Meet Daniel

Hi all, I’m Daniel Morgenstern, one of the Blog writers here at Grow2Serve and let me tell you I did not expect to be here. That might be surprising to hear, I mean look at that last name, but I can honestly say I didn’t expect to be a Grow2Serve blogger. I didn’t really expect to still be in Minnesota at all.

You may already know my childhood. I grew up as part of the Morgenstern missionary team in Ukraine, helping where I could and learning about ministry day and night. My brothers and I were raised with the affirmation that we were called to missions in Ukraine too, not just along for the ride.  With this upbringing you would think there would be four young Morgenstern men ready to hit the field right about now, but we were also raised with a strong sense of self and drive to forge our own path.

I discovered a passion for stories, fictional and historical, as well as an unending interest in all things military. So the path seemed clear, I would be a writer and a soldier; ministry was still important but those things were my calling.  After we returned to the States and I tackled the 14-year, and counting, transition from being a Ukrainian to an American, I Joined the U.S. Military and completed my Bachelors in English Writing.

In 2019 I was overseas, on deployment, thinking about my future.  I was done with school, about to conclude my overseas service, and I had 6 months left on my National Guard contract.  In other words I had nothing holding me back. I would head home, finish out my obligation to Minnesota, and then join the U.S. Army with education, rank, and experience. Years later, after my military retirement, I would start writing professionally with financial security and stories worth telling. Everything was going according to plan and that’s when God changed my plans.

The Spirit prompted me to give the 6 months between arriving home and starting full time military service over to some sort of ministry. That sounded ok to me, it didn’t get in the way of my plan and I didn’t need money so sure why not. Then God showed me the ministry.  A church that I had started visiting before leaving on deployment needed a youth pastor and I felt God telling me “go for it.” The thing was it wasn’t 6 months. They needed someone there long enough to at least hold down the fort until they could find someone else. They needed a year, actually probably two.  And the crazy thing is I said yes.

Now, a year later, God has fused my plan with his needs in the beautiful and unexpected way that he does everything. I am a youth pastor and small groups coordinator by day and a soldier by weekend. I am deeply fulfilled in both and the experience from each informs the other.  These days I’m not sure what my five-year plan, but God is good and I can’t wait to see what he’s got up His sleeve. Our God has a better plan.

Oh, and the whole wait till retirement to have stories worth telling thing.  Since I was here in Minnesota my parents asked if I could put my writing skills to work for Grow2Serve. I wasn’t so sure I was ready.  Shouldn’t I wait till I had more ministry and life experience. Well you just read my story, you tell me, was it worth telling?   

Daniel Morgenstern is the director of youth and small group ministries at Restoration Covenant Church in Apple Valley, MN and proudly serves as a Sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard. In all his work, he relies on his background as a Missionary Kid who spent the first 12 years of his life in Ukraine.

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