Dear Pastor Rod and Nancy,
My name is Joan Herbon and I am the pastor at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Portage, Michigan. Portage is on the south border of Kalamazoo on the south west side of the state. I’m writing this to introduce you just briefly to Lord of Life (LOL stands for more than just laugh out loud—Lots Of Love, Love Our Lord, and, one of my favorites, Lutherans On the Loose!) We’re a relatively young congregation (celebrating 45 years as a congregation), but the average age of our members is over 60. We’re young at heart. LOL!
This is the first time we’ve ever sponsored “real live missionaries in wild and far away places!” We’re excited to be partners with all of the churches in the NorthWest Lower Michigan Synod and in the ELCA who are privileged to help sponsor your Call to ministry in Papua New Guinea. I’m so thankful that God has called you to serve and called Lord of Life to join in your service!
Our sponsorship of you is not part of our congregational budget, but belongs to a small group off shoot of our evangelism/outreach committee. There are 12 of us in this group who each put in $10 a month. What else can we do to help you? the group is excited to send you a care package; What would you like in a care package? We don’t want to send you 100 packages of gum if you hate gum. How can we serve you?Shalom!
Your sister in Christ,
Greetings Pr. Joan,
How delightful to receive your note and the graciousness of your response to journey with us as we experience life and ministry in Papua New Guinea. Yes, we are “live missionaries” and we do live “far away.” Just how “wild” it is remains to be seen, but it is definitely different. I say it is “different” yet we find delight each day in the everyday encounters that are truly universal: the giggles of young children, the beauty of God’s creation which here in PNG is LUSH, the sorrows that come with losses and the joys that come with small accomplishments.
Thank you to your little group of 10 who have decided to walk with us. I think you will be changed, if only by opening your eyes to the larger Church.
Let me introduce us. I am Nancy Anderson and my husband, Rod Nordby, has the “official call” to PNG. Rod is originally from North Dakota and he is a second career pastor. His first career was business and accounting. “Life” led him to respond to the call to Word and Sacrament and he graduated from Wartburg Seminary in 1996. After 14 years in two congregations in Wisconsin and a one-year interim, we decided to explore Global Mission work. Rod is here as the Asst. Internal Auditor, so he is back in his first career. He is finding, however, that it is very beneficial for him to also be a pastor.
Pastors are very highly regarded in PNG and it seems to open doors in good ways. The needs of PNG are great, not the least of which is for administrative and financial support. I will write more in the future about ELC-PNG and our larger missionary community.
I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. After a stint in the Peace Corps and 2.5 years in a medical mission (both in Brazil), I pursued a career in hospital administration. I worked in health care for 25 years before leaving the corporate world and pursuing a degree in Religious Studies and Spiritual Guidance certification. I don’t have a job description but I have managed to find a lot of things to do…….and I must say that keeping house in the tropics is work, too.
We have two sons. Peter just turned 27 and is a grad student at UNC in Raleigh in International Studies. Mark is 25 and is just completing a degree in video/media production and lives in Madison, Wis. We are blessed that they are so supportive of us.
Check out our blog: www.ponderingsfrompng.blogspot.com. It is very hard to post from our dial-up internet, especially pictures, but I get some done periodically.
Thank you for your offer for a Care Package. Let us ponder that a bit. Frankly, the postal service is very, very challenging. We have told our families not to bother sending us stuff. We DO like personal contact, however, and email is still the best medium. We would love it if, when your group gathers, that you put together lists of questions and we can exchange information. We would love to hear more about Lord of Life, too. So…..we ask only for your prayers, your will to stay connected, and hearts that are open to the surprises that God has in store for all of us.
Nancy Anderson and Pr. Rod Nordby
P.S. from Sue: Covenant sponsors like Lord of Life commit to support a missionary prayerfully, financially and with encouraging communication. Learn more at www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship. Visit www.elca.org/operationthanksgiving to learn how to participate in Operation Thanks-Giving 2010 and send “random acts of appreciation” to ELCA Missionaries.