Marty’s Story: A Lifetime of Service | Concordia Language Villages

Marty's Story: A Lifetime of Service

“Learn what you want to learn – whatever language it is, whatever science or idea – go after it with your genuine curiosity.”

This is the advice Marty Fankhanel would give to the many young Concordia Language Villages participants, stemming from his family’s culture of volunteerism and Marty’s own interest in learning and sharing on a global level.

An alum of Waldsee, where he is known as JostLes Voyageurs and Lac du Bois, where he is known as Ludo; and Concordia College, Marty is preparing for another journey to share the skills and passion he has acquired through his time at Concordia Language Villages and while growing up in a family with a deep belief in volunteerism. He will be serving 27 months with the Peace Corps.

Marty will be deployed to Albania and will be teaching in some capacity. In preparation, he has been substitute teaching in language classrooms, working with Concordia Language Villages’ Village Weekend programs, and plans to draw on his experiences and knowledge gained while working at the villages to both teach and learn.

Before his actual deployment, he will partake in an intensive language and culture course to lessen the culture shock he might experience trying to acclimate to a new way of life while allowing him to communicate and bond with his colleagues. Marty is confident he will be able to use many of the teaching principles Concordia Language Villages counselors utilize on a daily basis. Whether following the Waldsee mantra of always having a plan and keeping enthusiasm when that plan does not work out, or implementing the interactive method of teaching language proficiency through reading and storytelling (TPRS) that is prolific throughout the Villages, many of his skills will certainly be necessary!

When asked why he felt so strongly about volunteering his time and skills in communities around the world, Marty pointed to his family. From a very young age, he recalls his parents encouraged their children to serve in their communities, to fill the need both locally and globally by giving their time, money or skills where they could.

Leading by example, Pastor Stuart and Judy Fankhanel were involved in Stuart's ministry, sharing their time, expertise and passion both locally and abroad. So it comes as no great surprise that Marty recently served as Team Leader in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). Of his experience in AmeriCorps NCCC, he says it "solidified the simplicity of service." Now taking this next step and serving on a global level, Marty knows whatever expectations he may have for his time with the Peace Corps in Albania, he will be the student for the majority of his service instead of the teacher. He will be learning from his students, host families, mentors and community. Marty will have the opportunity to share language, life experiences and his curiosity for all the possibilities a new culture can bring.