Stories from the Global Church

Here you will find stories from the global church by ELCA global missionaries, scholars, and churchwide staff, brought to you by the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship team.

For the Sake of the World, con much amor

Posted on June 27, 2010 by Hand In Hand

The English class of Cristo Rey Lutheran congregation (Lima, Peru) studied the script and watched For the Sake of the World, a video presentation that explains how ELCA global ministries are funded. 

This was more than an English-language exercise for the class, for they are “hand in hand” investors in ELCA global ministries.  Their English teacher and pastor, Dana Nelson, is a sponsored ELCA missionary.   During Lent, the class used the ELCA World Hunger 40-day calendar and coin box.  “When Easter came,” writes Pr. Nelson, “we emptied all of our boxes together on the classroom table and found that together we had collected 87 Peruvian soles  (about $30 U.S. dollars) to donate to ELCA World Hunger.   The students collected this money con mucho amor (with much love).   They were so excited to watch the video presentation and see how their gifts are being used to help people all over the world.

Find the six-minute video presentation online at or contact to request a DVD.–Sue Edison-Swift.

Missionary moment: Phil and June Nelson

Posted on February 22, 2010 by Hand In Hand

I share this “missionary moment” from ELCA missionaries Phil and June Nelson (Cameroon) in memory of “Gramma” Platts and in recognition of the many missionaries who have lost a loved one during the last year.  Even when our missionaries grieve from far away, they are held in the comforting embrace of prayers that know no geographic bounds.  If you should give a donation to ELCA Missionary Sponsorship as a memorial gift, ask  Global Mission Support  to send you a  “Remembering” tribute card.  Congregations may want to keep a packet of cards available for memorial gifts.  Life-well-lived blessings, Sue Edison-Swift.

Dear Friends,
 Gramma Platts made it to 97 years of serving those around her.  In the last few years, she was not able to show her love the way that she loved the most.  This was through her cooking.  In these last years, every time visited she always apologized for not cooking something for us. 

Albena Platts kept gardening, and canning the produce, as long as she possibly could.  She valued her independence by living in her own house until just a few weeks ago.

Gramma lived through two World Wars and the depression in between them. She raised her family with four children through all the instability that came through all that time.  Even until the last, she kept doing puzzles to keep her mind sharp.  Towards the end, her body kept failing her and finally it just gave out. She saw her great, great, granddaughter and we have five generation photos, and video, to prove it.

Gramma’s values, and memory, live on in her children and grandchildren. We recognize her contribution to our lives and love her for it. It is difficult to let her go, but we know that when we get to heaven there will be Gramma’s buns fresh out of the oven made with her special recipe with love mixed into them.  There are sure to be enough of them for all her loved ones, and anyone else who comes along. 

June and Phil

Giving thanks: Pr. Dana Nelson and Thomas Ososki

Posted on November 26, 2009 by Hand In Hand

This is the next in a series of “Give thanks!” moments offered by ELCA missionaries and sponsors. Learn more about Operation Thanks-Giving at –Pr. Twila Schock.

Pr. Dana Nelson and Tom Ososki write, “On our first Thanksgiving here in Peru as a missionary family, it was really important to me that our kids get a chance to eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Yet, I didn’t have time to cook!   So we made a ton of unsuccessful phone calls and drove all around the huge city of Lima trying to find a restaurant that served  “Thanksgiving food.”   We finally found one, after it was already dark out.  It was inside a golf-hotel far on the other side of the city.  I remember looking at our small kids across the table in a huge formal dining room that was practically empty.  Our second year in Lima, Thanksgiving was totally different.  We were not alone!  We found a church that has a big, welcoming pot-luck Thanksgiving supper and an ecumenical worship service.  Dozens of people were there from all around the world.  I met other missionaries working in Peru and many other folks as well.  My husband and kids and I shared a table with a Peruvian family.  It was a wonderful evening!

NelsonThomasELCA missionaries Dana Nelson and Tom Ososki work in parish ministry in Peru.   The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peru (ILEP) is a young church of over 1100 members, committed to working with the most vulnerable in society.  Its congregations are mostly in Lima, with one each in Cusco and Iquitos.  The ELCA accompanies the ILEP in the areas of leadership development and mission outreach.

YAGM scales Stuff Mountain

Posted on September 4, 2009 by Hand In Hand

Kaitlin Nelson, a new ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission serving in Mexico, writes of her recent transition from college graduation to ELCA missionary in the latest edition of Cafe, Women of the ELCA’s e-newsletter.  Below, find brief excerpt from her article.   After reading the excerpt, consider these two questions (and share any thoughts they spark as a comment).
1.  When have you faced the need to “let go” to go?
After a major sort of stuff, what are you glad to have shed, grateful to have kept or sorry to have tossed?
–Sue Edison-Swift
Mountain of stuff
Since I can take very little with me, I am going to have to get rid of stuff.  Sorting through items from my apartment at college (that now line the walls of my parents’ basement), I realize that the objects are valuable because of the memories they bring. They are reminders of gifts received from family and friends, quirky purchases, and hand-me-downs.  The items that I have to donate will go into one bin, things that will be discarded will go into another, and those that I will save are going into a third container.  Even though I will not bring this collection of stuff along, it has been a part of me and discarding it is not easy.
 As I wrestle with questions about what it means to be transformed by the new realities I will face, I trust that my faith journey could not be whole without doing this.  –Kaitlin Nelson

Peru prayer request

Posted on June 11, 2009 by admin

invitacion-793827The Rev. Dana Nelson and her husband, Thomas Ososki, are ELCA missionaries serving in Peru. Pastor Nelson sends this request for our prayers.–Sue

Please, from wherever you are, pray with us for an end to the violence in the Amazon rainforest of Peru where the native people and national government officials are killing each other over land rights. The area where the native people have been living for generations has oil and gold in it.

Please pray with us. The Church of Sweden is joining us in prayer together with our Peruvian Lutheran Church (ILEP) and churches of all denominations around Peru.
Pastora Dana in Lima