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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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They were 'cool'

In Argentina, a Lutheran ministry creates community, with a 'loud' voice

Alfredo and Michaela (last names not given) play pool with bottle caps at their usual hangout in Juan Batista Alberdi, a barrio in Resistencia, northern Argentina. Here — to Maria Magdalena Misión, a ministry of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina — the two bring hundreds of bottle caps they and others have collected, part of a service project to raise money for a children’s hospital in Buenos Aires.

Angela Kordahl Rapp (left), an ELCA missionary, works with children at Maria Magdalena Misión. The mission offers health and development courses, worship, Bible studies and community activities for all ages.
But why this particular hangout? Alfredo confessed: Volunteers from ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission worked at the mission three days a week, and he thought they were cool.

At the mission, staff and parent volunteers teach children and youth how to drum, recycle, knit, crochet, dance and more. Sometimes Alfredo plays a set of drums he and other friends at the ministry made from recycled trash. Some 200 children, 60 youth and 50 women take part in the mission’s programs, which offer health and development courses, worship, Bible studies and community activities.

The mission’s director, Ofelia Molina, said the work is “exhausting, but life comes from working with the kids and working with the women.”


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