Just two weeks after giving her life to Christ and getting baptized at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus, Ella Kronk experienced a devastating loss.
Kronk’s 25-year-old brother Daniel was hit by a car and killed Dec. 29, 2020, while clearing debris on I-265. Daniel, who had Asperger syndrome, was hoping to keep others from getting hurt by the debris.
“He passed away doing what he believed in, which is kindness to others,” said Kronk, 19. “He thought he was going to save someone by picking up ladders and that was probably the biggest sign for me now. It’s like all I want to do is the same. I want to help others and be there for others.”
Kronk doesn’t know how she could have handled Daniel’s death without her newfound faith in Christ and connection to Southeast.
“It was heartbreaking and all the faith that I had just found I questioned on that day,” Kronk added. “I’ve never had that kind of faith to question God before, if that makes sense. I really don’t think there was anything for me to question before because there was nothing to believe before. I finally gave Him my all, but I’m glad it was there to question because now I’ve given myself to God and have a relationship with Him. Having this faith, believing, provides me with more comfort in ways that I never even knew.”
Blankenbaker Campus Connections Pastor Lucas DeVries and College-Age Ministry Connections Associate Kamille Bayless, who have had a profound impact on Kronk’s faith journey, attended Daniel’s funeral.
“I had written for my brother’s funeral Philippians 4:13. I told no one, and I was going to have Kamille and Lucas read it for me at the service,” she said. “I remember asking God, ‘Give me a sign. Show me to believe.’ The sermon the entire time was on Philippians 4:13, so I think that was God saying, ‘Hey, I’m here. I’m right here. I’m right next to you.’ It gave me chills.”
Kronk felt “overwhelming love from Southeast” and received letters of support from people she had never met.
“It’s been amazing to see how Ella has leaned into Jesus during this difficult season,” DeVries said. “It has certainly not been easy, but I’m convinced that her new life in Christ and the people she surrounds herself with is why she is able to have hope.”
Kronk is a Louisville native and grew up attending a Catholic church. In her teen years, she stopped going to church, but a family friend, Charity, kept inviting her to Southeast. Kronk finally visited in February 2020 and began regularly attending services.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, she and Charity watched SE Online together, but came back when campuses regathered in-person. Kronk is a junior at the University of Louisville studying to be a nurse anesthetist. She jumped all in on Dec. 13.
“I decided to get baptized and that was the breaking point for me where I just said, ‘Yes,’” Kronk said. “I was tired of dealing with all this weight myself, and I just handed it all over. Southeast is welcoming to people who make mistakes and you can be forgiven. We all make mistakes.”
DeVries connected Kronk to some people in CAM, and she plans to co-lead a small group where people can share their stories of hardship similar to hers.
“I’ve really changed. I really have become a different person. I’m lighter, brighter. I’ve really given my life to Christ, and I feel like I really am happier,” Kronk added.