Hand in Handhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/A 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>10/07/2014Building the church in ZimbabweLanny Westphal http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/447http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/447<div class="ExternalClassD53997EC9BCC4127A170DCEC8099E31E"><p>​<img alt="musicians_10-2-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/musicians_10-2-14.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;"><em><font color="#000000">Musicians lead songs of praise and devotion.</font></em></span></p><p><img alt="construction_10-2-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/construction_10-2-14.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;"><em><font color="#000000">Construction has begun on City Centre congregation’s building.</font></em></span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><em><font color="#000000"></font></em></span>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;right;">Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014<br>Bulawayo, Zimbabwe</p><p><img alt="Arnold Moyo_10-2-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Arnold%20Moyo_10-2-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />People began arriving early. Well before the main worship service was scheduled to begin, the rented courtyard was packed with dedicated church members. Dynamic musicians led joy-filled songs of praise and devotion. Then Arnold Moyo, a youth leader, (photo at right) stood up to lead a Bible study on prayer, inviting people to share their reflections on the Lord's Prayer.</p><p>Arnold is a national leader of the Lutheran youth throughout Zimbabwe. Now he also is part of an innovative plan for outreach in his home city of Bulawayo. This city, the second largest in Zimbabwe with 600,000 in population, has several Lutheran congregations on the outskirts which, for the average person, are hard to reach. Just to attend church can require a long ride on two buses, including a transfer and the cost of an extra bus fare. This is money that most cannot afford in a country with a very high unemployment rate.</p><p>So began the vision for the City Centre congregation located in downtown Bulawayo and accessible to all with just one bus ride. The congregation began with 100 members sent from its mother congregation in the north part of the city. These committed Christians began a health team to teach the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV and AIDS. They provide buses for low-wage miners at a gold mine in the nearby countryside to come to church on Sunday. They have already grown to 600 members.</p><p>Now they want to take the next big step forward in faith. Arnold and the other leaders in this City Centre congregation have a vision of reaching out even farther and welcoming even more people into their growing fellowship. They dream of building a multi-purpose building downtown to provide more health programs for the community. They hope to provide &quot;Infohut&quot; education in computer literacy, life skills and health issues such as malaria and HIV and AIDS. And they want a space to welcome up to 1,500 people for worship, conferences, celebrations and classes.</p><p>And they're making it happen. After the worship service ended today, the chair of the development committee told the members that the contractor needed 54 wire meshes to pour the cement floor this week. One by one, members came up front to give what they could. At $37 apiece, these wire meshes were sacrificial gifts in a country where many workers earn only $200 a month. Once the cement floor is poured, the congregation will erect a tent and begin using the site for worship and meetings.</p><p>The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, with 250,000 members led by Presiding Bishop Stephen&#160; Dube, has asked for our help to walk alongside dedicated leaders like Arnold, to help make this dream a reality so that the City Centre congregation will grow from its foundation and open its doors to the whole city. In Zimbabwe, you can make a difference and help to grow God's church. Learn more at <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/zimbabwe"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">https&#58;//community.elca.org/zimbabwe</span></a>.</p></div>10/02/2014Freedom’s responsibilitiesNathan Schmidthttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/445http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/445<div class="ExternalClass178C482ADDFB484E9778488A49AD045C"><p>​<img alt="Cuyatti_9-29-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Cuyatti_9-29-14.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. Patricia Cuyatti preaches during a <br>visit to the Guatemalan Lutheran Church.</font></span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;font-size&#58;12pt;"><font color="#000000"></font></span>&#160;</p><p>The Rev. Patricia Cuyatti is an International Leader whose journey through faith has always been first and foremost built on a journey for discovery. In 1974, when she was 7 years old, she passed by the Alliance Christian Missionary Church near her school in Peru and noticed many children attending the church even when school was out. Wondering, &quot;What are these kids learning about?&quot; she joined in the church's activities the next Sunday, gradually bringing her family into the faith as well. In 1992, she joined the Peruvian Lutheran Evangelical Church as a volunteer and studied at seminary to become one of her church's first ordained pastors and later president of the church. However, she began to ask why more women did not have the opportunity to be ordained and wanted to be able to contribute more to her church and community.</p><p>To gain the opportunity to contribute theologically to her home church, Patricia applied with the endorsement of her church for the ELCA's International Leaders scholarship program.&#160;From 2005 to 2010, she studied at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and earned a Ph.D. in systematic theology. She admires what she calls the program's &quot;rich view&quot; – its international diversity of students. However, the greatest impact of the scholarship program for her came in its ability to open her up to larger perspectives of her faith and the world. Freedom,&quot; she emphasizes, &quot;and the concept of living in freedom with responsibility … really reshaped my life.&quot;</p><p>Patricia holds that responsibility she earned close to her heart. After completing her program, she joined The Lutheran World Federation as the executive secretary for the Latin America and Caribbean desk, helping build relationships between a variety of member churches.&#160;To Patricia, this commitment to the church and community is a natural part of faith. &quot;We are people of faith,&quot; she says.&#160; </p><p>There are many challenges along the way to mutual understanding&#58; Many Latin American women face obstacles in their studies. Forced to choose between their responsibilities to their families and their desire to learn, they continue to struggle for equality and freedom. The ELCA's scholarships have helped international women such as Patricia gain access to education, allowing them to explore new opportunities in life. But even then, International Leaders have the responsibility to return and help their community grow. For her own part, Patricia says, &quot;My plan is to contribute as much as I can to the work and mission of the member churches,&quot; making the most of the gifts God has given her.</p><p>Patricia understands and appreciates the help the ELCA has provided her in her efforts to develop as a leader. &quot;I hope that the ELCA continues thinking about leadership development in other countries,&quot; she says, &quot;because people who are trained go back to their churches – and I hope they go back – or to positions that contribute to their churches.&quot;</p><p>Through <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA,</em> our church has committed to help 200 more international women like Patricia gain access to educational opportunities through the International Leaders program. To make a gift or learn more, visit <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/InternationalLeaders"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/InternationalLeaders</span></a>. </p></div>09/30/2014