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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Sister act

Amazing things happen when congregations link in friendship to people in Latin America

Kristin Garey remembers the disquiet she felt after touring humanitarian work in Mexico two years ago. She and others from First Lutheran Church, Duluth, Minn., stayed in a hotel and were briskly escorted from place to place.

"You didn't get to connect with anybody," she says. "You didn't get to find out what their lives were like. A lot of those folks have tremendous faith, and we thought we needed to learn more about that."

When Faith's members investigated options, Garey says, "all roads led to Sister Parish." The Lutheran grass-roots organization links U.S. congregations with those in Latin America.

Sister Parish emphasizes relationships first, as opposed to charity. After a solid relationship is established, whatever help might flow from the North Americans is more likely to be appropriate, sustainable and received in friendship.


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