Life-giving waters are often taken for granted in American society where we have full access to clean drinking water and an ample supply for bathing. Yet, in other parts of the world, clean water is a rare and precious gift.
ELCA missionary Joe Troester, a water management specialist in the Central African Republic, reflects, “Spring boxes are one of the most cost-effective ways to increase access to potable water. Now, instead of muddy, parasite- and bacteria-infested water, villagers can collect clean spring water, piped directly from the source.”
This year during Lent, consider lifting up the witness of Joe and Deborah Troester, alongside other ELCA missionaries, in the life of your congregation.
The Hand in Hand Global Mission Support Blog Digest provides a wealth of stories received directly from our church’s 230 missionaries. You can sign up to receive weekly stories in your email inbox. These stories can be used as devotional readings, sermon starters, the basis for a daily Lenten devotional booklet and Sunday school resources. Consider using the following stories, which draw a parallel with the Sunday readings:
First Sunday in Lent
“A new sister in Christ” by Phillip and June Nelson, missionaries in Cameroon.
“I heard her tell Pastor Abdulahi that she had seen a difference in her husband after he was baptized. She wanted to be a part of what she had heard about Jesus.”
Second Sunday in Lent
“‘Community’ and the church in Japan” by Dana Dutcher, missionary in Japan.
“For us being a Christian is easy. My family didn’t disown me; my friends didn’t leave me. But, for a Japanese Christian, these are some of the issues they face.”
Third Sunday in Lent
Exodus 20:1-17 (verse 12)
“Respect for the elderly in Japan” by Patrick and Jacqueline Bencke, missionaries in Japan.
“One thing I appreciate about Japan is how every day is sort of Respect for the Aged Day. It is heartening to see this, despite an ever-changing society that seems to be drifting from its traditional values.”
Fourth Sunday in Lent
“Haiti needs more than charity” by Paula Stecker, missionary in Haiti.
“While Haitians are very appreciative of the help they have received, they would also like to do more of the reconstruction themselves. Haitian carpenters, painters, welders, farmers, doctors and nurses would like to work for a fair wage and be able to pay for their food, rent and school fee. All of us have a voice. Our voices can bear witness before governments. ”
Fifth Sunday in Lent
“Old ways persist in Liberia” by Brian and Christine Palmer, missionaries in Liberia.
“Liberia is said to be a predominantly Christian nation. Yet the longer we live here the more we are discovering how blended Christianity is with traditional African religion. Is Christ the true Savior for Liberians or do the traditional witch doctors have additional messages?”
“Little stars of Jesus in Peru” by Dana Nelson and Thomas Ososki, missionaries in Peru.
“Adriana feels very called by God to accompany the young girls in our church (ages 8-15) and has started a dance group, called ‘Estellitas de Jesus’ (Little stars of Jesus). She explains that it is much more than choreography. It is also time for them to get together and pray, sing, build their self-esteem and glorify God with dance.”
Here are other ways to use the ELCA’s resources on global mission to enhance your Lenten worship:
Hand in Hand bulletin inserts. The downloadable inserts include “A Light in Linguere,” the story of Fatimata, a Fulani woman who made her way to the baptismal waters through the witness of the Lutheran Church of Senegal and ELCA missionary Dirk Stadtlander.
Prayers for missionaries. Consider praying for missionaries in a different region of the world each week: Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America/Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East. Find a list of the missionaries in the Hand in Hand Missionary Sponsorship Annual.
Lenten dinners. Use ELCA Missionary Sponsorship placeMAPs at your dinners and provide crayons for God’s children — young and old — to color them. You could also serve foods from your missionary’s country of service. Use this time to learn about Lenten and Easter traditions and crafts in your missionary’s country of service.
A special offering. Consider using Lent to make an “over and above” offering in support of the work of all ELCA missionaries or the missionary of your choice. Order special ELCA Missionary Sponsorship pew envelopes online.
Support a missionary. Would you like your congregation to join ELCA missionaries as you come to the living waters this Lent? Go online, write to email@example.com or call 800-638-3522, ext. 2641, for more information.