Originally posted Aug. 29, 2012, at ELCA Southeastern Synod Blog. Republished with permission of the author.
And Jesus said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” (Luke 24:17a)
This verse from the Emmaus road encounter (Luke 24:13-49) conveys an understanding of mission as accompaniment. The mission encounter begins as Jesus walks with the disciples on the Emmaus road, sharing in their pain by listening to them as they tell their story (verse 18). Jesus then interprets the Scriptures and shares with the disciples a theological understanding of God’s saving act in history and reveals to them in the breaking of the bread the presence of the resurrected one in their midst.
With their eyes opened to the in-breaking reign of God, the disciples, transformed by the encounter and celebrating Christ’s reconciling presence, go out, empowered to share this good news with their nurturing community and others.
In my Guatemalan accompaniment, I walk along the road with our companion synod, la Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala. We engage together through listening, mutual learning and sharing, exchanging gifts, and receiving the good news. The mutual learning and sharing is to accompany the church’s pastoral staff in the development and implementation of their disaster ministry plan through their contextual reality. During the tropical storm two weeks ago affecting parts of Central America, we began by implementing the pre-Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala disaster ministry plan. We notified the pastoral leaders in the northern communities of the church with a pre-call and post-call to let them know of the potential tropical storm that may affect their communities and to follow-up on how their communities weathered the storm.
The church’s preparedness and response is a ministry of learning, walking and journeying together as we share our mutual gifts to give and to receive. In addition to accompanying the church’s pastoral staff, I also train and equip the pastoral leaders, health promoters, women and youth in disaster ministry. I have been very industrious this last month in preparing my contextual presentations. I have given a workshop in June and August in Spanish for the health promoters. By training and equipping localized leaders, they can then train, equip and accompany individuals, families and congregational members with preparedness planning and in response within their local communities.
I have also worshiped in several congregations and engaged with congregational members in these communities. I attended the 20th anniversary of la Iglesia Luterana Agustina la Resurreccion. I attend regularly la Iglesia Luterana Agustina la Santisma Trinidad where I gather with the community of faith and receive the Means of Grace.
May we continue to accompany our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in Christ as we walk along the road learning, sharing and journeying together. “What are we discussing with each other while we walk along?” We discuss that God’s disaster preparedness and response is the church and its narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for accompanying me along the road through your prayers and gracious giving.
Find a link to Sandra Braasch’s entry at ELCA Southeastern Synod Blog at Lutheran Blogs.
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The death of mission trips and rise of accompaniment experiences
Goodbye, the beloved country
Life without expectations