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Update from Chile – November 2017

We received this letter from Karen Anderson on November 17, 2017:

Dear Friends in Christ,

Please download the November 2017 EPES Update to get a glimpse of what we have been up to the past few months. It has been a busy time!

In the Update, you will read about our annual human rights activities with the health teams – a visit to the National Stadium which was the largest center for torture during the dictatorship and today is a memorial site. With the health promoters, we also organized a gathering at EPES to discuss emerging human rights issues related to the “new immigration” in Chile. There are also updates about our various EPES projects and a page of photos from our 35th Anniversary Concert in Minneapolis in September. The update ends with photos from the church service to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation led by the Bishop of the IELCH, Rev. Oscar Sanhueza with the participation of the president of Chile, Dr. Michelle Bachelet.

Thank you for your ongoing support and accompaniment that reminds us that we are not alone in this journey to work for justice and dignity in health. 

And speaking of not being alone, as I write this, we are anxiously waiting for the arrival of a group of 20 people from Trinity Lutheran Church, Owatonna, MN (my hometown and my home church) and Christ the King, Mankato, MN. They will be visiting EPES from Saturday the 18th until Saturday the 25th. During their time here, they will meet the community health teams, worship at the Good Samaritan congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH), have a guided tour of the Park for Peace (an ex-center for torture and extermination under the dictatorship), travel south to visit our center and staff in Concepcion and they will participate in two community health actions. It is going to be a very busy week—they even get to be here for the presidential elections! We pray that their experience in Chile is one rich in hope, faith, friendship and love. We will also be visited by a delegation from the Western Iowa Synod that is a companion Synod to the church in Chile. Accompanying them will be Paulina Dassé from the Global Mission staff of the ELCA. It is going to be a wonderful time.

As we prepare for Advent, however, it feels like the world is in an overwhelming state of fear and despair. I find comfort and challenge in the Advent reflection of Katharine Jefferts Schori, former Bishop of the Episcopal Church:

To live as Jesus did is to embrace the world’s suffering —in as full a way as possible — and yet to endure, knowing that God is still in our midst, and in the heart of the pain. Patience in this season of waiting is not just about putting up with delay, but having deep compassion for all who wait for justice, healing, and peace. It is about solidarity, and suffering- with (which is the literal meaning of compassion). John the Baptizer is announcing the presence of compassion in the flesh — and reminding his hearers that God’s road builder toward that future is coming. Not only will a fellow sufferer stand with you, but he will help unfold that path to a healed world. The pathway isn’t finished yet, but if you’ll turn around, you will see it and become part of it.

In this season of patience, what suffering claims your heart? What do you wait for, in solidarity with another? Will you join in building that road through the wild and fearsome darkness? 

God of holy patience, help us to offer a compassionate witness against the fear and despair of our time. Amen.*

Blessings and Peace,
Karen

* From a Series of Advent Devotions available at http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Advent_Devotions.pdf

A little bit about the recent Haiti trip

By Amanda Sabelko

From June 22 – 29, 2017, Julia Evans, Dennis Foster, Markayla Kujath, Amanda & Justin Sabelko, Annabel & Jennifer Smith, Tanya Young, and Dan Ziebell traveled to visit our friends and ministry partners in Pignon and Bouyaha, Haiti. While we did get in a little sight-seeing the main focus of our trip was to continue developing relationships with the people of Pignon and Bouyaha. A lot of what we did was duplicated in both Bouyaha & Pignon.

We put on a Vacation Bible School where we explored the story of Daniel & the Lion’s Den. Julia, Markayla, and Annabel along with our fabulous translators – Moustakyi & Gobi lead the music – “This Little Light of Mine” was a huge hit. Amanda told the Bible story & Tanya taught everyone how to play the “Hokey-Pokey.” Personally, it’s the best behaved I have seen any children so rest-assured, it is possible for children to sit still.

The women of St. John’s donated money to purchase food in Haiti to give out to women who came to the Bible study and health conversations. They all walked away with enough food to feed their families for a week. Tanya led the women’s Bible study where they talked about Naomi & Ruth. Jen held two great discussions on Women’s health issues. Women were able to ask questions about their health and Jen gave out some great, simple health tips including the importance of drinking water.

Over $13,000 was raised to go toward a building project at the Friends of Christ School in Bouyaha, a small village north of Port-au-Prince. While we were there we saw parts of the foundation being laid and cement being poured. This new portion of the school will have extra classrooms, room for storage and an office for the principal.

There was so much more to our trip that the Haiti Mission Team would love to share with you. Please join us on August 27th at 2 pm in the Fellowship Hall for a full report on our trip.

You can also read more about the trip at https://stjohnskasson.wordpress.com/

Women to Women

St. John’s women are doing a Women to Women project with the women of Haiti. We would like you to help us send funds with the St. John’s women who will travel to Haiti this summer.

During the summer the children in Haiti are not in school and miss out on the meal they would receive at school. When their mothers attend a Bible study, we sent a bag of food supplies home with them for meals at home.

If you would like to participate in this project, there is a Women’s Food Fund Basket at the Welcome Center (or in the office) for your contributions. (This is a women’s project, but of course we welcome assistance from our male friends as well!)

Follow the 2017 Haiti Mission Trip

The school in Bouyaha, Haiti, is filled to capacity and needs more classroom space. Hearing the need and continuing its commitment to Pastor Mioche’s ministry, St. John’s has raised $10,000 for an addition to the school. On June 23, a St. John’s mission team will travel to Pignon and Bouyaha, Haiti to kickoff the construction and to lead a variety of other projects in support of Pastor Mioche’s ministry. The team traveling includes Julia Evans, Annabel Smith, Jen Smith, Dan Ziebell, Tanya Young, Justin Sabelko, Amanda Sabelko, Markayla Kujath, and Dennis Foster. The team will return June 29.

Please keep the team in your prayers! Follow their blog at https://stjohnskasson.wordpress.com/

Women to Women

St. John’s women are doing a Women to Women project with the women of Haiti. We would like you to help us send funds with the St. John’s women who will travel to Haiti this summer.

During the summer the children in Haiti are not in school and miss out on the meal they would receive at school. When their mothers attend a Bible study, we sent a bag of food supplies home with them for meals at home.

If you would like to participate in this project, there is a Women’s Food Fund Basket at the Welcome Center (or in the office) for your contributions. (This is a women’s project, but of course we welcome assistance from our male friends as well!)

Upcoming fundraisers for the school in Haiti

As part of our ministry partnership in Haiti, the team travelling to Haiti this summer is hosting some upcoming fundraisers to help build the school:

  • Burger Night at the American Legion in Kasson – Friday, May 19, 5:30-7:00 pm. Cost is $8/person.
  • BBQ themed evening with music and dinner at St. John’s – Wednesday, May 24, 5:30-7:00 pm. Freewill donations.

Doing good at WELCA Doing Day

WELCA Doing Day on March 15 was filled with mission work that will benefit many around the world. The quilters completed 5 quilts. The quilts made throughout the year were distributed to many local missions along with Lutheran World Relief.

Also completed and sent to Lutheran World Relief were:

  • 42 baby care kits
  • 39 school kits
  • 34 personal care kits
  • 20 fabric kits

Kits completed and delivered to Global Health Ministries included:

  • 46 newborn kits
  • 26 hospice/AIDS kits

We took time out for a wonderful potluck lunch, and the CKP students came in and performed for us. A big “Thank you” to everyone who donated items and helped put the kits together. A special “Thank you” to Bruce and Jeannine Allen for delivering the kits to Lutheran World Relief and Global Health Ministries in the Twin Cities.

17 Doing Day Colleen & Barb - web

17 Doing Day Quilt - web

17 Doing Day Marilyn & Barb - web

17 Doing Day Genny & Shelly - web

Haiti Trip Informational Meeting

There will be an informational meeting about our trip to Haiti on January 11 at 7 pm, following worship.

This meeting is for anyone who is interested in going in June 2017. Dates are still being worked on.

More about our ministry with Haiti at www.stjohnskasson.org/haiti-mission

ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton visits our partners in Chile

Recently a delegation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) visited the Popular Education for Health (EPES) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH), our ministry partners through our support of ELCA missionary Karen Anderson.

Karen wrote the following in her update:

elca-visit-300x215The EPES team was thrilled and honored to receive the visit of the delegation from the ELCA this past weekend to share our history, current work and future. The ELCA leaders also had a lively meeting with community health groups, the newly graduated nutrition promoters and the EPES-trained advocates to end violence against women. The health groups
shared different educational campaigns and participatory methodologies with the delegation. Bishop Eaton, Rev. Malpica and Rev. Rodriguez participated in brief representations of community health activities—painting murals on the importance of early detection of breast cancer, promoting water instead of sugary sodas, among other issues. They also walked through the streets of the community of La Bandera to get to know the reality and to see some of the activities carried out by the Llareta health team. They visited the most recent mural painted by Llareta for the 25th of November—the International Day for the elimination of Violence against Women. For EPES and the health groups, it was an opportunity to thank the ELCA for its long-term support and accompaniment for our work to promote justice and dignity in health.

On Sunday, I accompanied the delegation on their visit to the Park for Peace Villa Grimaldi, a former concentration camp for torture and extermination during the brutal dictatorship of Pinochet. Bishop Eaton, Pastors Rafael and Raquel were deeply moved by the testimony of their guide, camp survivor, Lelia Pérez, who highlighted the role Bishop Helmut Frenz of the IELCH played in the defense of human rights during the most difficult years of the dictatorship. The delegation visited the park and heard the horrific and painful stories of the life of prisoners held there but also heard their stories of the solidarity and humanity that sustained them in their darkest hours. After the visit with EPES and the visit to Villa Grimaldi, Rev. Malpica wrote on his Facebook: “Today I give thanks for Helmut and Lelia. I also give thanks for the courageous women at EPES.

I thank you for your support to the wider ministries of the ELCA (such as global mission), that accompanies ministries like EPES, here in Chile and programs around the globe seeking justice and peace for vulnerable and marginalized communities. The history of the brutal dictatorship in Chile; the witness and story of Lelia demands our commitment
to say: Nunca Más (never again). In this journey we are sustained by Jesus’ project for life.

We are so thankful for your prayers and support for our health ministry in Chile!

Blessings during this season of Advent,
Karen Anderson

View photos from the visit in this PDF.

Confirmation service night

Wednesday, October 12 was one of St. John’s Confirmation Service nights. At St. John’s there are eight confirmation small groups that meet on Wednesday and one that meet on Sunday with a total of 70 students in grades 7-8. Each small group will do five service nights throughout this school year.

Pictured below is a group of 8th grade confirmation students who volunteered to help pack meals for Feed My Starving Children. Volunteers pack rice, soy, dried vegetables, and a nutritionally complete blend of vitamins and minerals into bags which are then sealed, boxed, placed on pallets and shipped to partners working to reach the neediest children around the world. This small group of boys packed enough food to feed 42 kids for a whole year!

In addition to the group who packed meals, another group packed 55 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, another group took letters of appreciation to the fire station, several groups helped around St. John’s with preparations for the Advent Festival, and one group deep-cleaned and sanitized the nursery.

8th-grade-confirmation-serving-at-feed-my-starving-children-1 16-8th-grade-confirmation-serving-at-feed-my-starving-children-2 16-8th-grade-confirmation-serving-at-feed-my-starving-children-3

Operation Christmas Child Gift Suggestions

St. John’s is collecting items for Operation Christmas Child. Bring in your items or financial contributions now through November 13.

Suggested items:

TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries)

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, spiral or small notebooks, paper, solar calculators, colored pencils, erasers, rulers, scissors with rounded edges, water color paints, coloring and picture books

NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, toothpaste, bar soap, combs, washcloths, small package of Kleenex

ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.

DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

QUESTIONS:  CONTACT TANYA YOUNG (316) 390-5368; OR TYOUNG8550@YAHOO.COM

 

Note from Missionary Karen Anderson

On April 14, 2016, Karen wrote:

In January we ran our 7th International Training Program simultaneously in English and Spanish with participants from 8 countries. The ELCA sent leaders from Latino Ministries in the US who were originally from Colombia and El Salvador. This week we train 25 public health workers; next week 10 doctoral students from the Chicago Institute of Psychology visit. We have a new program starting next week to train nutrition health promoters in Chile. Somehow things never seem to slow down. Greetings, thanks, and blessings to everyone at St. John’s.

Celebrating St. John’s Quilting Ministry

The quilts that were made this winter and spring have been displayed in the sanctuary this week. During worship, they are being blessed before sending them to Lutheran World Relief. In addition to these quilts, the quilters sold quilts for $1,000 for the Haiti missions. They have also donated 166 large quilts and 55 baby quilts to area organizations and each baby baptized at St. John’s received a quilt.

Thank you to all who have given their time or donated materials to this ministry!

Quilt Sunday 2015 at St John's

Mission & Outreach Projects in November

On November 2 and 5, the Mission and Outreach Commission hosted an ELCA Good Gifts table. If you missed the table but still want to explore ways for your Christmas giving to make a difference in the lives of others, check out www.ELCA.org/goodgifts.

November 9 is Lutheran Campus Ministry day. Check out this video sharing the story of the exciting ministries in Mankato and Winona:

The Mission of the Month for November will be Kim (Musolf) Schellhammer. She is diabetic and is in end stage chronic kidney failure.   Please remember her and her family in your prayers.

We will again be setting up the “Giving Tree” for SEMCAC families to enjoy a brighter Christmas. Please watch the announcements for the dates.

 

Packing Hospice/AIDS Kits

This group of people packed 37 Hospice/AIDS kits that will go to Global Missions and then sent to Joyce Mtinda Kimumbe who is the Palliative Care Director at the Iambi Hospital in Singida, Tanzania. This project was funded by St. John’s congregational gifts and from the Thrivent Action Fund. The goal is to complete 50 kits. The students in this group are from Kasson-Mantorville school and come to St. John’s every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to complete projects as part of a six-week school project.

Packing AIDs kits for Africa