Hand in Handhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/New YAGMs in MadagascarAustin and Tanya Propsthttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/440http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/440<div class="ExternalClass5EBDB712A8374761A4C36979C998FF80"><p>​<em>To learn how to sponsor a participant in the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program, see </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/YAGMsupport"><em>www.ELCA.org/YAGMsupport</em></a><em> or contact global </em><a href="mailto&#58;church@elca.org"><em>church@elca.org</em></a><em>.</em>&#160;</p><p>We are blessed again with an amazing group of young aults that have been called to serve in Madagascar. This Friday [Aug. 22] the group of eight, or as they've been dubbed &quot;the Ate's,&quot; will arrive.&#160;Soava Dia … Blessings on their travels!</p><p>The Ate's&#58;</p><p>My name is <strong>Molly Beyer</strong>. I am 22 years old <img alt="Molly Beyer_8-26-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Molly%20Beyer_8-26-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />and have been blessed with a life that has sparked my interest in travel and adventure. I have been to Germany, Italy, France, England, India, Canada and Switzerland. I chose YAGM (Young Adults in Global Mission) because after graduating with a degree in international relations and spending time studying other places in classrooms I'm ready to explore a new culture and learn from new people through personal experience. I entered college with the goal of one day working for a nonprofit organization internationally so being a part of YAGM was a perfect next step for me! I love music and can sing and play flute (not at the same time although that would be impressive), and I also enjoy cooking. I have seen so many amazing things that God has created and I can't wait to see what He has in store for me this next year.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>My name is <strong>Christina Espegren</strong>. I am a recent graduate from<img alt="Christina_8-26-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Christina_8-26-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" /> California Lutheran University with a double major in biology and studies of women and gender. I have been very involved in the Lutheran community at my university as well as in my own home congregation in Sacramento where my father serves as a pastor. In the future I plan to pursue a graduate degree in public health and am particularly interested in women's health issues internationally.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p><img alt="ellen_8-26-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/ellen_8-26-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Hello! My name is <strong>Ellen Doering</strong>. I am from a small town just outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. I just graduated from Hamline University with a major in sociology. In my free time, I love spending time outside doing things like hiking and swimming. I also enjoy growing vegetables and fruits as well as cooking them. Being a sociology major, I love spending time with friends and family, as well as working with youth and families. During my YAGM year, I am looking forward to learning about Malagasy culture and people. I am excited to share my talents with the community that I live in! I can't wait to see what this next year has in store!&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p><img alt="JD Engelhardt_8-26-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/JD%20Engelhardt_8-26-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />I am <strong>JD Engelhardt</strong>, I recently graduated from Augustana College with a triple major in political science, religion studies and communication studies.&#160;I am originally from Des Moines, Iowa, but I am now working at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, Ill. The reason I choose YAGM was twofold&#58; one, to better learn what it means to be in service to others, and second, to be in service with a community. My hope for my time with the program is that I learn what it means to be a part of a community but also to walk with people that I do not know or ever fully understand.&#160;I have done a lot in my short life. I lived in Europe for a couple of years and in other parts of the world, as well. I've been backpacking and canoeing in remote parts of the United States. I love anything outdoors related – give me a sleeping bag, a tent and the stars in the middle of nowhere and I am a happy person! I also love to study other religions as well as my own to see the diversity of ideas of how religions work in our world. I like to think I am a mix of a hands-on person and hands-off. Meaning I like to get in there and get dirty but also to take a step back to look at my action and work. I love all types of food and I don't have a favorite. I just think it is fun when food comes in all tastes and smells. I have three favorite colors. People tell me I can't have three, but I do anyway. They are green, blue and red. I can't wait to go to Madagascar and see what this next journey brings. I know that there will be good and hard times ahead, but that's what makes life worth it.</p><p>&#160;</p><p><img alt="Joel_8-26-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Joel_8-26-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /><strong>Joel Barkel.</strong> Iowa born and bred, lover of literature, and adventure bound musician.</p><p>I write this sitting in a tree; call me Joel. I'm a recent graduate from Luther College in northeast &#160;Iowa hoping to journey out into that far-reaching and ever-expanding unknown that people commonly refer to as the world. I'm a sailor of seas, runner of gorges, spectator of sports, and lover of the Lord! Water has always been a passion of mine. I am a thorough believer in its baptismal power to bless and bring new life. Spending three years as a lifeguard gave me patience, the ability to teach and find creative solutions. My love of water led me to spend a month of my life sailing through the Virgin Islands on a schooner called the Roseway, where my own life found a new current to run on. I decided to spend this year with YAGM because it's always been my hope to give as much of myself as I can to a community that might need a new and slightly unnerved partner to share a sundry of experiences with, and through those experiences, I would learn things completely out of reach from me now.</p><p><br><img alt="Kelsey Kresse.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Kelsey%20Kresse.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />My name is <strong>Kelsey Kresse</strong>. My favorite color is lavender. My favorite movie is &quot;Gone with the Wind,&quot; and I almost never stop singing. I just graduated this April with a degree in the history of art and architecture from the University of Pittsburgh. Though I have been living in Pittsburgh for the past four years, I am originally from Erie, Pa., and I am incredibly excited to be heading to Madagascar at the end of the summer! I can't wait to become immersed in the Malagasy culture and to learn new songs, try new foods, and experience a way of life that is very different from my own. I chose to apply to YAGM because of the opportunities to serve in a new way. I have loved serving Christ through my time on summer staff at Camp Lutherlyn in Prospect, Pa., and at the Lutheran University Center in Pittsburgh. However, I feel that I have so much more to give and even more to learn about the work of Christ and his people. I am more than excited to begin this journey, and I hope that I may be able to join a choir, teach some of my favorite English songs and learn to cook Malagasy recipes!</p><p>&#160;</p><p><img alt="Maddie_8-26-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Maddie_8-26-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Hello! My name is <strong>Madeline Thomas</strong>, but most people call me Maddie. I grew up in Ohio before going to school at Adrian College in Michigan. I just graduated with a degree in French and elementary education, and I want to be a teacher someday. Right now I am working at a Lutheran camp in Colorado called Sky Ranch. We have an international counselor from Madagascar, and it has been really fun to learn more about the Malagasy culture and language from him.&#160;I'm really excited about YAGM because I love to learn and teach languages and get to know people from a variety of backgrounds. I lived and studied in southern France two years ago, which was an incredible opportunity to get better at French, try new foods, and immerse myself in the culture with my host family. I also enjoy photography, writing, traveling, being outside, and the color blue! I'm really looking forward to the coming year and all of the new experiences and friendships that are in store!</p><p>&#160;</p><p><img alt="Michael_8-26-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Michael_8-26-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;260px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Hello, my name is <strong>Michael LaCagnin</strong>. My hopes for the program are to learn and grow through and with everyone I encounter during the year. I am trying to not have too many expectations. I want to go into this year with a completely open mind ready to embrace whatever God has in store.</p><p>My favorite color is forest green or navy blue. My favorite food is either bananas or avocados (I can be pretty indecisive at times, if you can't tell). My favorite sport is by far soccer. I am beyond excited! I look forward to seeing what God's plan is for me.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p></div>08/26/2014Health care ministry in TanzaniaMark Jacobsonhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/439http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/439<div class="ExternalClassF4428113F3974E4CAA2AF05357272206"><p>​<img alt="Arusha nurses_8-19-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Arusha%20nurses_8-19-14.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 new School of Nursing admitted its first students.</font><em><br><font color="#000000"> <br> </font></em></span><em>Dr. Mark and Linda Jacobson are ELCA missionaries in Tanzania where they work with the Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. In this recent newsletter, Mark provides an update on the important work of the medical center. To support Mark and Linda, or another of the ELCA's more </em><em>240&#160;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>Dear friends in Christ, </p><p>The common greeting in church and church meetings is &quot;Bwana asifiwe!&quot; (Praise the Lord!)&#160; And reply is a rousing &quot;Amen!&quot;</p><p>How appropriate to begin this letter to you faithful supporters in this same voice.&#160; &quot;Bwana asifiwe!&#160; Amen!&quot;&#160;There is much to praise God for just now especially, as it seems God has been accomplishing great things in our midst.&#160;This morning, we held a staff meeting at the hospital and it was a time to review the accomplishments and the challenges of Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre.&#160; Wonderfully, the blessings have been many and the accomplishments amazing.</p><p>Much of our current focus is on education and capacity building.&#160;In March we opened our new School of Nursing and admitted a class of 25 bright and eager young people wanting to become nurses.&#160;Many of you together with Operation Bootstrap Africa have helped to fund this start up. Our partner hospitals under Exempla Health Care in Denver have now helped us to apply for a large U.S. Agency for International Development grant to construct our own facility. We are waiting impatiently for the decision on grants and so again, appreciate your prayers. </p><p>In January we launched a surgical residency to train Tanzania doctors to become fully qualified surgeons. We have two residents in our first class and we are using a program together with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons to train and mentor these young doctors to become Christian leaders and Christian surgeons.&#160;It's truly an exciting time and opens a major new direction for our hospital services.&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>I write today in a mood of gratitude.&#160;Your support, your prayers, your love and friendship continue to carry us forward here in Tanzania.&#160;Your faithfulness is life giving to us and to the people we serve together.&#160;Thank you profoundly and we pray God's many blessings to continue upon you and yours.</p><p>Blessings,<br>Mark and Linda Jacobson<br>Missionaries in Tanzania</p></div>08/19/2014Finding the ‘yes!’ in ‘Jesus’Carol Sackhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/438http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/438<div class="ExternalClassA3317341206D47238963B2DCDE95054A"><p>​<img alt="Setsuko photo.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/Setsuko%20photo.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;214px;" /><br>Setsuko, left, and Carol Sack</p><p><em>The Rev. Jim and Carol Sack are ELCA missionaries in Japan.</em> <em>Jim is a professor at Japan Lutheran College and Carol is a director of Lyra Precaria, a bedside ministry of prayerful presence through harp and voice.</em> <em>To support them, or another of the ELCA's more than 240&#160;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>Setsuko is a beautiful 72-year-old woman who has been a volunteer&#160;for the past 10 years&#160;at the hospice for homeless people where I offer pastoral harp ministry. </p><p>Over the years, Setsuko has made the one-hour-forty-five minute (one way) trek across town, at her own expense, for two, three or four days a week, starting less than two months after her husband's death. Her first time to venture to Hope House Hospice happened to be on a Tuesday, the day I visit patients. She accompanied me to the bedside of three patients that day, and she has been my support and partner for every patient visit thereafter. </p><p>She and I somehow felt a strong kindred spirit from the first meeting, and Setsuko has become one of my dearest friends. Before I actually met her, someone told me, &quot;She cared for her husband for 15 years. He came down with early Alzheimer's in his late 50s and just passed away recently.&quot; </p><p>Hearing this, I remember thinking, &quot;Wow, that poor woman. What a burden she has carried.&quot; </p><p>Then I met Setsuko – with her bright, smiling, radiating countenance. Where did that come from, I wondered? She was like an incarnate oxymoron. How could the woman just described to me exude such vibrancy?</p><p>But that very first day she told me how she loved every minute of caring for her husband. Yes, in the early stages of the disease, before his condition was diagnosed, things were confusing and disconcerting. But as soon as she understood it was all due to a disease, she realized there could be no denial of that which is, and from that point she researched and learned to accept that which was coming day by day.</p><p>And she <em>loved</em> caring for her husband, who had always been such a kind and caring family man. She proudly showed me photos of his pure, childlike smile, with his strong nature still shining brightly through the surface diminishments of his disease. Setsuko grew to respect the strength of the soul itself, which not only stayed intact but radiated in new and undeniable ways. </p><p>Setsuko is not baptized (yet!), but she attended Christian schools and I dare say she knows the Bible better than I do. She stayed at home by her husband's side for 15 years, and read book after book about the spirit, the soul. </p><p>Then, shortly after he passed away, she found herself at the doorstep of Hope House Hospice and has not been able to stay away since. She often says, &quot;My husband led me to my life's work.&quot;&#160;</p><p>What captured me was her statement&#58; &quot;When we try to run away from the things that come to us, we increase our suffering greatly. I feel so blessed that I was able to just respond with YES! YES! YES! And in this I found&#160;my source of joy.&quot;&#160;</p><p>There was something linguistically interesting going on in Setsuko's statement. In Japanese, it just so happens that the word &quot;yes&quot; is pronounced &quot;eeyehsoo&quot; – which also happens to be the same way &quot;Jesus&quot; is pronounced (similar to &quot;Jesu&quot; as in &quot;Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.&quot;) So she was saying&#58; &quot;I feel so blessed that I was able to just respond with Yes! Yes! Yes! / Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! And in this I found my source of joy.&quot; </p><p>She and I talked about this interesting intertwining of pronunciation, and she seemed surprised to realize that &quot;Jesus&quot; and &quot;yes&quot; were not actually one and the same word!&#160;</p><p>Through Setsuko, and through her gentle husband's guidance, I have learned a new level of the meaning of I Corinthians 1&#58;20 – <sup>&#160;</sup>&quot;For in Jesus every one of God's promises is a 'Yes.' For this reason it is through him that we say the 'Amen,' to the glory of God.&quot;</p></div>08/12/2014Fish pond aids Lutheran Health Care BangladeshY. Franklin Ishidahttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/437http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/437<div class="ExternalClassA4905B8FBB1448C8AD5A7347E6C2A9C7"><p>​<img alt="fish-pond-release_8-5-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/fish-pond-release_8-5-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><span style="color&#58;black;line-height&#58;105%;font-family&#58;&quot;times new roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;font-size&#58;11pt;">The local government administrator, watched by Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh Executive Director Pius Serao (center in yellow shirt), releases fish in a small ceremony that inaugurates the expanded fish cultivation project at the hospital.</span> </p><p>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">There is a small piece of low land on the hospital campus of Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh, located in Dumki in the southern part of country. During the monsoon season this depression in the land fills with rain water and remains a small water body for at least four to five months every year. It has been an unused piece of land – until now. </p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">Taking advantage of the rainy season and this pond, in 2013 the staff began to raise fast-growing fish species. More than 2,400 telapia and small carp were released into this seasonal pond. The results were outstanding and brought in unexpected profits for the hospital. With the growth of the fish and successful breeding, by the end of the rainy season there were over 10,000 fish. Then, as soon as the water began ebbing, many of these fish were transferred to a bigger pond on the hospital campus.</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">In addition to creating a source of income and nutrition for the hospital, the staff decided to turn the operation into a local fish cultivation demonstration project. In June 2014 after the monsoon arrived and the plot was filled with rain water, 1,250 carp were released on June 25 in a small inaugural ceremony attended by local dignitaries. Local people, farmers and visitors are now able to learn from this project throughout the season and into the future.</p><p><em>Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh</em><em><strong> </strong></em><em>is a comprehensive care facility in southern Bangladesh in the village of Dumki providing health care and assistance in community development. The facility is supported in part by donations to ELCA Global Church Sponsorship. You can make a difference with an online donation at </em><a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/Bangladesh"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>https&#58;//community.elca.org/Bangladesh</em></span></a><em>, or call 800-638-3522 to give by debit or credit card or to set up an automatic monthly gift, or send a check for Global Ministries in Bangladesh (GCS4002) to Global Church Sponsorship, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago IL 60694.</em></p></div>08/05/2014Global Church Sunday 2014Anna Moorheadhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/436http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/436<div class="ExternalClass4F8AEEB9EBCE434E99CFD0937C1CE1E5"><p>​<img alt="Global Church Sunday 2014_7-29-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/mod-view/Global%20Church%20Sunday%202014_7-29-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></p><p>&#160;</p><p>This fall, congregations are invited to celebrate God's global church by hosting a Global Church Sunday. You may want to consider celebrating on Sept. 21 (International Day of Peace), Oct. 5 (World Communion Sunday) or Oct. 26 (Lutheran World Federation Sunday). </p><p><strong>How is the ELCA connected to Lutherans around the world? Consider these facts about our church's global engagement&#58; </strong></p><ul><li>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 more than<strong> 72 million Christians in 79 countries.&#160;<br></strong><strong>&#160;<br></strong></li><li>More than<strong> 240 ELCA missionaries serve in more than 40 countries, </strong>including<strong> 60 Young Adults in Global Mission </strong>in<strong> nine countries </strong>around the world, invited by church leaders in that country to work together with them hand-in-hand. This fall, as part of <em>Always Being Made New&#58; The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, a new group of young adults will begin service for the first time in <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Mission/Young-Adults-in-Global-Mission/Rwanda"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Rwanda</span></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">, </span>20 years after the genocide.<br><strong>&#160;</strong></li><li>In the last 25 years, more than <strong>800</strong> <strong>International Leaders</strong> have completed their studies at colleges, universities and seminaries in the United States and around the world through ELCA-funded scholarships. Over the next five years of <em>The</em> <em>Campaign for the ELCA</em>, we will equip 200 more women international leaders with scholarships and educational opportunities.&#160;<br><strong>&#160;</strong></li><li>Every year we respond to requests from our global companion churches for financial support to expand their <strong>Global Ministries</strong> — to start new congregations, extend their youth outreach in urban areas, and train pastors and evangelists. Through <em>The Campaign for the ELCA</em>, we're helping make possible 14 new Global Ministries initiatives in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. </li></ul><p>&#160;</p><p>You can celebrate our church's global connections in your congregation by taking a special offering for an ELCA missionary or global ministry, hosting a coffee hour with treats from around the world or including global songs in your worship service. A toolkit, stories, posters, a bulletin insert and other resources are available 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>Sign up to attend the Global Church Sunday &quot;event&quot; at <a href="http&#58;//www.facebook.com/GlobalLinks" style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.Facebook.com/GlobalLinks</a>. </p><p><br><em>ELCA Global Church Sponsorship offers an opportunity for you or your congregation to help build up Christ's church by supporting Missionaries, Young Adults in Global Mission, International Leaders, and Global Ministries to work with our companions in Christ. Learn more at </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Church/Global-Church-Sponsorship"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>www.ELCA.org/globalchurch</em></span></a><em>.</em></p></div>07/29/2014Greetings from TokyoTimothy and Mari McKenziehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/435http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/HandInHand/435<div class="ExternalClass343361CF4B0C42E69E718D236BD84862"><p>​<em>Timothy and Mari McKenzie are ELCA missionaries in Tokyo. To support them, or another of the ELCA's more than 240&#160;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 style="text-align&#58;right;">&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;Season after Pentecost, July 2014</p><p>Dear Friends in Christ,&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; We send you greetings in the name of Christ Jesus from Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary and&#160;Japan Lutheran College in Mitaka City, Tokyo. We thank you for your sponsorship and support of our work in Japan and of the wider Global Mission of the ELCA. We are currently journeying through the season after Pentecost, giving thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit in the church.&#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Related to this, one of the responsibilities of my work in theological education at the seminary in Tokyo is preaching and teaching at local congregations throughout Japan. The seminary has a program named &quot;kodan hoshi,&quot; which in translation means &quot;service&#160;through teaching.&quot; One way that&#160; seminary faculty serve the Lutheran church in Japan is through preaching and lecturing in local churches. This creates&#160; a sense of&#160; ongoing&#160;theological dialog between local congregations and the seminary.&#160;<img alt="church_HiH_7-22-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/church_HiH_7-22-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /><br>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; On Pentecost 4 (July 6th) I traveled to Kurume&#160; City on the southern island of Kyushu to preach and <br>teach at&#160; Kurume Lutheran Church. Kurume Lutheran Church was founded in 1901, eight years after American Lutheran missionaries began mission work in Japan in 1892. This work was supported by predecessor bodies of the ELCA,&#160; the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as well as the United Lutheran Church in America. The current&#160; sanctuary was built in 1918, and was designed by William Merrell Vories, an American architect and&#160; missionary who worked in prewar Japan. The &#160; beautiful&#160;red brick church building survived the US bombing of Kurume on 11 August 1945, and is still in use today.&#160;&#160;&#160;<br>&#160;&#160; In the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC), the appointed Gospel text for July 6th , Pentecost 4, was Matthew 9&#58;35-10&#58;10, which recounts Jesus' healing&#160; of many and sending&#160; out his disciples to preach&#160; the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven. As familiar hymns were sung and heavy rains fell on the church during worship,&#160; I thought about Kurume Lutheran Church and its 113 years of proclaiming this Gospel of God's love for all people&#160;no matter the season&#160;or era.&#160; I thought about Kurume Lutheran's&#160; surviving the&#160; rain of&#160; bombs during the war, and its role in becoming a place of God's&#160;healing message after the war.&#160; In Matthew's text, Jesus&#160;instructs his disciples to greet any home that they enter with words of peace. The disciples are sent out with only Jesus' authority and the peaceful Gospel message of God's Kingdom alive now for all people. Kurume Lutheran Church has preached this message for over a century, and Lutheran churches in the US have been a part of Kurume Lutheran Church's mission through prayers, gifts and the missionaries who have served there.&#160;<br>&#160;&#160; Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tokyo&#160; participates in the JELC's mission through equipping seminarians to become pastors <br>sent out with Jesus' authority and the peaceful Gospel message of God's love for all people. On July 13th&#160;(Pentecost 5), our 3rd&#160;year seminary class will begin internship in local congregations. Like Jesus' disciples,&#160;every year seminarians are sent out after a Service of Holy Communion &amp;&#160;Sending, and&#160; begin to experience the mission of the church outside of the classroom in local churches.&#160;<img alt="mural_HiH_7-22-14.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/Hand%20in%20Hand/Browse/mural_HiH_7-22-14.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /><br>&#160;&#160; In our&#160; seminary chapel there is a large wooden relief in the front of the sanctuary titled &quot;Sending&quot; (派遣). This relief depicts the resurrected Christ sending out the church of every age to serve in the world, offering food and drink, as signs of forgiveness, hope and healing to a world broken by the reality of sin that separates humanity from&#160; itself and from God. When&#160;I&#160;sit in chapel I often think about the gift of freedom that Christ offers to all people through faith, and that freed, we are finally able to love and serve our neighbors. We thank you for your faithful&#160; service and&#160; accompaniment of the JELC&#160; through sponsoring the Global Mission of the ELCA. Your prayerful sponsorship continues to help the JELC proclaim Christ's gospel message of peace, forgiveness and healing for all people. </p><p>Sincerely in Christ,&#160;<br>Timothy &amp; Mari McKenzie<br>ELCA missionaries to Japan</p></div>07/22/2014