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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Sharing a meal

My ministry: Through the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program, I've been able to nurture my love of Spanish language and culture while growing spiritually. I graduated last May from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., with double majors in psychology and Spanish, and double concentrations in women's and Latino studies.

In Argentina, I work with the Council of Latin American Churches. I help ELCA long-term missionary Judith VanOsdol-Hansen write press releases and plan workshops in such areas as domestic violence prevention, reproductive health, and biblical and theological training in gender justice.

I also help with diaconal outreach done by the Reformed Church in Quilmes (a Buenos Aires suburb) and sponsored by the Ecumenical Movement for Human Rights. The work provides 22 impoverished families with a hot meal three times a week, groceries every two weeks, a clothes closet, pharmaceuticals, tutoring, training in bread-making and sewing, physical education for children, Bible studies, and psychological assessment and treatment.

I also play organ for the church in Quilmes, and I am training to run a marathon here.

Joys: I know I'm doing what God wants me to do. During my first month here, a parishioner, Sarah, invited me to lunch. For six years she'd never really gotten to discuss her powerful spiritual experiences around her 22-year-old son's death from cancer. If I accomplish nothing else this year, I know I helped by listening and talking with her about the Spirit's amazing power that moves in each of us.

Challenges: Argentina's external debt keeps 57 percent of its people in poverty, and each day, 100 children die from malnutrition. I can't change the harsh reality of poverty most people live in. But a pastor here told me that one of my most important jobs is to share a meal with people who come to the church for help. By eating with them, I can protect the one thing poverty can't take: their dignity.

How you can help: You can tell young people aged 19 to 30 about the young adults program and consider investing in their mission work.


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