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2024 World Hunger Lent Study: Week 1

The following is taken from the 2024 ELCA World Hunger Lent Study. The full resource can be ordered as a hardcopy or downloaded as a PDF in English or Spanish at the link here.



Genesis 9:8-17

Psalm 25:1-10

1 Peter 3:18-22

Mark 1:9-15

During Advent we reflected together on what it means to encounter God. We contemplated the spaces where God is revealed to us, the invitation to be part of God’s work in history, the vocation to which the church is called today and what it means to be grasped by the proclamation of Christ’s birth. Now, during Lent, we return to this journey, exploring the many ways we encounter God as we respond to hunger, poverty and need today. In this first session we will explore the act of reconciliation, the restoration of wholeness to relationships and to people when injustice makes the fullness of life in community impossible.

Jerri Eliano de Quevedo and his wife, Sirlei Eloí, live in the Kilombo Monjolo, a community in the municipality of São Lourenço do Sul in Brazil. Like many kilombola — descendants of the 4.5 million enslaved Africans brought to Brazil between 1570 and 1857 — they support themselves and their children principally through farming a plot of land in the kilombo. The plot is small, about 2 hectares. Given the frequent droughts, inadequate infrastructure and insufficient legal or political protections, making a living in this community can be incredibly difficult. In the past Jerri and Sirlei have tried to find work in urban centers outside the kilombo, but they have no access to education, so few jobs are available to them.

For Jerri, finding a way to stay on the land while feeding his family is not just a matter of finances but also of kilombola cultural identity. “The kilombolas always had to grow their food in small spaces, all together, because they didn’t have much land,” he explains. “This, for us, is cultural, and working in another way is out of our custom.”

A cultural relationship with and ecological knowledge of the land are central to kilombola history. From Africa the kilombola brought seeds and extensive knowledge of crops, which helped some of them to develop sophisticated agroforestry and farming systems. Yet access to sufficient land has always been a challenge for kilombolas, whose communities sprang from their resistance to slavery. As Edward Shore describes in the Texas Law Review, “Wherever there was slavery, there was also resistance — which assumed many forms. One such form of resistance was the formation of communities by [people who had escaped enslavement], known in Brazil as mocambos and kilombolas, demonyms of Kimbundu (Angolan) origin that signified ‘hideouts’ and ‘encampments.’”¹ Kilombolas in Brazil are similar to maroon communities in the United States, where self-liberated enslaved people formed isolated or hidden settlements.

These communities quickly became an important and visible part of Brazilian life but remained frequent targets of vilification and violence, both during and after slavery. Kilombolas were often forcibly removed from their land, and laws were passed in the 19th century that prevented them from owning land without official government titles, something most kilombolas were unable to obtain. In the century after Brazilian slavery ended in 1888, kilombolas faced significant obstacles to legal protection, education and economic opportunities.

In 1988 a new constitution in Brazil promised to protect AfroBrazilians’ rights, especially the right to land. Shore writes, “Brazil, the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery (in 1888) became the first country to constitutionally guarantee the collective land rights of the descendants of enslaved people.”² Though there is work to be done to fully guarantee kilombola rights, kilomobolas across Brazil have joined together to grow local economies and defend their constitutional right to land. The oppression of kilombolas testifies to the need for full reconciliation, to bring full opportunity for dignity and life to a people the world actively marginalizes.

The Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil (IECLB) and its diaconal arm, the Fundação Luterana de Diaconia (FLD), have journeyed with Jerri, Sirlei and the Kilombo Monjolo in this work, in partnership with the Center for Support and Promotion of Agroecology (CAPA) in the southern region of the Rio Grande do Sul state. This work is supported in part by ELCA World Hunger. Through the project, kilombola farmers joined together in cooperatives to gain access to seeds, training and new opportunities. “The community started to change,” Jerri says. Over time, other entities, including universities, began working with the community. “We began to have support, and life got better.”

“The work of CAPA within the community is about accompaniment, partnership and joint construction, and with open dialogue, creating the farming projects and other activities,” Jerri says. The kilombola communities, which practice their own ancestral spirituality, have worked with CAPA/Lutheran Foundation of Diakonia for decades. In addition to the farming projects, the partnership has helped as the kilombola market handicrafts, share technical advice, and acquire legal documentation, housing and access to spaces for public policy advocacy.

The most important work, though, according to Jerri, has been winning recognition of the community as a kilombola. “In my
understanding,” he says, “the work of CAPA so that we were recognized as a kilombola community was fundamental, so that today we could be in spaces of discussion, commercialization and seeking our rights.”

The project has helped Jerri and Sirlei diversify their crops, access markets and increase their income. Through it all they
have been recognized for their identity, dignity and rich history. “When we came to Brazil, it was not to be merchants but to be
traded,” says Jerri. “So this has brought us a big change, bringing respect and visibility.”

Jerri and Sirlei’s story shows how historic and ongoing injustices leave families vulnerable to hunger. Hunger is not incidental or accidental. In the case of Brazilian kilombolas it is the direct result of oppression and injustice — slavery, racism, discrimination, inequity, violence. Yet their story also reveals their witness of courage, strength and resilience as we work together toward a just world where all are fed.

In the Bible readings for this first week of Lent, the author of 1 Peter reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the cost of the sacrifice and the consequences. Jesus, who was executed by an unjust occupying political power in Jerusalem, gives his life and, in doing so, makes possible our reconciliation with God. Whereas sin estranges us from God and one another, Jesus restores us to fellowship with God, so that we may be restored in fellowship to one another.

This reconciliation is more than just a good feeling, more even than the experience of forgiveness. It is a radical restoration of relationship with the One who knows us. Reconciliation has its roots in a Latin term meaning “to overcome feelings of distrust or hostility” or, in another form, “to bring together, unite in feelings, make friendly.” To be reconciled is to overcome conflict and transform a broken relationship — to be restored, often in a new way. For the writer of 1 Peter, this is the work of Christ. As the author writes of baptism, this is not merely the removal of offending “dirt from the body” but a more profound transformation of relationship.

As we are reconciled to God, God calls us to reconcile with one another. Lent invites us to think more deeply about what that means. Grace assures us that we need not worry about our relationship with God; Christ has reconciled us. But grace also impels us into the world, to be witnesses of reconciliation in every relationship. This is not easy work. It will take confronting the brokenness in relationships marred by racism, oppression, exclusion and injustice. Nor is it quick work. To be reconciled isn’t merely to apologize and be forgiven for past wrongs but to do the work of building together a new, shared world where each of us will be recognized and respected for the fullness of dignity we have from God, who created us.


Reflection Questions

What does it mean to be reconciled? Where have you experienced reconciliation through your own faith?

How can hunger ministry be seen as an expression of our reconciliation to God, the world and each other?

How does the story of kilombolas in Brazil demonstrate that reconciliation must mean more than apology and

What relationships in society, the church and the world need to be transformed to end hunger?




Génesis 9:8-17
Salmo 25:1-10
1 Pedro 3:18-22
Marcos 1:9-15

Durante el Adviento reflexionamos juntos sobre lo que significa encontrarse con Dios. Contemplamos los espacios donde Dios se nos revela, la invitación a ser parte de la obra de Dios en la historia, la vocación a la que la iglesia está llamada hoy, y lo que significa ser aprehendidos por el anuncio del nacimiento de Cristo. Ahora, durante la Cuaresma, volvemos a esta jornada, y exploramos las muchas formas en que nos encontramos con Dios mientras damos respuesta al hambre, la pobreza y la necesidad de hoy. En esta primera sesión exploraremos el acto de reconciliación, la restauración de la integridad de las relaciones y de las personas cuando la injusticia hace imposible la plenitud de vida en la comunidad.

Jerri Eliano de Quevedo y su esposa, Sirlei Eloí, viven en el quilombo Monjolo, una comunidad del municipio de São Lourenço do Sul, en Brasil. Como muchos quilombolas —descendientes de los 4.5 millones de africanos esclavizados traídos a Brasil
entre 1570 y 1857— se mantienen a sí mismos y a sus hijos principalmente a través del cultivo de una parcela de tierra en el quilombo. La parcela es pequeña, de unas 2 hectáreas. Dadas las frecuentes sequías, una infraestructura inadecuada e insuficientes protecciones legales o políticas, puede ser sumamente difícil ganarse la vida en esta comunidad. En el pasado, Jerri y Sirlei han tratado de encontrar trabajo en centros urbanos fuera del quilombo, pero como no tienen acceso a educación, hay pocos puestos de trabajo disponibles para ellos.

Para Jerri, encontrar una manera de permanecer en la tierra mientras alimenta a su familia no es solo una cuestión de finanzas, sino también de identidad cultural quilombola. “Los quilombolas siempre tuvieron que cultivar sus alimentos en espacios pequeños, todos juntos, porque no tenían mucha tierra”, explica Jerri. “Esto es algo cultural para nosotros, y no es parte de nuestra costumbre trabajar de otra manera”.

La relación cultural con la tierra y el conocimiento ecológico de esta son elementos fundamentales en la historia de los quilombolas, quienes trajeron de África sus semillas y un amplio conocimiento de las siembras, lo que ayudó a algunos de ellos a desarrollar sofisticados sistemas agroforestales y agrícolas. Sin embargo, el acceso a tierras suficientes siempre ha sido un reto para los quilombolas, cuyas comunidades surgieron de su resistencia a la esclavitud. Como describe Edward Shore en Texas Law Review: “Dondequiera que había esclavitud, también había resistencia, la cual asumía muchas formas. Una de esas formas de resistencia fue la formación de comunidades por personas que habían escapado de la esclavitud, conocidas en Brasil como mocambos y quilombolas, demónimos de origen kimbundu (angoleño) que significaban ‘escondites’ y ‘campamentos’”¹ Los quilombolas de Brasil son similares a las comunidades cimarronas de los Estados Unidos, donde las personas esclavizadas auto liberadas formaron asentamientos aislados u ocultos

Estas comunidades se convirtieron rápidamente en una parte importante y visible de la vida brasileña, pero siguieron siendo blanco frecuente de vilipendio y violencia, durante y después de la esclavitud. Los quilombolas eran a menudo sacados de sus tierras por la fuerza, y en el siglo XIX se aprobaron leyes que les impedían poseer tierras sin títulos oficiales del gobierno, algo que la mayoría de los quilombolas no podían obtener. En el siglo posterior al fin de la esclavitud brasileña en 1888, los quilombolas se enfrentaron a importantes obstáculos para recibir protección legal, educación y oportunidades económicas.

En 1988, una nueva constitución en Brasil prometió proteger los derechos de los afrobrasileños, especialmente el derecho a la tierra. Shore escribe: “Brasil, el último país de América en abolir la esclavitud (en 1888), se convirtió en el primer país en garantizar constitucionalmente los derechos colectivos sobre la tierra de los descendientes de personas esclavizadas”.² Aunque queda trabajo por hacer para garantizar plenamente los derechos de los quilombolas, los quilombolas de todo Brasil se han unido para hacer crecer las economías locales y defender su derecho constitucional a la tierra. La opresión de los quilombolas atestigua la necesidad de una reconciliación plena, para brindar plenas oportunidades de dignidad y vida a un pueblo que el mundo margina activamente.

La Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil (IECLB) y su rama diaconal, la Fundação Luterana de Diaconia (FLD), han caminado con Jerri, Sirlei y el quilombo Monjolo en este trabajo, en colaboración con el Centro de Apoyo y Promoción de la Agroecología (CAPA) de la región sur del estado de Rio Grande do Sul. Este trabajo es respaldado en parte por ELCA World Hunger. A través del proyecto, los agricultores quilombolas se unieron en cooperativas para obtener acceso a semillas, capacitación y nuevas oportunidades. “La comunidad comenzó a cambiar”, dice Jerri. Con el tiempo, otras entidades, incluidas las universidades, comenzaron a trabajar con la comunidad. “Empezamos recibir apoyo, y la vida mejoró”.

“El trabajo de CAPA dentro de la comunidad tiene que ver con el acompañamiento, alianza y obra conjunta y, con diálogo abierto, crear los proyectos agrícolas y otras actividades”, dice Jerri. Las comunidades quilombolas, que practican su propia espiritualidad ancestral, han trabajado con CAPA/Fundación Luterana de Diakonia durante décadas. Además de los proyectos agrícolas, la alianza ha ayudado a que los quilombolas comercialicen artesanías, compartan asesoría técnica y adquieran documentación legal, vivienda y acceso a espacios para la incidencia de políticas públicas. Sin embargo, el trabajo más importante, según Jerri, ha sido ganar el reconocimiento de la comunidad como quilombola. “A mi entender”, dice él, “fue fundamental el trabajo de CAPA para que se nos reconociera como comunidad quilombola, para que hoy pudiéramos estar en espacios de discusión, comercialización y búsqueda de nuestros derechos”.

El proyecto ha ayudado a Jerri y Sirlei a diversificar sus cultivos, acceder a mercados y aumentar sus ingresos. A través de todo, han sido reconocidos por su identidad, dignidad y rica historia. “Cuando llegamos a Brasil, no fue para ser comerciantes, sino para ser comerciados”, dice Jerri. “Así que esto ha producido un gran cambio, trayendo respeto y visibilidad”.

La historia de Jerri y Sirlei muestra la forma en que las injusticias históricas y actuales dejan a las familias vulnerables al hambre. El hambre no es incidental ni accidental. En el caso de los quilombolas brasileños es el resultado directo de la opresión y la injusticia —esclavitud, racismo, discriminación, inequidad, violencia. Sin embargo, su historia también revela su testimonio de coraje, fortaleza y resiliencia mientras trabajamos juntos en pro de un mundo justo en el que todos seamos alimentados.

En las lecturas bíblicas de esta primera semana de Cuaresma, el autor de 1 Pedro nos recuerda la muerte y resurrección de Jesús, el costo del sacrificio y las consecuencias. Jesús, quien fue ejecutado por un injusto poder político ocupante en Jerusalén, da su vida y, al hacerlo, hace posible nuestra reconciliación con Dios. Mientras que el pecado nos aleja de Dios y de los demás, Jesús nos restaura a la comunión con Dios para que podamos ser restaurados en comunión los unos con los otros.

Esta reconciliación es más que un buen sentimiento, más incluso que la experiencia del perdón. Es una restauración radical de la relación con Aquel que nos conoce. La reconciliación tiene sus raíces en un término latino que significa “superar los sentimientos de desconfianza u hostilidad” o, en otra forma, “reunir, unirse en sentimientos, hacerse amigable”. Reconciliarse es superar el conflicto y transformar una relación rota —ser restaurado, a menudo de una manera nueva. Para el escritor de 1 Pedro, esta es la obra de Cristo. Como escribe el autor sobre el bautismo, esto no es simplemente la eliminación de la ofensiva “suciedad del cuerpo”, sino una transformación más profunda de la relación.

A medida que nos reconciliamos con Dios, Dios nos llama a reconciliarnos unos con otros. La Cuaresma nos invita a pensar más profundamente sobre lo que eso significa. La gracia nos asegura que no tenemos que preocuparnos por nuestra relación con Dios; Cristo nos ha reconciliado. Pero la gracia también nos impulsa a entrar en el mundo, a ser testimonio de reconciliación en cada relación.

Este no es un trabajo fácil. Será necesario hacer frente a la ruptura de las relaciones empañadas por el racismo, la opresión, la exclusión y la injusticia. Tampoco es un trabajo rápido. Reconciliarse no es simplemente disculparse y ser perdonado por los errores del pasado, sino hacer el trabajo de construir juntos un mundo nuevo y compartido donde cada uno de nosotros sea reconocido y respetado por la plenitud de dignidad que tenemos de Dios, quien nos creó.


Preguntas de Reflexión

¿Qué significa ser reconciliados? ¿Dónde ha experimentado reconciliación a través de su propia fe?

¿Cómo puede verse el ministerio del hambre como una expresión de nuestra reconciliación con Dios, con el mundo y con los demás?

¿Cómo demuestra la historia de los quilombolas en Brasil que la reconciliación debe significar más que disculpas y perdón?

¿Qué relaciones en la sociedad, la iglesia y el mundo necesitan ser transformadas para acabar con el hambre?


¹ Edward Shore, “A Dream Deferred: The Emergence and Fitful Enforcement of
the Quilombo Law in Brazil” [Un sueño aplazado: el surgimiento y la aplicación
irregular de la Ley del Quilombo en Brasil] Texas Law Review 101:3, notas 24-25,

² Ibid, note 18.

Reflecting on the United Nations High-Level Political Forum


In July 2023, four leaders from across the United States joined ELCA World Hunger and the Lutheran Office for World Community in New York City as delegates of the Lutheran World Federation at the 2023 United Nations High-Level Political Forum. The forum was an opportunity for UN member states, agencies and organizations to share updates on progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. As our delegation learned, progress against the goals has been slow and, in some cases, has reversed. The delegation, representing the 149 member churches of the Lutheran World Federation, including the ELCA, was able to hear from leaders around the world, meet other advocates, connect with staff from the ELCA’s advocacy office in Washington, DC, listen to stories of changes and challenges, and consider together how each of us can be part of the work toward the Sustainable Development Goals in our communities.

Below is a reflection from one of the participants, Pastor Brianna Lloyd. Rev. Lloyd currently serves as pastor of Ka Hana O Ke Akua church (UCC) on the leeward side of Oʻahu and an alum of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary’s Center for Climate Justice and Faith, which is supported in part by ELCA World Hunger. Click here to read a reflection from Kitty Opplliger, who joined Rev. Lloyd as part of the delegation to the UN.

I didnʻt know it at the time, but as we began our week at the UN High Level Political Forum, a boat from Japan, advocating for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, had docked in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.  The Peace Boat, a Japan-based NGO with a U.S. presence at the United Nations, ended its 114th voyage in Honolulu with a “Pledge to Our Keiki”—a commitment to the children of Hawaiʻi for a future of sustainable tourism.  The “Pledge to Our Keiki” signing ceremony was organized in partnership with the nonprofits Kanu Hawaii and Blue Planet Alliance, along with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Oahu Visitors Bureau, Alaska Airlines and other groups. These groups were and are bringing some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to life in the particular context and community that is Hawaiʻi.

Rev. Lloyd and Kitty Oppliger await the start of a session at the UN

As our group in New York listened to the many discussions in the conference rooms of the UN, we had to bridge the gap between discussions of pressing global issues, with broad, sweeping language, and our own contexts. The week was a practice of translation, and the practice continues in the days and weeks following the event.  For example, what does Goal 6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” mean in my context of Hawaiʻi?

My own journey to the UN began with some advocacy work related to the Navy’s fuel spills on Oʻahu at Kapūkakī (Red Hill), affecting thousands of military and civilian families.  Over the course of this past year, as the Navy flushed the fuel from the groundwater, they or their contractors used nearly five billion gallons of water, while those of us living on Oʻahu were asked to limit our own use of water. The Oʻahu Water Protectors and community leaders, such as Wayne Tanaka of the Hawaiʻi Sierra Club and Native Hawaiian community leader Healani Sonoda-Pale, continue to fight to protect the sacred water reserves of Oʻahu and to hold the Navy accountable to its mission of service and protection. I believe their work addresses Goal 6. There are many other organizations, groups, and events around Hawaiʻi—like Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi and the Pledge to Our Keiki—that are working at a similar goal.

Lutheran delegates learn about South Sudan from Presbyterian leaders

As we follow up from our week attending the HLPF, I understand anew that translation and communication from the ground here in Hawaiʻi and other local communities to larger bodies like ELCA World Hunger and the Lutheran World Federation, and vice-versa, are essential threads to galvanize the work. One of the most well-known quotes from Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi before the Kingdom was illegally overthrown by American businessman, goes, in part, like this:  “You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail.”

There is much being done everywhere. Perhaps we might draw hope from one another.

Updates to ELCA World Hunger’s Domestic Hunger Grants

ELCA World Hunger’s Domestic Hunger Grants are one way this church accompanies communities throughout the United States and Caribbean as they respond to hunger and poverty.

Domestic Hunger Grants Open May 1!

Our team is excited to share that the application process for Domestic Hunger Grants will open May 1, 2023. For those who are familiar with the Domestic Hunger Grants, this year’s process will look a bit different, but we hope that the changes described below will improve the process in some important ways. To learn more about the updated process and how to apply, please visit

This year, we are implementing a two-step process for ELCA World Hunger’s Domestic Hunger Grants, which we hope will increase efficiency, shorten the time for award decisions, reduce barriers to the application process and allow for deeper engagement with partners invited to submit a full proposal.

New Process for Grant Applications

Prior to submitting a full grant proposal, we ask grant applicants to fill out a letter of inquiry (LOI) which briefly describes the project proposal. Registering on our granting portal, ELCA GrantMaker, is not required at this step. Simply fill out the LOI form located here ( after May 1. LOI submissions are open from May 1 until May 31, 2023. After May 31, our grants team will conduct a review and send invitations and decline letters directly to applicants on or before July 31, 2023.

Applicant Info Webinar

On May 3, 2023, at 2:00pm CDT, ELCA World Hunger will host a webinar for interested applicants and others to learn more about the process. We will go over the new grant application process and how to submit an LOI, and we will answer questions from grant applicants. To join us for this virtual event, please register here ( Participants will be provided with a link once registered. The webinar will be recorded and accessible via the Domestic Hunger Grant FAQ page (

Domestic Hunger Grants Application Timeline

• May 1-31, 2023: Letter of inquiry form open
• June-July 2023: Letter of inquiry review period
• July 31, 2023: Response to the letter of inquiry sent to applicants (decline or accept)
• August 1-31, 2023: Invited applicants to complete grant application in ELCA GrantMaker
• August-November: Review and correspondence between ELCA World Hunger staff and grant applicants on proposal
• November 2023: Award notifications shared to applicants
• February 2024: Grant agreements signed and publicly announced
• March 2024: New Domestic Hunger Grants begin

Daily Bread Matching Grants Update

Registration and applications for Daily Bread Matching Grants is currently closed while we re-imagine how to better support our feeding ministry partners. Thank you to all of the feeding ministries across this church who have participated in Daily Bread Matching Grants previously and who continue to ensure access to food in their communities.


Thank you for all you do to work creatively and courageously toward a just world. If you have any questions about the process or about ELCA World Hunger, please reach out to our team at

With gratitude for the ministry and mission we share!
ELCA World Hunger

Migration Policy: Hunger Policy Podcast December 2021


Saturday, December 18, is International Migrants Day, a day set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness and focus attention on the 281 million people around the world where are on the move, in search of peace, stability, security and an opportunity for new life. In 2020, more than 3.6% of people around the world were migrants.


Hunger Policy Podcast-Migration (Audio Only)


In the US, the latest data we have on hunger and poverty confirms what we had guessed. Hunger is on the rise, poverty is on the rise, and yet neither is quite as high nationally as we thought they would be, due largely to the unprecedented federal legislation that expanded the safety net in the United States. While that is true nationally, that’s not the case for every community and every family here in the US or around the world, however. Immigrant and non-citizens in the US saw a steeper decline in income in 2020. Internationally, migrants are more vulnerable to hunger and poverty than native residents, and migrants experience unique risks when it comes to COVID-19. All this, coupled with the large numbers of people forced to flee their homes worldwide, makes immigration a key conversation we need to be having.

In this podcast, Giovana Oaxaca, the ELCA’s program director for migration policy, joins Ryan Cumming of ELCA World Hunger to talk about the realities of migration and immigration policy. As they describe in this conversation, “immigration policy” refers to more than just who is able to enter the United States, but also to questions about who has access to public benefits, what it means to be a “non-citizen” and how policy changes can impact individuals and communities. Ryan and Giovana also discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic specifically impacted immigration and immigrants in the United States and confront some of the prevailing myths about immigrants and migration.

Prefer to read the interview? Follow this link to access a transcript of the conversation.

Immigration and Migration Links from the Podcast


Social Media

AMMPARO Resources

  • Bible Studies
  • Sanctuary
  • Videos
  • Words Create Worlds

ELCA and Peace Not Walls: Advocacy Summer School

Interested in other podcasts? Visit the ELCA World Hunger blog and click “subscribe.”

“That We May Live Together”: From Challenges to Opportunities


Supported in part by ELCA World Hunger, the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Japan is a nine-month service leadership training program that draws people from around the world, allowing them to live and work together as they learn agricultural skills they can take back to their home communities. ARI also invites guest lecturers from Japan and abroad to teach sustainable development, organic farming and more. 

Through this model, ARI empowers leaders from around the world to build community, embrace diversity, value rural life, see the dignity of labor, promote food sovereignty and live in harmony with nature. Graduates return to their home countries equipped to work in sustainable development, build relationships with local leaders and transform their communities. Participants also receive ongoing support from ARI in identifying funding and leadership opportunities.  

As the impact of COVID-19 began to ripple around the world this spring, countries closed their borders and airports and flights were changed or canceled. Out of 26 students who’d planned to participate in ARI this year, only seven arrived in Japan; the others encountered travel restrictions and other challenges.  

Four ARI participants from Sierra Leone were at the closest Japanese consulate — in Accra, Ghana — applying for visas to enter Japan when Sierra Leone closed its borders and the government in Ghana ordered a nationwide lockdown. The participants obtained their Japanese visas, but the airports and borders were closed, so they couldn’t leave the country.  

This is when ARI reached out to its graduates in Ghana for help. John Yeboah, a 2018 graduate, answered the call, providing safety, food and lodging for the travelers. He escorted them from Accra to Kumasi by bus and took care of their needs while they awaited travel news.

Modeling what he had experienced during his training in Japan, John even worked with ARI to start the participants’ training right where they were. He led them in morning exercise, time-management techniques, leadership training and coaching, and discussion and reflection sessions.  

Participants from Asian Rural Institute are pictured

John Yeboah (second from left), a graduate of the Asian Rural Institute in Japan, is pictured with the four students from Sierra Leone and two local farmers at a pig farm in Kumasi, Ghana.

For the first few weeks, COVID-19 restrictions prevented Ghanaians from traveling to their fields. Eventually, restrictions were loosened, allowing the group to begin the agricultural portion of their unexpected training program. Following the ARI curriculum, they practiced growing crops such as cabbage, beets, carrots, chili peppers, okra, lettuce, spring onion, mint, spinach and cucumber on John’s organic farm

ARI staff have called John’s work a testament to the impact of the ARI training program on a community. With his display of servant leadership and his ability to adjust in a time of crisis, John turned a challenging and stressful situation into an unexpected time of learning and bonding for the Sierra Leone participants. Despite the difficult year, John and people like him around the world are demonstrating adaptability, ingenuity and Christ’s love for the neighbor.

Because of the work of God bringing people together across borders and through challenges, a farmer from Ghana guided students from Sierra Leone in a training program established by an institute in Japan, with funding from congregations and individuals in the US. Truly, John’s story, made possible in part because of gifts to ELCA World Hunger, reflects ARI’s motto: “That they may live together,” no matter the distances that keep us apart.

This story was originally published in the Winter 2020 edition of Boundless. View the full publication here. 

Welcome ELCA World Hunger’s Newest Colleague: Roselle Tenorio

Hi everyone, my name is Roselle Tenorio, and I am joining ELCA World Hunger as the Domestic Grants Manager. Previously, I was the Grants and Programs Manager at Texas Women’s Foundation. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies from Grinnell College.

I have a long and varied relationship with food justice and its intersections, starting at a young age volunteering with my family and community in Dallas, Texas, to researching food pantry systems while in college. I chose the nonprofit career field after a rewarding experience writing a grant for a new mobile food pantry program in rural Iowa. After graduating college, I joined AmeriCorps VISTA and served in Savannah, Georgia, at a nonprofit working on poverty alleviation.

Currently, I serve on the board of Abide Women’s Health Services, a grassroots, Black-led nonprofit organization that improves birth outcomes in communities with the lowest quality of care. I also volunteer on the Board of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, Junior Players Young Professionals Committee as a Junior League Dallas Member and as a Community Centric Fundraising (CCF) Texas Organizer.

Outside of working and volunteering, in my free time, I can be found wandering the arboretum or an art gallery, hiking and enjoying the outdoors, scoping out delicious local vegan cuisine, or curling up with a new book. I am a seventh generation Tejana, currently living in Dallas with my partner, Devin, who is from Chicago, and our cat, Xochitl. I am honored to be a part of this community and look forward to creating a just world where all are fed. 

Please join us in welcoming Roselle to the team!

International Aid: Hunger Policy Podcast


Survey data consistently paint a strange picture when it comes to the US budget. Americans in general believe that the US gives about 25% of its budget to international aid and that the portion should be closer to 10% of the federal budget. In reality, the US sends about 1% of its budget overseas. If Americans are confused about the amount of international aid, we may be even more unclear on the how and, importantly, the why of international aid. Where does the money go? What role do businesses and other organizations play? And why is international aid even more important in the age of COVID-19?

In this episode of ELCA World Hunger’s Hunger Policy Podcast, Patricia Kisare, international policy advisor for the ELCA, and Kaari Reierson, the ELCA’s associate for corporate social responsibility, join Ryan Cumming, the program director for hunger education, to break down some of the myths and realities about US aid and the church’s witness when it comes to this part of the federal budget. Patricia and Kaari also share a new resource they have put together to help congregations learn more about international aid.

So, watch the video below, listen to the audio or read the transcript to learn more about this important part of public policy.

Download the new resource on International Aid here. Find other helpful resources on public policy and advocacy at the ELCA Advocacy resource page and on the ELCA World Hunger resource page.

Want to subscribe to the ELCA World Hunger blog? Use the widget on our homepage to sign up!

Prefer to read the interview? Follow this link to access a transcript of the conversation. Closed captioning is also available in the video above and when the video is watched on YouTube.

Want to share the video? Here’s a link you can pass along:



Sowing Hope, Cultivating Solidarity in Chile


Educación Popular en Salud, or Popular Education in Health, (EPES) was founded by Karen Anderson, ELCA mission personnel, as a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile in the early 1980s. In 2002, EPES became an independent foundation, continuing and expanding its support of communities in the Latin American country of Chile. This important work is supported in part by gifts to ELCA World Hunger. We are grateful to our partners at EPES for the update and video below, showcasing some of the amazing work that is happening in the El Bosque community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check it out!

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EPES Foundation initiated a project with community health promoters and nutrition teams to cultivate home gardens. In five months, the women transformed the patios and balconies of their homes into small vegetable gardens. The enthusiasm for what was learned and harvested during the months of strict quarantine was so great that the women decided to create a community garden at the end of that year. The Auco community center in the Oscar Bonilla neighborhood of El Bosque, where the David Werner health team has met for more than 25 years, was chosen as the place for the community garden.

Since the beginning the project has had the technical advice and collaboration of Valeria Rodriguez from the Santa Isabel community garden.

In this video, the women share their experiences related to creating the garden, highlighting the satisfaction of growing their own food, connecting with nature, promoting community participation in health and food sovereignty, and contributing to the environment by reducing organic waste. In addition, they report how this collective learning process has helped them to better face the pandemic, strengthening ties between women, sowing hope and cultivating solidarity.

Video Production and Editing: Claudia Macchiavello

Original Music: Martín Formento

New! “River of Life” VBS At-Home Guide


We are excited to share that the at-home guide for ELCA World Hunger’s “River of Life” Vacation Bible School program for 2021 is now available for download! This at-home guide is a supplemental resource for the full “River of Life VBS leader’s guide and includes modified activities, suggestions for online and at-home VBS, links to new videos and tips for parents, caregivers and other adults leading VBS with children at home!

Learn more in the video below:

To download “River of Life” VBS, including the full leader’s guide, the at-home guide and the toolkit with images and graphics to use on your website or social media, visit

To watch the story videos or the “Meet Our Neighbor” videos from ELCA World Hunger’s partners and companions, visit the ELCA World Hunger Vacation Bible School collection on the ELCA’s Vimeo page at

Share your story! If you use “River of Life” with your congregation or group, let us know! Email and share your feedback, stories or pictures!

Looking for more ideas? Join the community-run ELCA World Hunger VBS Facebook group and chat with other leaders from across the ELCA about VBS in 2021!

Ending Homelessness in Virginia


The following is an excerpt from “‘Big Dreams’ of Ending Homelessness in Virginia,” featured in Living Lutheran.


Last year, 25-year-old Maya (last name withheld), who lives in Virginia, was expecting her first child. Collecting unemployment due to COVID-19, she was staying with her parents when she got into an argument with them; they wanted more money to lodge her. After the altercation turned physical, Maya knew she had to leave the home for her baby’s safety. Two weeks before her due date, she was sleeping in her car.

Maya asked around and soon heard about ForKids, a nonprofit and partner of ELCA World Hunger that serves 14 cities and counties in southeast Virginia to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty for families and children. Soon she connected with a caseworker, Lisa Ellsworth, who shared these words of comfort: “After having the baby, you have a room.” ForKids set Maya up with emergency housing to come home to from the hospital.

This year, ForKids received a Big Dream Grant from ELCA World Hunger. Larger than World Hunger’s typical domestic grants, Big Dream Grants are designed to support ministries with transformative projects that will make a significant difference in their communities.

Photo courtesy of ForKids

To read more about this transformative ministry, check out “Big Dreams of Ending Homelessness in Virginia,” a recent article by Alex Baird in Living Lutheran, your source for news, reflections and stories from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and its local and global companions.

All photos courtesy of ForKids.