Alice Carlestedt Nelson believes in keeping promises, no matter how long it takes. While in graduate school at the University of Chicago in 1953, she was selected by the Lutheran World Federation to be one of 20 young people to tour Europe.
Forty-five years later, Nelson, a member of Salemsborg Lutheran Church, Smolan, Kan., came across a list of promises each of them had to make before the trip. "One of the promises was that we would share our experiences with anybody we could when we got back," Nelson says. "I noticed there was no expiration date."
Nelson kept a diary during the trip. She read portions of it at a reunion of the LWF tour members in 1998. Her fellow travelers encouraged her to publish her observations. She notes that because they stayed at refugee camps and youth hostels, these young Lutherans saw people that tourists didn't. "There were thousands of people trying to get into refugee camps," she says. "There wasn't room for them — and this was eight years after the war. People couldn't get jobs. Their companies and homes had been destroyed. They didn't know what to do with their lives."
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