I told a friend I was going to Fargo, N.D., in mid-July and he laughed. “Are you kidding me?” he asked. “Heat, humidity and mosquitoes.”
He was right. Heat, humidity and mosquitoes. And so much more. There in Fargo, at North Dakota State University, were more than 1,100 ELCA Global Mission Event participants, plus 110 dedicated hunger relief advocates from most of the ELCA’s 65 synods.
God’s Spirit moved during global worship, presentations by speakers from around the world and in-depth workshops on a variety of topics. Young vibrant musicians led us in singing mission hymns from around the world. We absorbed information and hope, hearing about the good things already happening with relief and development work, and the opportunities for still more. Workshop topics included Lutheran World Relief work and fair-trade projects, Bread for the World’s work with the ONE campaign, the ELCA companion synod program and more.
Non-scheduled times brought a special blessing to our gathering. Here was a fellowship of Lutheran Christians from all over the world, forming and reconnecting old friendships. People with a common faith and passion for the Lord’s work in mission shared ideas, stories, mutual encouragement and inspiration.
Alongside the GME, we hunger leaders met under the scriptural theme of John 6:1-3, Jesus' feeding of the 5,000. We 21st century Christians are likewise called to gather the fragments of bread so all are fed. Preaching. Healing. Feeding. These words belong together.
Although more than 850 million of our brothers and sisters in this world are hungry and living on a dollar or less a day, we’re finding new momentum in strategies and mechanisms to help. As the church, we bring to the “silent emergency” of poor and starving people the realization that hunger can be solved. That realization is spreading.
“We don’t need to accept poverty,” said Kathyrn Sime, ELCA World Hunger Appeal director. “With investment we can correct this scandal in a world of abundance. Within our congregations is our leadership to bring change, to end hunger.”
Nancy Arnison, program director for world hunger, added: “Grace challenges us … to offer opportunities of change and love to make the world better.”
The GME was an interchange of love and excitement, helping to carry our church forward as one. At the final worship service, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson challenged us to serve the world in Jesus’ name.
Make no mistake—God is alive and has a mission, and we felt the call to “go and do likewise.”
(Read more: "Global Mission Event draws 1,200 to Fargo.")
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