Rev Alan Eldrid
was elected to a four-year term as President of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina (IELU) at their General Assembly, April 17-18. At the time of his election, Rev Eldrid was a homiletics instructor at the Argentine ecumenical seminary (ISEDET) and he served two congregations on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. He succeeds Rev Angel Furlan
who was IELU’s President for eight years.
Rev Paul Johnson
went to Peru in April where he visited Rev Katharine Bergbusch
. Katharine and Paul met with Rev Adita Torres
, President of the Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (ILEP) to review Katharine’s new assignment at the mission in Iquitos. (Later, at the end of the six-month trial period in July it was agreed that Katharine should continue to work in Iquitos so she has now packed up and shipped the rest of her belongings that were left in Lima).
From Peru, Paul traveled directly to El Salvador where he visited Rev Brian Rude
and met with Bishop Medardo Gomez
of the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod. Paul went to a prison with Brian to experience the work that he does with the Quetzalcoatl Foundation which provides wellness and HIV/AIDS awareness workshops for the inmates. An agreement has been reached to extend the funding from Canada for this program for two more years (April 2004 to March 2006), mostly from GHDA and CLWR with the balance coming from Mission in the World.
Rev Katharine Bergbusch
made a short trip to Canada in May to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree at the Convocation of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon. Katharine was recognized for her ten years of service as an ELCIC Long-term Missionary in Peru. In addition to her current work with two mission congregations in Iquitos, she has provided guidance to the ILEP leadership in administrative and governance matters, helped prepare the first seven ILEP pastors for ordination, assisted with the development of a womens’ crafts group and been an advocate for social justice.
traveled to Cameroon in May to visit missionaries and attend the Partner Church Consultation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon (EELC). He visited Stuart and Margaret Brown
in Garoua just before they returned to Canada. He also visited the Fomgbami family
at the Meng School for Catechists and Evangelists near Tibati. They are living in a building that used to be an orphanage which they have worked hard to convert it to a reasonably comfortable home. Kelvin reviewed and evaluated the Good News Partner program together with the Fomgbamis. He was also able to see Etienne and Jeanne in the classroom at work in their current positions with the EELC. Etienne is developing and instructing a new two-year program for evangelists and Jeanne is teaching Old Testament and French to the wives of the students.
Stuart and Margaret
Brown have come to the end of their four years of service as missionaries with the Joint Christian Ministry in West Africa. Soon after they returned to Vernon, BC in May, Margaret had successful knee replacement surgery. The Browns are in the process of relocating to Montreal where Stuart is starting his new job as Director of the Canadian Center of Ecumenism. They will participate in the October Re-entry program at the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries in Toronto.
The first-ever ELCIC Companion Synod Consultation
occurred from May 19 to 21 in Winnipeg. The Consultation provided an opportunity for representatives from all five ELCIC synods to discuss what they are doing to get to know their overseas companion church and to consider approaches to issues that arise in cross-cultural and international relationships. All synod representatives expressed a desire to relate to their companion churches as equals, to look for ways to be mutually supportive and to avoid an emphasis on providing financial support. For more about the Consultation, see page 35 of the July/August Canada Lutheran.
Rev Paul Johnson
went to Jerusalem in May to attend the partners meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan (ELCJ). The ELCIC’s agreement for partnership with the ELCJ was signed in August 2001. This is the first time that the ELCIC has been represented at the ELCJ’s annual meeting with its Lutheran partner churches.
was very busy in June and July attending conventions and visiting congregations to follow up on the appeal for Missionary Sponsorships launched earlier this year. There was enough received in donations and sponsorship pledges to return Lori to Thailand in August for at least one more academic year. The goal is to put together enough funds to make it possible for her to serve at the McGilvary Seminary in Chiang Mai for two years so additional support is encouraged.
Flooding in Cushaman and Esquel, Argentina was reported in July by Patagonia Mission Pastor Sergio Utz
. Many people lost their homes due to heavy rains and were living in schools and hospitals waiting for the water to disperse. With the encouragement of the Saskatchewan Synod, IELU’s companion synod in the ELCIC, GHDA forwarded $5,000 to IELU to provide relief and help with reconstruction.
Rev Barry and Alice Lang
completed their two-year VIM placement in Guyana in July and returned home to Hanover, Ontario in August after a ten day holiday in St Lucia. The Langs are now busy visiting congregations and giving presentations about their experiences.
Rev Jack and Valerie Frederick
arrived in Guyana at the end of July to carry on the work that the Langs were doing at the Redeemer Lutheran Parish in Georgetown. The Fredericks’ VIM placement is supported by the Georgian Bay Conference, the Eastern Synod, the Florida-Bahamas Synod and a few other individuals and congregations.
Rev Brian Rude
is currently on home leave. He was a presenter at the Global Mission Event
(for complete GME coverage go to www.elcic.ca/mission/world) in Bozeman, Montana in July and the ELCIC national youth gathering in Hamilton in August. He is now in the midst of a full schedule of meetings and visits to congregations. He will return to El Salvador in mid October.
At the end of August, Rev David Kaiser
started a Volunteer in Mission placement at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong. David’s VIM Support Group is based at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Regina. He previously served at LTS Hong Kong for three years as a Short-term Missionary and he was invited back for one more semester to teach courses in Christian Education and Homiletics. David will be joined by his wife Marlys in October.
Rev Paul Johnson
just returned from his third world mission trip of the year. Paul was in Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG) where he participated in the Partners’ Forum with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in PNG. He also visited with Bonnie Weppler
who played a very helpful role in the preparation and smooth running of the Partners’ Forum. The location of the meetings this year provided Paul with the opportunity to meet with some people he had not seen in a long time! Paul lived with his family in Madang until he was thirteen years old; his father was based there as a missionary pilot.
The placement for Elvira Sentes
(St John’s, Waterloo, Ontario) in Nepal did not work out but an alternative has been arranged and she will depart for Chiang Mai, Thailand on October 15. She will serve as a Volunteer in Mission for six months to help address the needs of the patients at the McKean Rehabilitation Center which includes the elderly disabled and people coping with leprosy. McKean is a facility of the Church of Christ in Thailand. Elvira retired from teaching several years ago and has since received training and volunteer work experience in palliative care, particularly with cancer patients, and with the disabled.
A joint placement with the World Mission Prayer League is being arranged for Leah Ganes
, an occupational therapist whose VIM Support Group is based at Messiah Lutheran Church in Camrose, Alberta. Initial consideration for Leah’s placement was given to the LAMB Hospital in Bangledesh but she has now accepted an invitation to serve for a year with two programs of the International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Leah will work primarily with the Visual Impairment Services of Afghanistan and she will also be available to help out at the Physiotherapy Institute. She may depart in early November depending on the safety and security situation in Afghanistan at that time.
will return once again to the Evanjelicke Lyceum, the Lutheran high school in Bratislava, Slovakia. Erika’s previous VIM assignments were from August 2001 to June 2003 and from March to June of this year. After a teacher resigned in August, the Lyceum invited Erika back and this time she will teach the third level English program for the duration of school year which ends in June 2005. It is expected that she will be there by mid November if the application process for her Slovak residence permit goes smoothly.
Established September, 1995. Page revised June 2, 2005