Global Links February 2023

Latest news and stories from Global Mission

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February 2023
Rewriting Narratives in Nicaragua
Women students at Centro Intereclesial de Estudios Teologicos y Sociales (CIEETS, or Inter-ecclesial Center for Theological and Social Studies) in Nicaragua present their "completion of studies" projects.

Jaqueline Canada, who graduated from Centro Intereclesial de Estudios Teologicos y Sociales (CIEETS, or Inter-ecclesial Center for Theological and Social Studies) in Nicaragua, says she earned her degree in theological studies for more than career advancement. "I decided to do it out of the need to continue breathing,” she says, and to “rediscover myself with theology."

Jaqueline, 35, leads a congregation in Nicaragua. She spent five years working toward her undergraduate degree at CIEETS to better serve her faith community. However, when the time came for her to do a final "completion of studies" project, she found herself wrestling with a lack of confidence.

Jaqueline wasn't alone in her struggle to complete the degree program. CIEETS faculty noticed that fewer women were participating in theology studies and that many of them had finished their coursework but hadn't completed their final project. So, in partnership with the ELCA, CIEETS created a program that offered women students extra guidance as they completed their final project.

The program was initially designed for eight participants, but those students encouraged other women in academic limbo to complete their final projects as well, and CIEETS was able to find ways to share program resources with these students. Altogether, 15 women completed their degrees.

Read the full story of this program, and the many other ways your gifts are at work, in the newest "Boundless" newsletter.

News Around the World
News Around the World
On Jan. 22, Sally Azar became the first woman ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. "With my ordination," she says, "I hope that not only young women are inspired to pursue theology but that women of all ages who may have wanted to study theology but didn't think it was possible will be encouraged to do so." Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton participated in the ordination service, along with 18 of the ELCA's synod bishops and leaders.

Watch the full ordination service here.

Mission Personnel
Mission Personnel Reflection
Horizon intern Liz Kuster (left) and Kyle Svennungsen, pastor of Bratislava International Church, prepare for Sunday worship.

A Reflection From Liz Kuster, Horizon Intern in Bratislava, Slovakia

Emma stood at the front of the room and invited the class to come collect a sheet of the colorful paper I had brought at her request. Students, bantering in Slovak, debated over colors, and finally returned to their seats so Emma could begin leading us in our devotion that morning: making origami butterflies.

I was here in this classroom as a Horizon Intern, my duties split between the Bratislava International Church (BIC) and here at the Evangelical Lyceum — a bilingual high school where I teach religion to 80 students. As an ELCA candidate, I was told that my internship should be a time to explore my pastoral identity — but that wasn't the identity I was concerned about. I hadn't taught in this capacity before. Expanding my identity to include “teacher” felt intimidating.

When I began teaching in September, each new lesson set my nervous system on high alert. These students were intelligent, with a killer gift of perception. In terms of uncomfortable experiences, facing the blank and often painfully indifferent stares of a large group of teenagers is up there. But in actuality, the primary source of discomfort was the evolution happening within me.

Read Liz's full reflection on Facebook.

Get Involved

  • African Descent Ministries of the ELCA celebrates Black History Month with “Talks at the Desk,” a four-part video series that will explore diverse expressions of the church. A new video will premiere each Wednesday in February at 7:30 pm Central time. Learn more at
  • International Women's Day is March 8. On the following Sunday, March 12, congregations are encouraged to collect a special offering in support of the ELCA's International Women Leaders (IWL) program. Find IWL worship resources here.
  • We're hiring! Interested in leading a country program with young adults and serving in a congregation? Apply to serve as the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) country coordinator for Central Europe and pastor of the Bratislava International Church (BIC) in Slovakia.
  • There are many other opportunities to serve with our global companions. Visit the ELCA job board to learn more, and contact with your questions.

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