is something you obtain as you move forward," he says. "If you sit back, you get paralyzed. Find the guts to do one thing. And with each step, there is joy from a sense of accomplishment."

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