Hand in Handhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/Give gifts to grow the global church!Lanny Westphal, director of ELCA Global Church Sponsorshiphttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/470http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/470<div class="ExternalClassF440CAF30C0E4D1EB892684928A444AF"><p>​</p><div class="ExternalClass3D276B15262644F380D74DF2FBA1A4D6"><p> <img alt="header_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/header_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />​</p><p>Dear Friend in Christ,</p><p>Advent greetings! During this season of hope, I'd like to thank you for your support. Because of your prayers and gifts through <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/page.redir?target=http&#58;//elca.org/globalchurch&amp;srcid=60542&amp;srctid=1&amp;erid=10560021&amp;trid=797173e9-4cfc-4c6f-b05f-6c36ec6945a2">ELCA Global Church Sponsorship</a>, the church is growing around the world!<br><br>As we approach the end of the year, your gifts are needed more than ever. And now there's an easy way to help!<br><br>Shop <strong>ELCA Good Gifts listed below</strong> for gifts that grow the global church – and at the same time honor your family, friends and loved ones. </p><p> <strong>Will you make a difference today in support of Christ's global church? Give an ELCA Good Gift to someone you love! </strong></p><p>In Christ,<br>Pastor Lanny Westphal,<br>Director, ELCA Global Church Sponsorship</p><p> <em>P.S. With every ELCA Good Gift you order, you'll receive a free card to announce your gift!</em></p><p> <img alt="YAGM_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/YAGM_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;float&#58;left;" />Make a gift to help young missionaries like Luke to serve alongside our companions in Mexico. Click <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/ELCAGoodGifts">here</a> for the ELCA Good Gifts catalog. Click <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/GoodGifts-Leadership?&amp;nccsm=21&amp;__nccspID=1127">here</a> to help a young missionary.<br> <br> <img alt="NewCong_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/NewCong_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;float&#58;right;" />Make a gift to help expanding churches like the Lutheran Church in Liberia construct buildings for Sunday services. Click <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/ELCAGoodGifts">here</a> for the ELCA Good Gifts catalog. Click <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/GoodGifts-Grow-the-church?&amp;nccsm=21&amp;__nccspID=1123">here</a> to help expanding churches.<br> <br> <img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/IntLeaders_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" alt="IntLeaders_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;float&#58;left;" />Make a gift to help International Leaders – Women like Christine advance their education to serve the global Lutheran church. Click <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/ELCAGoodGifts">here</a> for the ELCA Good Gifts catalog. Click <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/GoodGifts-Leadership?&amp;nccsm=21&amp;__nccspID=1131">here</a> to help International Leaders – Women.&#160; <br></p><p><strong>You can also make a gift where it is needed most</strong>!</p><p>Make a check out to ELCA Global Church Sponsorship and mail it to&#58; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield, VA, 22116-8009</p><p>Or call 800-638-3522, ext. 2657</p><p>Or give online at <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/globalchurch">ELCA.org/globalchurch/donate</a>.</p><p> <em>To request an &quot;In honor of&quot; card for gifts where needed most, email </em> <a href="mailto&#58;globalchurch@elca.org"> <em>globalchurch@elca.org</em></a><em>. </em></p><p> <img alt="AnnounceGift_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/AnnounceGift_GoodGifts_12-18-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> <em></em></p><p>&#160;</p></div></div>12/18/2014David and Mary Kuck: Service in the Caribbean Y. Franklin Ishidahttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/467http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/467<div class="ExternalClassB1E15B3F92224A6F9F394EA4BB6D3736"> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/David-Mary_Kuck%20screenshot_12-16-14.jpg" alt="David-Mary_Kuck screenshot_12-16-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />David and Mary Kuck were ELCA missionaries in Jamaica from 1991 to 2014. “It was a wonderful adventure and strengthened my faith in ways I never imagined,” says Mary, who taught English and communications. David, who taught at an ecumenical seminary, adds that “the diversity of teaching experiences that I had was a wonderful thing.” To watch a short video and hear more about their experiences as workers in the global church, click <a href="http&#58;//youtu.be/8zVKIe0n2ps">here</a>. To support another of the ELCA’s more than 240 missionaries,&#160;go&#160;<a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship">here</a>.</p> </div>12/16/2014Advent amid protests in Hong KongCarolyn Schneiderhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/464http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/464<div class="ExternalClassDF19FABC065D43ABA9F9FAD62139A94D"><p>​<img alt="pastors_Hong Kong_12-9-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/pastors_Hong%20Kong_12-9-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br>At the 60<sup>th</sup> anniversary celebration, the pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong send us out in peace.</p><p><em><br>ELCA missionary Carolyn Schneider teaches church history at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong to help prepare leaders not only for the Lutheran Church of Hong Kong but also for churches of the broader region in China and southeastern Asia. To support Carolyn, please see the information at the bottom of this page. To support another of the ELCA's more than 240 missionaries in the global church, </em><em>click </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship"><em>here</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>Dec. 1, 2014</p><p>Dear friends and companions in mission,</p><p>It is now the first week of Advent and the air is just turning chilly here in Hong Kong. &quot;Chilly&quot; means 13 degrees Celsius (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit). Life in Hong Kong these days goes on with a mix of everyday-ness, protest, and celebration. For me, the everyday-ness means teaching the last two weeks of classes at the seminary before the Christmas break and taking exams myself as a student of Mandarin Chinese (called Putonghua).</p><p>For me, the protest means paying attention to the local news so that I am aware of what is happening on the streets of Hong Kong. Police are trying to clear protest sites so that transportation and normal business can resume in those areas, and protesters are considering the best way to ensure that elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's chief executive are open and democratic. These events are very painful for Hong Kong people because they are a sign of discord in the community rather than harmony. Neither Hong Kong itself not its churches is accustomed to public discord, and so finding ways to talk about the issues is very hard. The churches, seminaries, students and staff are all struggling toward this. Please join them in prayer for a healthy resolution and a good future for Hong Kong.</p><p>In the meantime, though, Christians don't forget to celebrate God's gifts to them. I have attended two big celebrations in the past two months. First, on Oct. 18-19, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong celebrated its 60<sup>th</sup> anniversary with a big worship service at the Hong Kong Coliseum, with all of its congregations present.<img src="file&#58;///C&#58;/Users/Bruce/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.png" alt="" style="width&#58;441px;margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;It was a joyful time of songs, liturgical dance, and preaching from Bishop Ben Cheung about how the risen Jesus accompanies us as he accompanied his first disciples. The text was Luke 24&#58;13-35, where Jesus walks with his disciples, discussing his death and resurrection from the Scriptures and then revealing himself to them as he breaks bread for supper in Emmaus.</p><p>The second celebration was just last week, Nov. 28. Annually, the seminary hosts Founders' Day to commemorate its anniversary. This was year 101. The seminary began in Hubei, China, in 1913, but war caused it (and thousands of refugees) to move to Hong Kong in 1948, where it had two other homes before the present campus was built in 1992. Included in the present design were the 121 steps that I climb each morning to get to the campus. </p><p>The 121 steps are meant to be a reminder of Psalm 121, which we also remembered as we spoke the psalm during our worship last Friday night. It is a good blessing with which to leave you as you go about your daily lives this Advent, perhaps with a mix of protest and celebration. Here is a photo of Psalm 121 from the worship bulletin, in Chinese and English.</p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Psalm%20121_hong%20kong_12-9-14.jpg" alt="Psalm 121_hong kong_12-9-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> Carolyn Schneider</p><p>P.S. Your support makes a world of difference. Here is how to give&#58; </p><p>By check&#58; Make payable to &quot;ELCA Global Church Sponsorship&quot; with &quot;Carolyn Schneider (GCS2016)&quot; in the memo line. Give through your synod office or mail your check to&#58; </p><p>ELCA Global Church Sponsorship<br>ELCA Gift Processing Center<br>P.O. Box 1809<br>Merrifield, VA 22116-8009</p><p>By credit or debit card&#58; See <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/HongKong">https&#58;//community.elca.org/HongKong</a> or call 800-638-3522 and specify &quot;Carolyn Schneider (GCS2016).&quot;</p><p>By automatic monthly bank withdrawal, or to establish a covenant of prayer, communication and support&#58; Contact 800-638-3522, ext. 2657, or <a href="mailto&#58;globalchurch@elca.org">globalchurch@elca.org</a>.</p></div>12/09/2014Trees for healing in RwandaKate Warnhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/461http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/461<div class="ExternalClass453D6321F002489692AFB79860667638"><p>​<img alt="tree_Rwanda_12-2-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/tree_Rwanda_12-2-14.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;11pt;"><em><font color="#000000">Bishop Mugabo and Lutheran Church of Rwanda leaders bless the newly planted tree.</font></em></span></p><p> <em> <br>Kate Warn is an ELCA missionary in Rwanda and is the country coordinator for the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Mission program in Rwanda. To support Kate, click </em> <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/Rwanda"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> <em>here</em></span></a><em>. To support another of the ELCA's more than 240 missionaries in the global church, click </em> <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> <em>here</em></span></a><em>.</em></p><p>In November. the Lutheran Church of Rwanda celebrated its 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary. To mark the occasion, &#160;members gathered in southeast Rwanda near the border with Tanzania in the town where the first Lutheran congregation was established in 1994 by refugees returning from exile. Two trees were planted for the anniversary&#58;&#160; one tree to commemorate 20 years of Lutheran ministry in Rwanda and one tree to symbolize the Lutheran Church of Rwanda's connection to the global Lutheran community.</p><p>When I think about planting trees in the Rwandan context, I think about a vision described in Revelation 22&#58;1-2&#58;&#160; &quot;Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life … flowing from the throne of God. … On either side of the river is the tree of life … <strong>and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of nations</strong>.&quot;&#160; </p><p>For many years, Rwanda has been a nation in need of healing and reconciliation. But how does a nation heal from the wounds of genocide and exile? And what is the role of the church in such healing? These questions continue to frame mission and ministry here in this place.</p><p>In many ways, the stories of Rwanda's recovery from genocide and the Lutheran Church of Rwanda's growth over the past 20 years are quite remarkable. From the ashes of death and destruction in Rwanda, there has been new life. Rwanda is at peace and rapidly developing. A church founded by refugees now has more than 40 congregations, 26 pastors, and a vision for a sustainable future.&#160; </p><p>Still, the wounds of genocide and exile are deep, and the need for healing remains in Rwanda. As the Lutheran Church of Rwanda planted trees this week to mark the past, this church also proclaims a commitment to God's mission of redemption and reconciliation. &quot;The leaves of the tree are for the healing of nations.&quot;&#160; May it be so in Rwanda.</p></div>12/02/2014Global Church SundayLanny Westphal, director of ELCA Global Church Sponsorshiphttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/463http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/463<div class="ExternalClass21DDEF64F31D40C6BBCB0C656B5D6B92"><p>Plan a Global Church Sunday in your congregation to highlight and celebrate ELCA ministries with the global church. Find resources at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/resources/globalchurch"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/resources/globalchurch</span></a>.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>Nov. 23, 2014<br> <strong><img alt="Global Sunday display_12-2-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Global%20Sunday%20display_12-2-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Focus on Siberia&#58;</strong><strong>&#160; </strong> <strong>Equipping the Faithful</strong><br><strong> </strong>Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa, Minn., held a Global Church Sunday with international music and prayers from the <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Global_Church_Sunday_"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">toolkit</span></a>. The focus of the message and adult forum was on the <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/453"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Equipping the Faithful</span></a> seminars, which began in Siberia and have since been expanded across Russia, led by ELCA missionary Bradn Buerkle. The congregation's endowment made a gift for this &quot;Equipping&quot; appeal which is an initiative of <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/campaign"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> <em>Always Being Made New&#58;</em></span><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>&#160; </em></span> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em></span></a>.</p> <br> <p>Sept. 2, 2014</p><p> <strong>Global Church Sunday toolkit now available</strong><br><strong> </strong><img alt="Global Church Sunday logo-small_12-2-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Global%20Church%20Sunday%20logo-small_12-2-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Has your congregation started planning a Global Church Sunday celebration? Consider coordinating your Global Church Sunday celebration on Sept. 21 (International Day of Peace), Oct. 5 (World Communion Sunday) or Oct. 26 (Lutheran World Federation Sunday).</p><p>Download the new toolkit and learn how to plan Global Church Sunday and find ideas at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/resources/globalchurch%3chttp&#58;/www.ELCA.org/resources/globalchurch"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/resources/globalchurch</span></a>! The toolkit has everything from global inspired coffee-hour ideas, to contacting a <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship/Supporting-Young-Adults-in-Global-Mission"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Young Adult in Global Mission, </span></a>&#160;to discussion questions about the global church. Here is a sample of the Global Church Sunday toolkit. Go to the toolkit for more ideas.</p><p>- The ELCA belongs to <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranworld.org/"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">The Lutheran World Federation</span></a>, a global communion representing over 72 million Christians in 79 countries<strong>. </strong>Have a <strong>discussion</strong> about how your congregation is connected with the global church. How can your congregation become more connected with the global church?</p><p>- The free downloadable <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_GCS_Placemap.pdf"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Global Church PlaceMaps</span></a> are a great way to highlight our connections during <strong>coffee hour</strong>. You can print them out on 11x17 paper on your printer or <a href="http&#58;//resources.elca.org/Products-Global_Mission.html"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">order copies</span></a> to be mailed to you. Consider offering fair-trade coffee, tea and chocolate or other treats from around the world. Or you could have a fair-trade fair on Global Church Sunday.<br> - Collect a <strong>special offering</strong> during worship to support <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship/Supporting-Missionaries"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Missionaries</span></a>, <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship/Supporting-Young-Adults-in-Global-Mission"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Young Adults in Global Mission</span></a>, <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship/Supporting-International-Leaders-and-Scholarships"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">International Leaders</span></a> or <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship/Supporting-Global-Ministries"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">global ministry</span></a>. Order free <a href="http&#58;//resources.elca.org/Products-Global_Mission.html"> <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">global offering envelopes</span></a> to use on Global Church Sunday.</p><p>-Incorporate global inspired music, liturgy, prayers or art into a <strong>global-themed worship</strong> service. </p> <font color="#000000"> <font color="#000000"></font></font></div>11/30/2014International Leaders – WomenLanny Westphal, director of ELCA Global Church Sponsorshiphttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/445http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/445<div class="ExternalClass178C482ADDFB484E9778488A49AD045C"><p>Read on for updates on International Leaders – Women (GCS5000), an ELCA Global Church Sponsorship initiative that is part of <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em> to equip more than 200 additional international women leaders through increased scholarships and educational opportunities. To learn more or make a gift, click <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship/Supporting-International-Leaders-and-Scholarships"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>.</p><p>----------</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">Nov. 24, 2014</font></span><br><br><img alt="women leaders_group_11-27-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/women%20leaders_group_11-27-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><em>International women leaders from around the world gathered in Germany.</em> </p><p><strong>International women leaders discuss Lutheran identity, leadership<br></strong><br>CHICAGO (ELCA) – Women leaders from across the Global South discussed the role and contribution of women in church and society as part of an annual seminar supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) International Leaders–Women program. The seminar, which took place Oct. 26 to Nov. 1 in Wittenberg, Germany, hosted 13 women leaders from Mexico, India, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar, Palestine, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Hungary.<br><br><img alt="women leaders_3 pastors_11-27-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/women%20leaders_3%20pastors_11-27-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Over the course of the event, the women read and discussed excerpts from Martin Luther's writings, learned the stories of women of the Reformation including Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther, and shared the experiences and contributions of women in each of the participants' home country and church. Many of the women were paired with other leaders from their home countries (one established leader and one younger woman with leadership potential) to encourage continued mentoring and networking beyond the seminar. In addition to in-classroom discussion, the women visited the sites of Wittenberg, the grave of Katharina von Bora in Torgau, and a special exhibition titled &quot;A Strong Women's History&#58; 500 Years of Reformation&quot; in Rochlitz.<br><br>&quot;The Reformation women and the group we had together this week has strengthened my faith and given me hope that no matter what challenges we face, we can still move forward. There is hope and we believe one day we shall overcome,&quot; said Eva Banda, a seminar participant from Malawi.<br><br>&quot;I have discovered that we all have problems. When you are in your country, you might think other countries don't have problems, but we all have problems. It has reminded me that Jesus came for the weak. Women are considered weak, but Jesus is here for us, and he will make us strong,&quot; said Banda.<br><br>The Rev. Martina Helmer-Pham Xuan, ELCA Global Mission regional representative in Europe, attended along with teaching staff Wanda Deifelt, professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa; and Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Mike and Marge McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission and professor of religion at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Luther and Wartburg are two of 26 ELCA colleges and universities.</p><p>&quot;The seminar exceeded our expectations,&quot; said Kleinhans. &quot;I don't know whether it was more inspiring to share the stories of 16th century women reformers or to hear the stories these 21st century women brought with them.&quot;</p><p>Through the International Leaders–Women priority of <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, up to 100 women from across the Global South will be given the opportunity to participate in the annual seminars over the next three years. The program will also develop more than 200 women leaders from the ELCA's global companion churches through increased scholarship support and educational opportunities. In total, <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> aims to raise $4 million by Feb. 1, 2019, to support the International Leaders–Women program and its initiatives.</p><p>&quot;The International Leaders–Women program is our opportunity as a church to invest in the future of women across the world,&quot; said Tammy Jackson, International Leadership Development program director, ELCA Global Mission. &quot;The time has come for a strategic emphasis on the role of women in the life and development of the church and society and <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em> is our moment to make that happen.&quot;</p><p>Information about the campaign is available at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/campaign%20"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/campaign </span></a>. </p><p>----------<br>Sept. 30, 2014&#160;</p><p>Find this story in a ready-to-use &quot;Mission of the Month&quot; format at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/resources/globalchurch"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.ELCA.org/resources/globalchurch</span></a> under the &quot;Stories&quot; tab.<br><br>&#160;<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"><em>The Rev. Patricia Cuyatti preaches during a </em><br><em>visit to the Guatemalan Lutheran Church.</em></font></span></p></div><div class="ExternalClass178C482ADDFB484E9778488A49AD045C"><p><strong>Freedom's responsibilities<br></strong>By Nathan Schmidt</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><p>----------</p><p>Fall 2013<br><strong>God has opened the door</strong></p><p><img alt="Sanchita Kisku.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Sanchita%20Kisku.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" /><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>Click <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA%20Fall%202013%20HIH%20newsletter.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a> to read this story of Sanchita Kisku, an international women leader from India.&#160; </p></div>11/30/2014