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Serving Jesus and Celebrating Students

Meet Jennifer Nutter

Every year, a handful of students gets a written letter from their third grade teacher, celebrating the anniversary of a day most people may not think to celebrate ̶ their spiritual birthday. For over 10 years, third grade teacher Jennifer Nutter has been sending letters to former students who accepted Christ in her classroom.

Jennifer Nutter and Students

The idea came to Nutter organically; she marked a date in her calendar when one student accepted Christ in her class. The following year, she decided a note to this student would be a nice gesture to encourage him in his walk with the Lord. The idea stuck, and Nutter has been doing this ever since. Recently, this same student visited Mrs. Nutter and her classroom on his spiritual birthday with a bouquet of flowers, thanking her for her continuous support and encouragement.

From Student to Teacher

Jennifer Nutter (‘88) has been a part of the Heritage family for over 40 years, having attended Heritage since kindergarten and having taught at Heritage in several stints since the mid-90s. “I consider this my family since I’ve been here since I was five,” she said.

Nutter attended Grace College, where she met her husband of 26 years, Scott. Directly after graduating, she returned to Heritage, this time as a third grade teacher, serving under the leadership of her own former first grade teacher, Elementary Principal Mary Jane English. She taught for five years before taking time off to raise her two children, Jeremy (‘16) and Emily (‘23). After an 11- year hiatus, Nutter returned to Heritage.

Living on Mission

Mrs. Nutter beams when she talks about teaching third grade. “Oh, they’re so much fun!” she said. “I love the age in that they’re able to start thinking for themselves. I always tell the parents that I wish they could be flies on the wall during our Bible discussions because sometimes they say things that even convict me.”

Serving Jesus and celebrating her students are two things Nutter strives to do every day. “I continually thank the Lord for allowing me to serve and give back to the school that without a doubt gave me a solid foundation based on Jesus Christ.”

I always tell the parents that I wish they could be flies on the wall during our Bible discussions because sometimes they say things that even convict me.

Nutter’s enthusiasm for people and the Gospel extends beyond the classroom. In the last decade, the Nutter family has grown to know and love the Indianapolis refugee population. When their children were young, the Nutters decided to buy gifts for a family in need, so they asked around and found a refugee woman with six children.

Discovering that this family had never experienced winter, the Nutters also opted to provide winter clothes and coats for the family.

What started as a kind gesture has since turned into a large operation, and the Nutters began to see similar needs across the entire city. Their church, Eagle Creek Grace Bible Church, and the Heritage community have since become active parts of this ministry as well, providing physical and spiritual needs for refugees around Indianapolis. Nutter leaves her van unlocked in the Heritage parking lot every day so families and students can leave clothes, toys, and household items in her car at any time. Almost every day, she’ll find new items in her van. When her van gets full, she takes the items to a storage unit owned by her church.

Jennifer Nutter with her van full of donations.
Third grade teacher Jennifer Nutter stands by her van, full of donated clothes, toys,and household items for the refugee population in Indianapolis.

On a free Saturday, Nutter will email her students’ families and the elementary teachers to let them know they’ll be making a run.

Whoever is available can meet up at the storage unit, load their cars, and head to an apartment complex on the west side of town, where they present the residents with the donated items. The Nutters and their church have sought to also meet these families’ spiritual needs, so they provide programs for youth and adults at their church.

This all happened just because we wanted to help one family. We were not looking for anything. But you have to be open to what the Lord is showing you.

“God didn’t call me to go across seas, but He’s brought the whole world here,” said Nutter, who is thankful for how God has provided opportunities for her children and students to experience the beauty of different cultures, all in their backyard.

“This all happened just because we wanted to help one family. We were not looking for anything,” said Nutter. “But you have to be open to what the Lord is showing you.”