The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Finding joy in the walk

Caring for churches & missionaries in East Africa

Current location: Nairobi, Kenya

Home congregation: Christ the King, Kenner, La.

Our ministry: We're the ELCA's regional representatives for East Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. I (Andy) travel to companion churches in Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Uganda and Rwanda. To deepen the ELCA's understanding of each church's ministry priorities, I spend time listening to needs and concerns of our companion churches, our ELCA missionary colleagues and organizations that include Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran World Federation and the ecumenical All Africa Council of Churches. I also participate in programs of the LWF Interfaith Peace Initiative and Stand With Africa.

Barbara focuses on grass-roots development and diaconal work within Lutheran churches in East Africa. She also helps implement and evaluate church projects.

We keep busy with our high-energy 4-year-old, Michael. We're expecting our second child this summer.

Joys: We find joy in walking with and listening to our sisters and brothers in East Africa, making so many new friends, and seeing the church alive in countries where the ELCA works.

Challenges: One challenge is that the ELCA Division for Global Mission has experienced significant budget constraints — directly impacting the lives of Christians overseas. We're also challenged to help people understand the new vision of accompaniment in global mission, and the positive impact social justice advocacy can have on people's lives worldwide.

How you can help:

• Pray for missionaries, companion synods and churches.

• Support fair-trade products.

• Be a missionary where you live and work — people in the United States also hunger for the good news.

• See people of other faiths as children of God, and "see our neighbor's deeds," as Martin Luther writes in his explanation of the eighth commandment, "in the kindest light." When trying to understand those who act violently rather then peacefully, ask: Given the circumstances, would we act differently? Do we?


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February issue


Embracing diversity