The Rev. Dana Nelson and Tom Ososki are ELCA missionaries in Peru. Here are some of Dana’s thoughts from her April newsletter. To support Dana and Tom, or another of the ELCA’s over 200 missionaries in the global church, go to www.ELCA.org/missionarysponsorship.
Greetings to you from Cuzco, Peru!
The kids in Peru, including our own (Tana, 10; Anthony, 6) are back in school after a nice, long summer vacation. Summer in Cusco has certainly been different from our summers spent in Lima. When we lived in the capital city we often went to the beach to play in the sand and in the ocean waves. (And we once had a Sunday worship service with Cristo Rey on the beach.) Here in Cusco we are enjoying the beautiful mountains, with lots of hiking and horseback riding. Our next-door neighbor’s son, Fabricio, is Anthony’s age and they played and played, and Tana had a lot of slumber parties inviting (on a rotating basis) all the girls at church to come over. The church kids played at our home with great imagination, ate Tom’s good cooking, had fun, and got very little sleep but have created awesome bonds of friendship. This is one aspect of being a “missionary family” that has been a delightful surprise for me — how the Spirit’s life-giving and joyful presence manifests in children of different languages and cultures playing together! I may be the one in the family who went to seminary, but most days I am convinced that it’s my partner, Tom the architect, and Tana and Anthony who are the most gifted in accompanying the church and the most effective in nurturing love and building trust in the Lutheran community. I love my family.
On Palm Sunday we had more people in church than I have ever seen in Talitha Kum. The palm-bouquets in Peru (created especially for this holiday) are so beautiful. The palm branches are bent and braided into elaborate shapes of flowers or crosses and then woven together with native plants and olive branches. They are a work of art. After worship the families bring them to their houses to hang them on their doors as a special house blessing to last throughout the year.
On Palm Sunday we also processed through the neighborhood Sol de América singing “Hosanna!” which inspired some people, when they saw us, to set aside what they were doing and run to catch up with our parade.
God bless you, and thank you so much for having supported us. I can’t believe our time in South America will finish in just over two months, after six years of missionary service in Peru. Please do prayerfully consider sponsoring a new missionary through the ELCA Global Mission unit. We are so grateful to you who made it possible for us to be here since 2007. Now it is time for us to pass the torch to a new missionary, or missionary family, who would be so blessed by your care and support as we have been.
Paz, amigos nuestros,
Dana Nelson, Tom Ososki, Tana and Anthony