Paula & Denny Lofstrom (although not a part of our companion synod or the ELCA) do good mission work in the Mwanza area (near Lake Victoria) of Tanzania. They are trying to get a university in the Singida area (our companion synod) and particularly to turn Kiomboi into a University, so as far as scholarships, they are trying to be faithful with monies that come in to give to the neediest people. Also Kinambeu is our companion congregation. We continue to give $500 to this mission support to the needs of the church. We need to fill out forms about the relationship each year with the synod.
LIZWAN is a wonderful program in Colombia with leadership from Natanial Lizarazo and Barbara Wangren (his wife) and many lay leaders in Colombia…it funds scholarships and food programs and many other programs. They are also one of our companion synods.
1981 was Karen’s first year in Chile, She was volunteering at a clinic for people who suffered political persecution under the military. During the dictatorship in Chili, thousands were murdered by their own government, and thousands more were imprisoned, tortured, forced into exile, or made to disappear, never to be heard from again. The leaders of the clinic where Karen was volunteering asked her to interview care providers of children to help the care providers better identify what services were needed. A year later, based on this volunteer work at the clinic, Karen wrote and presented a project to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile to train local people to be community health promoters. The project was approved and soon she was in New York interviewing for a global mission position with the Lutheran Church and a few months later she was back in Chile starting the project. When asked “Where is God and the church within your program?” Karen quick response was Micah 6:8: And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” At EPES God is at work when the poor begin to believe in themselves as they discover their own sense of dignity and worth. A Jesuit priest, Gregory Boyle, who works with gang members in Los Angeles states that the measure of our compassion is not our service but our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with others and to stand with those whose dignity has been denied, the readily left out, the disposable, and to obliterate once and for all the sense that some lives matter less than others. In her testimony she writes. “From my first contact with EPES, I was impressed with how the knowledge and skills we already had were respected and incorporated into the health promoter training. This approach treated us as adults, not like children, and that made a huge difference to us. My training as a health promoter changed my life, transformed my family and helped us transform our community. “ Que Dios les Bendiga, God Bless You!