The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Global service has a ripple effect

Lutherans put to work leadership skills gained internationally

Accompaniment, the ELCA’s model of global mission, doesn’t just serve its companion churches. From congregational mission trips to long-term missionary work, global service changes the way many ELCA members serve as lay people and ordained ministers.

Take ELCA lay leader Manuel Caceres, for example.

His ministry—an outreach to local Latino immigrants begun by Peace Lutheran Church in Glen Burnie, Md.—is shaped by the Salvadoran church in which he grew up. In El Salvador the church is a social institution for poor people, Caceres said. There “helping the neighbor is just a part of life,” and people in poverty survive “with hope and prayer,” he said.

Global experience also shaped his wife’s life. Kristy Caceres always felt called to her career in social work, believing that by being herself—a Lutheran, a Christian—she serves people better. Her mother encouraged her to live a life of serving one’s neighbor. As a young adult, Kristy Caceres went as a missionary to serve in Nicaragua and El Salvador, where she met her husband.

Through Peace’s outreach effort, the two help immigrants with day-to-day survival in the Baltimore area. Caceres and his wife teach newcomers to speak and read English well enough to get a job and a driver’s license. And to help new immigrants overcome loneliness and isolation, Caceres makes home visits and invites them to join Peace’s Spanish-language worship community.

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