Why I Give: Jon Olawsky
Meet Jon Olawsky, a husband (Kate), father (Cooper, Ellinor, and Charlotte), dog lover (Chapel), outdoors man, and huge Minnesota Vikings and Florida State Seminole's fan.
John, a resident of Harrisburg, and his family, have been members of Holy Cross for a little over 6 years, but have attended Holy Cross for almost 10 years.
We caught up with John to learn why he supports the ministry of Holy Cross, and to find out more about his life and faith.
Q. Why do you choose to attend Holy Cross?
When I was in high school (in Corsica, SD) our youth group would do different fun things in Sioux Falls. Since my church was about an hour and a half outside of Sioux Falls, we would attend Holy Cross on Sundays before we did our activities. I moved to Sioux Falls after college for my job and Holy Cross was one of the few churches that I was familiar with in Sioux Falls. It was also close to my apartment and it offered an 11 a.m. service which tended to work a little better with my post-college schedule. After attending Holy Cross on a consistent basis, it started to feel like home for my wife and me. Even after we moved out to Harrisburg we felt that Holy Cross was our faith home and where we wanted our children to learn and grow in their faith.
Q. Why do you give to Holy Cross?
Over the years as our family has grown (and I have grown up), we have found that it’s been important for us to be both financially responsible, and also interactive with the church. We have found the more that we have given to the church, the more we receive in return. Being a part of this faith family has truly blessed my family, and we want to make sure others also can enjoy that blessing.
Q. Why is giving to Holy Cross important to you?
Becoming parents has really made us see how important a faith family can be to children and parents alike. Holy Cross not only teaches our kids about God and Jesus but also about how to have a kind heart. They are excited to learn and grow in their faith. I am always in awe about how much my son has learned from Holy Cross preschool. Through the preschool and Sunday school, Cooper’s faith has deepened and he knows God is always with him and Jesus is in his heart. Our oldest daughter (Ellie, 3) always has such joy about Holy Cross (and Ms. Erica). She now requires to end prayers with “and all God’s children say Amen” and then do it in several different voices (Thanks Miss Erica). Holy Cross has helped nurture their child-like faith.
In the last year my wife and I have worked on growing our faith and our connections in Holy Cross. We now do Pub Theology (7 pm Thursday nights at Hy-Vee). Through this we have made some amazing friendships, have created a small faith community and have grown in our faith. It has opened our eyes to other thoughts and ideas, all while connecting God and the bible to what is currently affecting us.
Q. Why did you choose to give electronically through Mogiv?
Originally we had always given via a check. But then found that some Sundays we forgot the check, the envelope or weren’t able to attend church. Truthfully for a while it was the only check that we ever wrote out. After talking with my wife, we decided that it was important that our faith family receive our gifts on a consistent basis. We also recognize through budgeting that continuous and steady income is important. Also, after having number 3 we are just happy to make it to church on time; remembering to write a check and to bring it to church was getting difficult to juggle.
Q. What was your first gift to philanthropy and why?
My first gift of philanthropy was putting pennies in a VBS offering. When I was younger we had a song about pennies and how important gifts to the church are. Ever since then I have also understood the responsibility to give to the church. However, as I have grown up and matured, I have started to better understand how my gifts really do have an impact on those around us.
Q. What are you most proud of in your life?
My family is what I’m most proud of. Once in a while it feels like you have no control and everything is in complete chaos. Then your kids will do something that completely surprises you, and it will give you some hope that you are doing something right and you are making the world a better place.
Q. How does giving to Holy Cross make you feel?
It makes me proud. I feel like I am able to provide for my children, as well as other children and families. Being at Holy Cross has made me realize that comes in all forms -- from screaming kids to quiet prayer. Each holds their importance in our faith family.
Q. What would you like to pass on to Future Generations?
The gift of Faith, and the idea that God is always with you.
Q. Are there other areas in your life where you give or serve?
With kids, our schedules get pretty hectic, so I’m not able to volunteer as much as I would like. However, I have found that every sporting team needs coaches and referees, so I have found that’s going to be my passion for about the next 20 years of my life.
Q. What change would you like to see in the world?
I think the biggest issue in our world is communication. It seems like people have really lost the art of talking and finding the middle ground. Life isn’t perfect and things aren’t always going to go your way, but be open and honest.
Q. What would you say to others about their gifts to Holy Cross?
How important monetary and non-monetary gifts are not only to your family but to other families. Even if it’s only for an hour a week that small amount of home/faith/family can really make a difference in your life; young or old.