Rev. Aaron Odya was born to Daniel and Linda Odya on March 20th, 1980 and baptized into the Christian faith on May 4th. He spent his entire life growing up in West Allis, WI, living under the shadow of the old Milwaukee County Stadium.
In his early years, his family was not that active in church. Although he was in Sunday School every week at Nain Ev. Lutheran Church in West Allis, he attended church services very infrequently with his mother and younger sister. His father joined them only on Christmas and Easter; he was not a member of the church. Both he and his sister attended the public school behind their house. Becoming a pastor was not on his mind at all.
Then on the day before his 9th birthday in 1989, something unexpected happened: His mom’s mother suddenly died of a heart attack. The funeral was held at Woodlawn Ev. Lutheran Church in West Allis—the church where Linda grew up at. Seeing so many familiar faces from her childhood reminded her of how much she missed that congregation. So she decided to transfer membership back to Woodlawn.
This death rocked the family. Just a year earlier pastor’s grandfather on his dad’s side had passed away. Daniel realized that he needed to get back into church—both for his own sake and to serve as a positive role-model for his two children. Daniel went through instructions and became a member. From that moment on, the family attended church every week.
At the end of Aaron’s 6th grade year, his parents decided to enroll him at his church’s Christian day school. The plan was to have him receive his catechism classes during the day for two school years before placing him back into public high school.
But the Lord had other plans for Aaron. At the end of his 7th grade year, his class took a field trip to a high school in Watertown, WI he had never heard of before: Northwestern Preparatory School (now called Luther Preparatory School). The mission and purpose of this school is to prepare and encourage young men and women for full-time ministry in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Aaron was blown away that his church had such a specialized school.
At the end of the tour, the tour-guide asked if anyone wanted to go there to be a pastor. Aaron raised his hand. His classmates laughed. He told his parents about it later that day. They also laughed. But as he persisted about his desire to go there to study to be a pastor, his parents began to see that this wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Eventually, he was enrolled there in the fall of 1994. He continued his education at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN in the fall of 1998, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2002. That year, he enrolled at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 2006.
During his vicar (3rd) year of seminary, Aaron served the people of St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fond du Lac, WI. Upon graduation in 2006, he was assigned to St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran church in nearby Eldorado, WI where he was ordained and installed into the public ministry on July 9th, 2006.