Global Links February 2022

Latest news and stories from Global Mission

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February 2022
Accompanying Migrants and Refugees in Latin America
Dec. 10 encounter between AMMPARO delegates and key members of Grupo de Trabajo Sobre Política Migratoria (GTPM) in Mexico City.

In December 2021, ELCA missionary Stephen Deal made his first AMMPARO-related trip since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. AMMPARO — which stands for Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities — is a ministry of the ELCA whose representatives walk alongside vulnerable migrants.

Deal, who is based in Costa Rica and serves as the AMMPARO representative for Latin America, admits that his trip stirred up mixed emotions. He enjoyed being able to come out from behind his computer screen after two years to reconnect with leaders of the ELCA’s AMMPARO companions in Mexico face to face. However, he also had to confront the inhumane treatment migrants and refugees, particularly those of African descent, are enduring along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. The number of migrants and refugees there dropped during the pandemic but is rising again. Deal learned from United Nations officials that nearly 100,000 migrants have been stranded in the Tapachula area, which has caused a critical housing shortage. Most of these migrants have no access to health care, education or legal employment. Deal says, “Basically they’re living in the street and surviving as best they can.”

When Deal returned to Costa Rica, images of these migrants stayed with him. But, he says, he remembered what the coordinator of the migrant ministry program of the Mexican Lutheran Church (ILM) said at the start of Epiphany last year: “In times of so much darkness, to follow the light of Jesus and to put our gifts and talents at his service, brings light to the lives of those in need. Through our actions we illuminate the paths of people who are migrants.” This is the call to mission that Deal shares with the entire network of AMMPARO companions and supporters.

Learn more about the work of AMMPARO and how you can get involved at

News Around the World
News Around the World
Since November 2020, an ongoing conflict in Ethiopia has forced people from their homes. These internally displaced people (IDPs) have lost their livelihoods and face food shortages at IDP sites. Lutheran Disaster Response has contributed to an ACT Alliance appeal that addresses the humanitarian crisis, and implementing partners Lutheran World Federation and Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus are supporting IDPs by distributing food, household kits and cash assistance.

Learn more about the situation here.

Mission Personnel
Mission Personnel Reflection
Photo: Rachel Eskesen

A Reflection From the Rev. Rachel Eskesen, Director, ELCA Europe Desk

I was first invited to serve internationally with the ELCA as a Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteer at St. Andrew’s Refugee Ministries (now St. Andrew’s Refugee Services, or StARS) in Cairo, Egypt, in 2004. When I responded “YES!” to this call to serve, I couldn’t have imagined how the experience would continue to impact and inform my vocational discernment.

Years later, during seminary, I felt a continuous pull toward global ministry and explored it further as an ELCA Horizon International intern in Bratislava, Slovakia. After graduating from seminary, I returned to the ELCA’s global ministries when I accepted a call to serve, first in an interim and then in a permanent capacity, as YAGM Central Europe Country coordinator.

Two years have passed since I began serving as area desk director for Europe on Feb. 1, 2020. Thus far my entire tenure has unfolded amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, we are called to courageous vulnerability in life. I’m grateful for the ministry partners who’ve joined us in our collaborative attempt to live fully into God’s mission in our world.

Read Rachel’s full reflection on Facebook.

Apply to serve with our global companions here.

Get Involved
Get Involved

  • Need is growing with the evacuation of thousands of Afghan refugees to the United States. At a webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, Lutheran Disaster Response, the ELCA AMMPARO network and ELCA Witness in Society advocacy will help congregations and individuals answer the call to show welcome in the months and years ahead. Attendees will learn how to engage in co-sponsorship, financial support and meaningful and effective advocacy. Register here.
  • In the latest ELCA World Hunger Policy podcast, Giovana Oaxaca, ELCA program director for migration policy, joins Ryan Cumming to talk about the realities of migration and immigration policy. Listen here.
  • African Descent Ministries of the ELCA is celebrating Black History Month with “Talks at the Desk,” a new video series that will explore diverse expressions of the church. A new video will premiere each Wednesday in February at 7:30 p.m. Central time. Hear youth, young adults, rostered leaders, elders and friends of our communities share their own sacred stories. Learn more at
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