Overwhelmed with Gratitude

Bethlehem Lutheran School Helps a Family Facing Cancer

In 2012, Angie Mishler got the devastating news that she had cancer. As a mother to four children, she wondered how she would manage this diagnosis and her children’s needs. She struggled with tough decisions, including whether their family could afford to send their oldest son, Greyson, back to a school he loved–Bethlehem Lutheran School in Ossian.

The Mishlers discovered Bethlehem Lutheran only the year before, and found it was a perfect fit for their son, who struggled at his previous school. The story of how Greyson ended up at Bethlehem is a familiar one for parents who have sought better options for a frustrated learner.

At his previous school, Greyson was a good student, so his parents were confused to see him placed in a fourth grade class with many students who struggled. Angie and husband, Greg, questioned the placement and found their son discouraged by the learning environment that didn’t seem to be a good fit. In sixth grade, Greyson was again placed in a lower level math class. The Mishlers were concerned their son was not being challenged and were told he would be moved to a more advanced math class in seventh grade. But when Angie received the class schedule, Greyson was again denied placement in a more challenging class. The Mishlers were frustrated by the lack of support. That’s when their neighbors stepped in for support.

“We had neighbors who attended [Bethlehem] and they knew what had gone on with Greyson. They said, ‘Have you thought about sending him to Bethlehem? Call the school and meet with them. It can’t hurt.’”

The Mishlers took a tour of the school and discovered Greyson had friends already attending Bethlehem. Angie adds, “It was like we were always meant to be here.”

Seventh grade was so successful for Greyson, the family planned to send him back to Bethlehem the following year. But over the summer, Angie learned the devastating news—she had breast cancer. The family needed to make some sacrifices and agonized over the decision of sending Greyson back to his old school.

“We couldn’t afford the school,” Angie says. “And to know we were going to send him back to public school—it was heartbreaking. I couldn’t bring myself to say it.”

Not long afterward, the Mishlers received a surprise. Their neighbor approached Angie and asked, “Would Greyson be interested in coming to Bethlehem? I know school has already started, but we would like to extend an invitation to come to Bethlehem tuition-free.”

The Mishler family was overwhelmed with gratitude. The school had agreed to make it possible for Greyson to attend Bethlehem.

Since that experience, the Mishler family has come full circle. Angie is now in remission and uses her experience to encourage other women facing cancer. Their younger children now attend Bethlehem Lutheran, like big brother Greyson. Greg and Angie have also joined Bethlehem Lutheran Church as members and say the church’s generous support during their health crisis was instrumental in their decision to become part of the church family.

Through their struggles, Angie sees how the school and church have changed their lives in a lot of ways.

“People think cancer is so horrible, but there are blessings,” Angie says. “It makes you reassess what’s important. The people here exemplify that.”