The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


May 5, 2006

Where in the world?

“Does it really matter if Americans know geography?” That’s the question the Chicago Tribune, asked readers earlier this week, prompted by a survey for National Geographic that revealed that more than 60 percent of young adults couldn’t find Iraq on a map. Answers were printed today. The responses were predictable, with people lamenting the ignorance too many in the U.S. have about maps—not to mention the actual countries represented by the variously colored shapes or the people who live in them.

I particularly resonated with Matt Raymond from Berwyn who commented: “Knowledge of the world outside of our own small living space provides us with a solid connection when dealing with people...”

In the ELCA we’re blessed by our Global Mission Unit, which offers so many wonderful opportunities to forge those “solid connections.” And in summer, the program that brings the world to the U.S. is the Global Mission Event. It’s July 27-30 in Amherst, Mass. As always, there will be a mix of worship and study with plenty of activities for children planned so they can “learn how they can live as faithful Christians in a global culture.

Another opportunity for high school students to cross borders will be at the ELCA Youth Gathering in July   in San Antonio, Texas, when 150 Latin American youths will participate through the International Guest Program.

But you don’t have to leave home to learn. Click on whatever corner of the world you’d like to visit virtually on the Country Packets page. Go to the Prayer Ventures page to join with others in praying daily for people working in the outreach ministry of the ELCA. Or send a friend an e-card that shows the faces and places of the church’s work around the world.

And if you’re lucky enough to be packing your suitcases for an international trip, don’t leave home with reading Welcome Forward: a Field Guide for Global Travelers.

Remember that popular spiritual, “He’s got the whole world in his hands...” Confident of that, we people of God have lots of exploring to do.

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Embracing diversity