Adam and Taryn Ragels feel like their move home to Mitchell was meant to be.
“Things just kept falling into place for us,” said Taryn, the new director of ministries at Fusion Church.
Adam and Taryn got to know each other through music activities at Mitchell High School – they were involved in band and show choir, and ended up in the same circle of friends. They began dating as teenagers, and recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary.
Adam graduated from MHS in 2009 and headed to South Dakota State University. Taryn, class of 2011, went to Augustana University, “not wanting to be the girl who follows her boyfriend to college,” she said.
As she navigated her interests and options for majors, she eventually transferred to SDSU for a major in human development and family studies. At about the same time, Adam was shifting from a music education major to music entrepreneurship.
Taryn’s major allowed her to begin experiencing working with people through good and bad situations.
“I have a passion for social justice and for working with families,” she said. “I thought I’d probably go on for a master’s degree, and thought I wanted to work in a church but didn’t know exactly what that would look like yet.”
A part-time job confirmed that calling.
“I went to work at GracePoint Wesleyan Church after graduating from State, and within nine months, I started in a seminary program.”
Through a distance program – one-third of credits are face-to-face – at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, she will earn her Master of Divinity degree.
Around the same time as Taryn began working at the church, Adam began an internship there. He did stage design, sound design and helped with the worship team. He found that combining music, technology and the church offered meaningful opportunities and additional ways to use his skills outside of his regular work day at Verizon Wireless.
When Adam and Taryn were home for Easter this year, however, a new opportunity presented itself.
“Steve Trefz, the teaching pastor at Fusion, invited me to interview for the director of ministries position,” Taryn said.
The process moved quickly, and when she was offered the position, she thought it sounded like a good fit, but was concerned about whether Adam would find work in Mitchell. Through a family friend, Adam heard that Innovative Systems was looking for support team members, and again, things fell into place.
Adam’s previous service, sales and technology experience aligned with the necessary skills for the spot at Innovative Systems. His position sealed the deal for the couple. By the first week of July, they were Mitchell residents again.
“Everyone has been so welcoming, inviting us to things, and really looking out for us,” said Taryn, whose office is at Dakota Wesleyan University, where she is also involved in the Freshman Ministry program through campus ministries.
Adam has also become involved with Fusion, working on the technological aspects of the worship services and helping with music.
Living in Mitchell as a married, working couple has allowed them to connect with people they already knew, but in new ways.
“One of my coworkers was my English teacher when I was in school,” said Adam.
They’ve also had the opportunity to reengage in some activities from their past – the women’s tennis league for Taryn – and to try something new, too: a coed softball league. Regular dinners with their respective families are an added benefit, as is being in Mitchell to follow Adam’s school-age siblings in their activities now that school has started. They enjoy walking the trails around the lake and cycling for fun and fitness. They have made new friends, too, through Fusion and new work connections.
“Our neighborhood is great, it’s full of life,” said Adam. “Even though it has only been a few years, this isn’t the Mitchell I remember from high school. It’s better.”