Hand in Handhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/Greetings from JerusalemJulie Rossatehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/452http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/452<div class="ExternalClass6AED97F33C8D4B26B9EED76DDC7F2825"><p>​<img alt="YAGM_Jerusalem group_10-28-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/YAGM_Jerusalem%20group_10-28-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">The Rev. Rami Abdulmasih (back row, left) of Mother of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Dearborn, Mich., and the visiting Young Adults in Global Mission group.</font></span> </p><p>&#160;</p><p><em>Julie Rossate is the country coordinator for the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) Jerusalem/West Bank program. To support a YAGM, see </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/YAGMsupport"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>www.ELCA.org/YAGMsupport</em></span></a><em>. To support Julie and the associate coordinator, Jeff VonWald, or another of the ELCA's more than 240 missionaries, see </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/globalchurch"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>www.ELCA.org/globalchurch</em></span></a><em>.</em></p><p>Hello from Jerusalem! I am happy to write that the situation here is much improved since our last newsletter in July. We have a ceasefire and we have our new Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteers. It's October, so the weather is becoming cooler. The olives are ripening on the trees, and harvesting has begun. Recently our Muslim neighbors celebrated Eid al Adha, and our Jewish neighbors marked Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. On the political front, while regional conflicts remain – and tensions continue in Jerusalem – the large-scale fighting has ceased between Hamas and Israeli forces. We are extremely thankful for all of these things, while we continue to pray that political leaders will make responsible and life-giving decisions as they move forward.</p><p>We are also thankful to have our 2014-15 group of YAGM volunteers here. Getting them here was a challenge! Learning of significant visa delays, we decided to start the volunteers' orientation to Jerusalem/West Bank from the United States. Jeff and I met the volunteers in Chicago in mid-August, and traveled to Dearborn, Mich., to begin orientation. The Dearborn area has a very large population of Arab-Americans, with many opportunities to explore Arab cultures and to begin language study. One highlight of our stateside orientation was attending the Arabic-speaking ELCA congregation Mother of Our Savior Lutheran Church, led by Pastor Rami Abdulmasih (photo, above).&#160;</p><p>This experience gave the volunteers an introduction to an Arabic worship service. During coffee hour, they made instant friends as they tried out their fledgling Arabic skills with members of the congregation. We give thanks for the Mother of Our Savior congregation's warm welcome, patience and kindness!</p><p>A significant part of orientation is connecting our faith with our experiences. We're so blessed to be surrounded by meaningful sites and generous people. In Beit Sahour is a field associated with the story in the New Testament of a sky full of angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. We went to this field recently, where Kanika Staten (a YAGM) led us in a Bible study of Ruth. It is powerful to contemplate Ruth's situation as a foreigner in a strange land while contemplating one's own status as a foreigner in the same land, also in need of the help of others. </p><p>Orientation is finished now and the YAGM are working in their communities. I'll go into more detail in the future about each YAGM, but here's a brief overview&#58; Kanika Staten serves at Beit Sahour Lutheran School and Bethlehem's Dar al Kalima School; Michael Dickson serves at Mahaba Kindergarten in Jerusalem; Amy Gulliksen serves at Helen Keller School for the Visually Impaired and Other Disabilities, also in Jerusalem; Clare McElaney serves at Hope Lutheran School in Ramallah; finally, Sheldon Way serves at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land's Environmental Education Center. </p><p>We pray that the 2014-2015 YAGM volunteers will continue to see God's grace as they live and grow into their new lives here in Jerusalem/West Bank. If you'd like to follow their lives and learning, follow them in their blogs&#58;</p><ul><li>Amy Gulliksen&#58; <a href="http&#58;//onthisjourneycalledlife.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//onthisjourneycalledlife.com/</span></a> &#160;</li><li>Clare McElaney&#58; <a href="http&#58;//claresabroadadventures.blogspot.com/">http&#58;//claresabroadadventures.blogspot.com/</a> </li><li>Kanika Staten&#58; <a href="http&#58;//kstaten2010.wordpress.com/">http&#58;//kstaten2010.wordpress.com/</a> </li><li>Michael Dickson&#58; <a href="http&#58;//michaelchecksin.blogspot.com/">http&#58;//michaelchecksin.blogspot.com/</a> </li><li>Sheldon Way&#58; <a href="http&#58;//sheldonaway.wordpress.com/">http&#58;//sheldonaway.wordpress.com/</a> </li></ul><p>As always, Jeff and I want to thank you for your support. </p><p>With blessings and peace, <br>Julie and Jeff</p></div>10/28/2014June and Philip Nelson: Going where God callsY. Franklin Ishidahttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/451http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/451<div class="ExternalClass19A3165A5ACF47AEA0F2A11732CFD71B"><p>​<img alt="June and Philip Nelson-video-screenshot_10-21-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/June%20and%20Philip%20Nelson-video-screenshot_10-21-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">For June and Philip Nelson, a year of volunteering in the Central African Republic in 1978 led to a long career of serving as ELCA missionaries in Africa, most recently in Cameroon from 2006-2014. June says, “Global service has meant to me going where God calls.” Philip adds, “Mission service has formed me, given me a life, given me an understanding of myself and those around me.” To hear a little about their life of service in the global church, click </font><a href="http&#58;//youtu.be/4r_hJwOw3fw?"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">here</font></span></a><font color="#000000"> to watch a short video. To support another of the ELCA’s more than 240 missionaries, </font></span><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">go</font></span><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"> </font><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff">here</font></span></span></a><font color="#000000">. <br style=""> <br style=""> </font></span></p></div>10/21/2014A lesson in givingRich Duncanhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/450http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/450<div class="ExternalClass63DFBA692FC64C7EBD10C23478E47683"><p>​<img alt="NkalaAndLitsu_10-17-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/NkalaAndLitsu_10-17-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;11pt;"><font color="#000000">The Rev. Alson Nkala, left,&#160;and evangelist Litu of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe<span>&#160;</span>Bulawayo City Centre congregation.</font></span></p><p><em><br>Rich Duncan is the ELCA's director of Mission Funding.</em></p><p>I have been a fundraiser for over half my professional life. I had a football coach once tell me he could never ask people for money. I responded that I could never place the future of my career on the athletic performance of 18 to 24 year olds. He smiled and said, &quot;We are all called to serve in different ways, aren't we?&quot;</p><p>I've been blessed to work with some incredible people that wanted to make a difference – people moved to participate in the joy of giving, caring people of various levels of financial capacity. Everyone can make a difference, and it takes everyone to make a difference. That became more real to me this month than it has been ever&#160;before.</p><p>I was one of the ELCA team to visit Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania to see the work of our Lutheran partners in those counties. It is humbling to walk with these colleagues and share in their joys and challenges. One of the projects the ELCA and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe have worked on together is the Bulawayo City Centre congregation. This new facility will be a church that will hold 1,500 people and serve an entire community with evangelism, malaria and HIV and AIDS awareness outreach.</p><p>I have NEVER sat through a three hour church service – until that Sunday.&#160; For a person with self-diagnosed adult ADD, I have a difficult time sitting through an hour-long service let alone a three-hour marathon of Bible study, song, sermon and fundraising. It went incredibly fast. I was enthralled with the joy, hope and celebration of Christ in their lives. </p><p>We were told that there is 90 percent unemployment in Zimbabwe. And this community of Lutherans reaches out to a population in an urban area as well as those they call marginalized at &quot;Old Nic Mines.&quot; So, those we would consider marginalized spend their outreach money on others. It is truly humbling and reassuring that Lutherans understand outreach and practice it to a point of sacrifice.</p><p>After the service the delegation from the ELCA and the Bulawayo City Centre congregation went to the building site for the new facility. We looked at plans. We walked the property, and we saw a vision of the future together. Then we held hands and prayed for the future of the church. We prayed for each other and our ministries. Afterward the man to my immediate right came up to me with an envelope in hand. He wasn't at the service but was at the meetings afterward. He explained that he was a part of the outreach of the Bulawayo City Centre congregation as an evangelist. He then said he felt a &quot;surge of energy&quot; when he held my hand during the prayer. He felt called to give me the money he had collected.&#160;He said, &quot;Here is $50. I want you to have it for your mission and ministry. God has told me to give this to you.&quot; </p><p>How humbling. I was there to find ways to learn about and find financial support for their ministry and he was trying to give me money for the ELCA. Fifty dollars is a small fortune to this man. I have never turned down a cash gift – until that day. I told him to give it to their pastor for the City Centre project because that is what I would do with the funds. I had to walk away to compose myself. This was an amazing way to be introduced to the selfless, giving nature of these faithful Lutherans representing our faith in action better than most of us.</p><p><em>For more on the team's visit to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, see </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/446"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>www.ELCA.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/446</em></span></a>&#160;<em>and</em>&#160;<em><span style="color&#58;#444444;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;10pt;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/447"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><font color="#0000ff"><em>www.ELCA.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/447</em></font></span></a></span><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;11pt;"><em><font color="#000000">.</font></em></span>&#160; </em></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;11pt;"><font color="#000000"></font></span>&#160;</p></div>10/17/2014Trip to Zimbabwe, Zambia and TanzaniaSponsored by ELCA Global Church Sponsorship as part of Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA, Sept. 25-Oct. 10, 2014http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/446http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/446<div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><p dir="ltr" style="text-align&#58;left;"> <span style="font-size&#58;12pt;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">Oct. 15, 2014<br><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height&#58;107%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;24pt;"><font color="#000000"><strong>New ministries in Zimbabwe, Zambia</strong></font></span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height&#58;107%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><font color="#000000"><img width="400" height="274" alt="computer station_10-16-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/computer%20station_10-16-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height&#58;107%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><font color="#000000"><em>A converted shipping container in Burure, Zimbabwe, is home to 20 computers used by elementary and high school students.</em></font></span></font></span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;12pt;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height&#58;107%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><font color="#000000"><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height&#58;107%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><font color="#000000"><br>By Philip Knutson</font></span></font></span></span></span></p></span><p><em></em>&#160;</p><p><em>Philip Knutson is the ELCA Global Mission regional representative for Southern Africa.</em></p><p>Recently I was privileged to accompany a delegation of six representatives of the ELCA on a Global Church Sponsorship visit to Zimbabwe and Zambia to learn more about programs and ministries supported through <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The</em> <em>Campaign for the ELCA</em> and ELCA Global Church Sponsorship. &#160;</p><p><em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> seeks to raise $198 million in support of new and expanded churchwide ministries around the world including renewing and establishing new congregations and supporting programs for Disability Ministries, Youth and Young Adults, World Hunger, Malaria, International Leaders, Missionaries and Young Adults in Global Mission.&#160; See more at&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Campaign-for-the-ELCA/"><span lang="EN-ZA" style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/en/Campaign-for-the-ELCA/</span></a>.</p><p>We traveled to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe to see and hear about the progress in the building of a new church downtown as part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe's church growth strategy. (Learn more about this new church at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/447"><span lang="EN-ZA" style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/447</span></a> and <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/450"><span lang="EN-ZA" style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/450</span></a>.) Led by Mr. M. Dube, general secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, we also visited the rural community of Burure In the north-central part of the country where the ELCA has assisted in building a clinic, which serves more than 7,000 people in the area. The malaria program officer also has an office near the clinic. The Infohut project in Burure, with 20 computers housed in a converted shipping container, enables elementary and high school pupils to learn vital life skills and gain knowledge about HIV and AIDS, peace building and computer technology.</p><p>In Zambia we traveled with the senior pastor, the Rev. Alfred Chana, from the capital city of Lusaka to the bustling copper mining city of Kitwe to visit the site of the new church building for the Mindolo congregation. The local pastor and members of the congregation showed us the recently laid concrete foundation and reported that the women of the congregation are busy raising funds as their contribution to the building of the new church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia has 35 congregations and five preaching points spread across six provinces. Of these 40 worshiping places, only four have permanent, brick structures with corrugated iron roofing. As a companion to Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia, the ELCA has included the proposal as part of <em>The Campaign for the ELCA </em>to support building 15 new churches as well as a church office and training center on the outskirts of Lusaka. For more information, visit <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/globalchurch"><span lang="EN-ZA" style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/globalchurch</span></a>.</p><p>Once again thank you for your continuing prayers and support and your participation in God's Mission through the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship Program and <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em>.</p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><p>--------------------</p><p> <span style="font-size&#58;24px;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Oct. 8, 2014<br><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;24pt;"><font color="#000000"><strong>Traveling with the eyes of God</strong></font></span><br><img alt="group in bush_10-14-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/group%20in%20bush_10-14-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></font></span></span><span style="font-size&#58;24px;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"><em>Great Rift Valley, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania<br></em></font></span><br></font></span></span><span style="font-size&#58;13pt;"><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><font color="#000000">By Kathleen Rudrud</font></span></span></p><p>The following&#160;words by Henri Nouwen, &quot;Traveling with the Eyes of God,&quot; provide a good closing devotional thought to the six of us as we prepare to return from the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship trip to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania in Africa&#58;</p><p>&quot;Traveling -- seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people -- is exciting and exhilarating. But when we have no home to return to where someone will ask us, &quot;How was your trip?&quot; we might be less eager to go. Traveling is joyful when we travel with the eyes and ears of those who love us, who want to see our slides and hear our stories.</p><p>&quot;This is what life is about. It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made. When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people -- and be happy to return home.&quot;</p><p>--------------------<br></p><p>Oct. 6, 2014&#160;</p></span></div><div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A"> <span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"><span style="font-size&#58;24pt;"><strong>A historic church in Tanzania</strong></span><br><br><img alt="group_10-14-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/group_10-14-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><em>While on our way to visit ELCA missionaries Mark and Linda Jacobson, our travel group stoped at a memorial adjoining a historic church built in Tanzania in 1904. We are in Tanzania to learn about missionaries and ministries supported through&#160;</em><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Always Being Made New&#58;&#160;The Campaign for the ELCA</font></span><em> and ELCA Global Church Sponsorship. See </em> <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/Tanzania"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> <em>https&#58;//community.elca.org/Tanzania</em></span></a><em>.</em></font></span></div><div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A"> <span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"></font></span>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A"> <span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">--------------------</font></span></div><div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A">&#160;<br>Sept. 26, 2014&#160;</div> <span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><br> <div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A"> <span style="font-size&#58;24px;"><strong>ELCA group arrives in South Africa</strong></span></div> <div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A"><p> <img alt="group at airport_9-28-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/group%20at%20airport_9-28-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"><em>Five of the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship visitors to Africa en route to Zimbabwe are, left to right&#58; the Rev. Steve Herder; Kathleen Rudrud; Pam Galster from Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks, Calif., holding a photo of students from the Ascension Lutheran School; Rich Duncan from ELCA Mission Funding in Chicago; and the Rev. Michael Sparby from Edison Park Lutheran Church in Chicago. Not pictured is the Rev. Lanny Westphal, ELCA Global Church Sponsorship in Chicago.</em><span>&#160;</span></font></span><em>&#160; </em></p><p>By Lanny Westphal&#160;</p><p>The six ELCA visitors to Africa landed safely in Johannesburg, South Africa!&#160; From there they are heading to Zimbabwe to learn more about exciting new outreach ministries in the city of Bulawayo and the rural area near Burure that will be funded through a priority appeal in <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Campaign-for-the-ELCA"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em></span></a><em>.</em>&#160;&#160;</p></div></span> <div class="ExternalClass04365608D7B74A2C93F702F81F1C0C3A">&#160;</div>10/16/2014Cookies and accompanimentMaddie Tallmanhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/449http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/449<div class="ExternalClass2480A796DDEF47B4ADA4CA49F5A227DA"><p>​<img alt="Maddie Tallman_10-14-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Maddie%20Tallman_10-14-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000">Maddie Tallman, right, with some of the people she works with at El Arca Argentina.</font></span> </p><p><em>Maddie Tallman is spending a year in Argentina with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program. To learn how to sponsor a participant, see </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/YAGMsupport"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>www.ELCA.org/YAGMsupport</em></span></a><em> or contact </em><a href="mailto&#58;globalchurch@elca.org"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>globalchurch@elca.org</em></span></a><em>.</em></p><p>Cookies, of all things, have been a surprisingly instrumental tool in showing me the path of accompaniment.</p><p>The word &quot;accompaniment&quot; was used a lot during both (YAGM) orientations. As missionaries with the ELCA, we are called to live in mutual accompaniment with our host communities. To paraphrase very informally&#58; I bring what I can to the table, you bring what you can, and we all grow together because of it. This concept really excited me! It was so vastly different from the connotation that &quot;missionary&quot; has had in the past. As we prepared to enter our placement sites, I was ready to accompany.</p><p>On my second day at El Arca, Sandra, an assistant in the workshop center, asked me, &quot;Can you <em>accompany</em> Dani to sell the cookies we made yesterday?&quot; She literally said &quot;accompany&quot;! (Well, she literally<em> </em>said &quot;acompañas.&quot;)</p><p>But this was it! This was the exact moment I had been preparing for during orientation, and it was going to happen on the second day. I was accompanying!</p><p>I had no idea where we were supposed to sell these cookies that we had made and packaged the morning before. Sandra said Dani, a participant who's been coming to El Arca since it's principal days, knew where to go, so I followed.</p><p>Dani entered the &quot;kiosko&quot; (sort of like a convenient store) across the street with our basket of cookies. <em>Oh no, the store owner is going to get so mad that we're in here trying to sell </em>our <em>food in </em>his <em>store. </em>I thought.<em> He's going to kick us out and it'll be traumatizing!</em></p><p>Well, I was wrong. We exchanged pleasantries, and the two people behind the counter gawked at the basket, asking for three bags. <em>What? How is this happening? </em>I had no idea.</p><p>We left the kiosko with three less bags and 15 more pesos than we entered, walked next door to the &quot;farmacia&quot; (pharmacy/beauty store) and the same thing happened.</p><p>We did this approximately a dozen more times. As we wound our way through Boulogne, it was not long before I realized I had no idea how to get back to the workshop center. Dani walked with such certainty that I didn't even think twice about it. As we approached the workshop center after having sold all the cookies, it struck me that I wasn't the one accompanying here, I was <em>being accompanied. </em>Dani was the one accompanying me through the town, not the other way around, and not even on a mutual level.</p><p>My first few weeks had (and often still have) been very similar to this – most of the time I feel like I was/am being<em> </em>accompanied by members of my host community. But as someone who was still very new to this culture, I was/am so grateful and appreciative of the fact that my community around me was willing pull the extra weight. </p><p>At this point, the &quot;mutual&quot; aspect of &quot;mutual accompaniment&quot; is starting to push through – and with what else, but cookies.</p><p>Maria, an older Chilean woman who lives in my house and one of the nicest people I've met so far, often offers me food that she's prepared. In my stay so far, multiple times she's given me&#160; empanadas, tortas fritas, baked apples and other desserts. She's so happy to share what she's created, and I'm so happy for her kindness (and her excellent cooking!).</p><p>The other day, I was finally able to make something that I felt worthy enough to be shared with Maria. I normally make a lot of soups and pasta – not really the easiest thing to share or necessarily good enough either. But after finding a bag of chocolate chips in the store, I made an old classic that I've made a hundred times before.</p><p>&quot;Ah, gracias!&quot; Maria said when I handed her a napkin with three cookies. &quot;What are these?&quot;</p><p>I don't think I've ever met someone who didn't know what a chocolate chip cookie was upon seeing it. I knew chocolate chips weren't too common around here, but that surprised me. Chocolate chip cookies were as normal a thing as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! (Well, that's also not a common food in Argentina).</p><p>But it finally seems like I am bringing my own to the table. What a wonderful feeling it is to give back, ever so slightly, after having received so much hospitality and warmth! I'm just so excited, much like I was in orientation, for the exchanges that will occur during my time here – what will I give of mine and what will I receive of yours? I guess it's all part of the journey.</p></div>10/14/2014YAGMs in Mexico and ‘the excluded ones’Lindsay Mackhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/448http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/448<div class="ExternalClass15DFC41D98674CDA91A31E63BC157949"><p>​<img alt="paper balloon_10-7-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/paper%20balloon_10-7-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br>In rural Ayotzinapan, Mexico, children make and release paper balloons.</p><p><em>The </em><em>Rev. Lindsay Mack and Omar Turcios Mixco </em><em>are the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program coordinators in Mexico. To learn how&#160;you can support Lindsay and Omar or a YAGM participant, see </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/YAGMsupport"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>www.ELCA.org/YAGMsupport</em></span></a><em> or contact </em><a href="mailto&#58;globalchurch@elca.org"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>globalchurch@elca.org</em></span></a><em>.&#160;</em>&#160;</p><p>Dear friends, </p><p>Greetings from Mexico! We write to you fresh off 19 full days of orientation with our new group of volunteers! As we've now come to expect, orientation is a bit of a whirlwind of activities, but it is also loads of fun getting to know our new group and beginning to build community. </p><p>As we begin our second year as coordinators, we continue to try to strengthen the program, which has been through a lot of changes since we began. It is a continual learning experience! Fortunately, a strong Young Adults in Global Mission Mexico network of non-profits, church connections and caring families was left to us by previous country coordinators. We're immensely grateful for this network, which&#160;has helped us to develop six new worksites and five new home-stay families this year. All this newness in our program has kept us quite busy over the last few months. As with many things in Mexico, it has been a process of relationship building, family meals and conversation around the table, phone calls, afternoon coffees and chatting and a whole lotta faith, which has helped these new sites and homes be ready to receive a new volunteer. </p><p>When I served as missionary in Honduras almost 10 years ago, the Honduran church struggled to be a place &quot;donde quepa el/la excluido/a&quot; or &quot;where the excluded one has a place.&quot; That phrase has stuck with us, and Omar and I often bring up this saying in our work as coordinators. We try to ask each other, our volunteers and the people from our Mexican community, &quot;Who are the excluded ones?&quot; </p><p>This question led us to develop some different work sites for our volunteers this year. We felt it was important to get&#160;more of our volunteers out of the city and into some smaller towns and rural communities. After all, although many Mexicans are migrating to the cities, a large portion of the population is still rural and farms corn and coffee. So, while one of our volunteers in Mexico City lives with a working-class family close to an area called &quot;Santa Fe,&quot; which is a modern, sleek, manicured part of Mexico City filled with skyscrapers, powerful businesses, money and expensive cars, another volunteer will work this year in a rural community steeped in rich indigenous tradition where people grow coffee, corn, vanilla, black peppercorns, honey and cinnamon. The contrast between these two places – a contrast so characteristic of Mexico – couldn't be greater and that makes us excited! </p><p>Throughout the orientation over the last weeks, we had the opportunity to visit all of the YAGM volunteer service sites. Although we could talk for hours about each one of our sites, here's a brief look at several of the worksites to give you an idea of what our crew will be up to. </p><p>We started off our time with a visit to one of two migrant shelters where our volunteers will work this year, Tochan Nuestra Casa. During our visit, we listened to the migrants' stories and also enjoyed an impressive birthday rap given by Emiliano, a young migrant, for two of our volunteers who had recently had birthdays. </p><p>We also visited with la Jugareta, an organization that promotes reading, literacy and the right of the child to play. In our visit to rural Ayotzinapan, we visited Se Sentanemililis, a library and community center far up in the mountains about seven hours northeast of Mexico City. Here we were warmly welcomed and participated in an activity with local children making paper balloons, &#160;which are traditionally made on Day of the Dead and released into the sky. The balloons or &quot;globos&quot; help the deceased who have come to visit or those who have recently died to find their way back up &quot;into the sky.&quot; </p><p>Another of our new worksites in the city of Puebla strives to include people who are socially excluded because of a physical disability by providing job training, coaching and self-esteem workshops. </p><p>In our work with the young adults who participate in the YAGM Mexico program, we are continually reminded what a privilege it is to walk along side these young people and Mexican communities. </p><p>Omar continues to enjoy and be challenged by his work as director of La Frontera Ministries. The current challenges on the U.S./Mexico border have opened up unexpected spaces to converse about issues of migration and the struggle to build bridges of understanding between the United States and Mexico. </p><p>We are grateful for your continued support and encouragement! </p><p>Every blessing, <br>Lindsay and Omar </p></div>10/07/2014