Last month at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., there was much to celebrate and many people to recognize at the ELCA Global Mission Summer Missionary Conference. At the Mission Recognition Banquet the Rev. Dr. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, excecutive director for ELCA Global Mission, and Christina Jackson-Skelton, the executive director for ELCA Mission Advancement, recognized two exceptional examples of commitment to and love for ELCA missionaries.
Recognized for Exemplary Missionary Sponsorship, First Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., has generously supported missionaries since June 1999. Since that time, First Lutheran has made a commitment to sponsor an additional missionary every year. In 2011 they submitted 15 covenants totaling $60,000. Since their first commitment to missionary sponsorship, First Lutheran has given over $250,000.00 to missionaries serving around the world.
“While we are deeply grateful for being recognized, we really do not require recognition for this. This is what we are called to do,” said the Rev. Paul Peel, senior pastor at First Lutheran. Their generous spirit continues to bless our missionaries and their ministries.
Bernita Lestina was recognized for Exemplary Volunteer Service in the Missionary Sponsorship office in Chicago. This year, as Bernita celebrated her 90th birthday, Global Mission celebrated and recognized her 15 years of weekly volunteer service on behalf of ELCA missionaries. Bernita has read and filed hundreds of missionary newsletters and home assignment itineraries, stuffed and sent thousands of missionary sponsorship packets, made file labels, sorted and filed correspondence, sent appeals and has brought countless treats for Global Mission staff. It is estimated that Bernita has spent over 4,800 hours working to support missionaries, and she has shown no sign of quitting.
Over 100 missionaries present offered a standing ovation in gratitude for these and all supporters of ELCA Missionary Sponsorship.
To add your support for any of the ELCA’s nearly 250 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.