Global Links September 2023

Stories from Global Mission

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August/September 2023
IWL Student Helps Ukrainian Refugees Overcome Barriers in Poland
The Rev. Katarzyna Rudkowska of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, Radom parish. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Since the Russia-Ukraine War began in February 2022, over 1.4 million refugees have arrived in Poland and registered to stay there — more than in any other country. Several Lutheran churches are providing support for them, including the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland. This is the church Kornelia Rudkowska, an International Women Leaders scholarship recipient, calls home. Last year her mother, Katarzyna, became one of the first nine Lutheran women to be ordained in Poland. Katarzyna is local director of the “I Overcome Barriers” program, which helps Ukrainian refugees master the Polish language.

“Refugees, despite the fact that they often have high professional qualifications, do not find work,” Kornelia says. “The biggest barrier is the poor knowledge of the Polish language.” The project is supported by the Lutheran World Federation and contributions from member churches and institutions, including Newberry College, where Kornelia is a sophomore.

News Around the World

Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran World Relief are partnering on a $1 million grant to help fund the project Supporting Farmers to Restore Resilient Livelihoods in Kharkiv. Participants in newly liberated areas of Ukraine are receiving input depending upon their needs, whether that be restoring old farms or establishing new ones.

Mission Personnel
Mission Personnel Reflection
New missionaries and ELCA Service and Justice staff attend the New Missionary Orientation, held July 9-14 in Minneapolis, Minn. Left to right: Mary Rothenbach (S&J), Rev. Bridget Gautieri, Rev. Andrew Ronnevik, Meredith Ronnevik, Heather Hardecopf (S&J), Sophie Warnberg, Justin Mauney, Susan Seidel, Julia Kontur, Rev. Bekah Davis, Karleigh Crepin. Not pictured: Rob Forrest.

This summer our church welcomed 10 new missionaries into service. They are now on their way to eight countries to walk alongside their new communities as teachers, pastors, pastoral interns, communicators and more. Here are a few things they’re excited about as they begin their global service journeys:

“I want to grow as a pastoral care leader. I hope to walk alongside the people of Malaysia, not just in my congregation but all over the country — to hear their stories and learn how to be present with how God is working in the lives of people around me.” —Justin Mauney, Horizon International intern in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

“Everyone needs community. We feel inspired to both embrace and be embraced by this vibrant community.” —The Rev. Bekah Davis (and Rob Forrest), Pastor, St. Andrew's United Church of Cairo and Saint Andrew's Refugee Services, Egypt

“We have so much to learn about God, ourselves and the world around us — and living intentionally in a new culture is a beautiful (and fun!) way to shape ourselves and our perspectives.” —Julia Kontur, Central Europe Teacher in Slovakia

“God's love and the gospel don’t just happen in the United States. I want to be part of God’s loving kingdom outside the U.S. and take what I learn back to the ELCA, to help grow the love of God.” —Karleigh Crepin, Horizon International intern in Lyon, France

As these missionaries begin their work, they need your support. Your gifts to ELCA missionaries will enable them to meet the needs identified by our global partners and to be fully present with our siblings in Christ around the world.

Get Involved

  • International Women Leaders virtual gathering: Learn more about the International Women Leaders program and meet some of the current scholarship recipients at IWL's virtual back-to-school celebration and blessing of scholars, taking place Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. Central time. Follow the Global Mission Facebook page for more information.
  • New newsletters: The newest editions of “Thrive” (for supporters of Lutheran Disaster Response) and “Boundless” (for supporters across ELCA ministries) feature stories of your gifts at work in Hungary, Malawi, Nepal, the U.S. and elsewhere. Find out how your generosity is making an impact around the world.
  • Global Service opportunities: Are you interested in serving with one of our global companions? Check out the ELCA Global Opportunities job board for 2024 openings. Positions will be posted for teachers, communicators, a coordinator and other needed roles. Email with any questions.
  • Share “Global Links”: Know someone interested in receiving these “Global Links” updates? Share this subscription link with family and friends or post it on your congregation's website. Help share the story of our global church!

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