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

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

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.

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.



Praying, sending, welcoming, & listening – what our mission trip needs

LindsayCowell2Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

July! How is it already so far into summer! As I write this I am surrounded by paperwork and resources as I prepare for this month’s senior high school mission trip to Philadelphia. St. John’s will be sending 13 students and 4 adults to Philadelphia July 15-23 to participate in service work through YouthWorks, a non-denominational Christian service trip organization. Our group will be learning about urban gardening, poverty issues, and food sustainability. The people of St. John’s have generously supported us over the past several months as we have prepared for this trip. You have attended our Chili Cook-off, joined us for Sunday morning coffee, and let us cook soup suppers and Sunday morning breakfasts for you. Through all of this food-related fundraising you have been overwhelmingly generous with both your time and your money, and for that we are immensely grateful.

And now, I have another favor to ask of you. This is much more difficult than giving $20 here and $5 there. What our students and adult leaders will need most from you is emotional and logistical support. Our mission team needs your support and feedback. We need your prayers for safe travel and God’s presence to be tangible as we serve in Philadelphia. We need you to send us off with encouragement. We need you to receive us as we return with open arms of welcome, listening ears to help us process our experiences, and willingness to help us apply what we learned in Philadelphia to our own context here at home in Kasson. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for our youth!

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.

God Has a Mission. God’s Mission Has a Church.

Pastor Dana

Pastor Dana O’Brien
Associate Pastor

For the four Sundays in April (and the Wednesdays immediately preceding) we’ll be talking all about where the church fits in God’s mission today. If you’ve been wondering what we’re talking about when we speak of the missional church and how we as church fit into a changing culture, check it out during the month of April.

And if you’d like to look at this topic in more depth, contact Pastor Dana to get on the daily email devotions list. Each day during the series the devotion for the day will focus on various aspects of what it means to live as church in our daily lives. Send an email to to be added to the list!

Congregational Input Days

RevisionRevampPlan to be at worship on Wednesday, April 27 or Sunday, May 1 for a visioning process!

We will share the scripture readings and sermon in a participatory style. Scripture passages will be presented and each person will be asked to mark a card indicating her or his choices of interpretation in response to the passages.

After sharing communion, along with prayer, we will engage everyone in a casual conversation of what is valued at
St. Johns, asking three simple questions:

  • Past: What is a time or specific event that spiritually touched you where you felt most alive in your faith journey?
  • Present: What is it about your congregation that you value most ?
  • Future: If God gave you three wishes for the future of your congregation, what would they be?

Do some praying about your participation with this experience and some reflecting on these perspectives ahead of time. One of our goals with the Revision Revamp 2016 process is for full congregation input into where we trust that God is leading us, the missional directions that are given for the next five years as a congregation. We are not there yet. We are striving to listen well. We are gathering input.

St. John’s 2016 High School Mission Trip

Philadelphia, PA
Dates: July 15-23, 2016 (at Youth Works site July 17-22)
$60 non-refundable deposit is due by Sunday, November 29.
Questions? Talk to Lindsay Colwell – or (507) 634-7110

Get started by registering at the form at the bottom of this page!

YouthWorkswebYouthWorks description of this site and serving experience:

As Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia offers a unique blend of history and progress. The city is filled with numerous parks, gardens, and historical and cultural landmarks, which help to remind visitors and residents alike of its long story. Beyond its vibrant past, there is much happening in the City of Brotherly Love today, both in terms of urban development and urban struggle. Poverty and unemployment are very real issues here, but the city is making strides to address the problems. Currently, Philadelphia is focusing on sustainability, providing healthy food to the hungry, creating equal opportunities for its diverse population, and redeveloping neighborhoods to invite more people in.

Serving opportunities in Philadelphia:

  • Partner with local organizations to meet ongoing needs in the community.
  • A fully integrated service and learning experience where students not only assist with needs but also understand the causes and outcomes of specific issues facing the community, as well as the community strengths.
  • Learn about food sustainability and how it affects this community as well as your community back home.

St. John’s student information to join:

  • 15 student spots available
  • $60 non-refundable deposit is due by Sunday, November 29. Please submit to the office, checks made out to St. John’s.
  • Total cost for the trip per student will be $500 (This includes transportation and payment to Youth Works for July 17-22, which includes all meals during that time period. We will work out food and lodging for the trip there and back as we go along.)
  • Registration can be done online or by speaking to Lindsay. We will have a meeting to fill out paperwork and to discuss fundraising efforts.
  • Fundraising efforts are currently in the planning stages, but spots are available right now for coffee fellowship fundraising opportunities. The sign-up sheet is on the Youth Board in the Narthex. Questions can be addressed to Lindsay.
  • Spots will be filled on a first come first served basis. The final deadline to decide if students are attending or not (based on available spots) is February 1, 2016. At this time, if there are open spots parents will be given the opportunity to attend as well.
  • We are in need of one female and one male chaperone. These chaperone spots are not a part of the 15 student spots. As of right now, Lindsay will be attending as the female chaperone, but that is dependent on family circumstances at that time.
  • Students and chaperones will need to have a TB test prior to turning in our student forms to Youth Works. A current test within the last 2 years will suffice.

Mission Possible!

RandyFettFriends, what is the mission of the church? The church has asked this question ever since the day of Jesus Christ. The church was founded on Christ’s death and resurrection, on God’s plan of salvation. Nowadays with all the challenges that we face in culture, throughout the world, and even in the church we ask if this mission is even possible. This month we engage the belief that “yes, it is possible.” Invite people to church, invite them to join you in your work groups, ministry teams, events, or studies.

“We are a faith – filled community, welcoming, inspiring, serving, and reaching out through the love of God.” We have so much to offer. Each of us is a Christ engaging presentation of the mission. Now “Go,” as Jesus says, “Go, and do mission.”

On Sunday, the 2nd we remember all of those saints in our community who have died in the past year, from the 2nd-12th we will do a survey on summer worship, on the 9th we share in the women’s Thank Offering service and vote on Amanda’s AIM call, on Sunday, the 2rd we dedicate all the memorials that were given in the past year, and on Thanksgiving eve, the 26th, we worship at 6:30 p.m.

God bless you,

Pastor Randy

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

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.


Photo Update from Haiti

Here are some photos from Pastor Mioche in Haiti. The Bouyaha School, which the people of St. John’s helped Pastor Mioche start, opened with 16 kids in 2002. The kids started school for this school year a couple of weeks ago. There are now 302 kids kindergarten through 6th grade. The students have done a great job taking the national exams for the 6th grade for the past four years – 100%, 97%, 100%, and 100% passing rates. The children are so excited to attend school this year in new classrooms. Thank you to those of you who helped this dream comes true! Praise God! The 3rd addition – the administration wing (computer lab, library, principle’s office, and storage) to the school – isn’t finished yet. It will cost between $20,000-30,000. Going to be putting a cement roof on so there can be a 2nd story.

HaitiFall14-01 HaitiFall14-03 HaitiFall14-04 HaitiFall14-05 HaitiFall14-06 HaitiFall14-07 HaitiFall14-08 HaitiFall14-09 HaitiFall14-12 HaitiFall14-13 HaitiFall14-14 HaitiFall14-15

ELCA Day of Service

“God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate who we are as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. On Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, the nearly 10,000 congregations of this church gather to serve communities in ways that share the love of God with all of God’s people.

St. John’s is encouraging people to bring a canned good for the hungry to worship and/or spend some time cleaning ditches in the Kasson/Mantorville area (on your own).

God's work. Our hands. Sunday

Missions & Outreach Opportunities

Here are a few opportunities to be involved in Missions & Outreach Ministries

  • cropwalk-logoSunday, October 5  CROPWALK in Rochester to benefit World Hunger (Confirmation Day at St. John’s) Click here for more info.
  •  Saturday, October 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Prepare and serve meal at Christ United Methodist Church-Rochester, for those needing a weekend meal. Would like 7 to 8 people.  Is there a Confirmation group that would like to help? If interested in helping, contact Carol Tjosaas at (507) 634-7893.
  • Missionary Sponsorships – only $40.00 per week. Contact the office at (507) 634-7110 for information.

Dodge County Back to School Program

backpackThe Mission of the Month for August 2014 is the Dodge County Back to School Program. For over 10 years, the Dodge County Back to School Program has helped kids in need get the school year started on the right foot. It is an independent program that is supported by various funding sources: private citizens, businesses, charitable organizations, and churches serving Dodge County residents.

Drop off financial or material donations for the program at St. John’s by August 17. Items to consider donating include:

  • Backpacks
  • Pens/pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers/crayons
  • Glue/glue sticks
  • Pencil cases
  • Erasers
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Notebooks (spiral bound, composition, and steno notebooks)
  • Folders (2 pocket with and without prongs)
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Dry erase markers
  • Basic calculator/scientific calculator (not graphing calculators)
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Book covers
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Sharpie markers

Anyone interested in applying for the program can get an application through Dodge County Human Services. Applications MUST be received NO LATER THAN August 15th.

The Dodge County Back to School Program is not a government subsidized program. The role of Dodge County Human Services is merely to verify the applicant’s status as qualifying for assistance from the Dodge County Back to School Program. Applications submitted to the Dodge County Back to School Program are filled on a first come, first served basis which is also based on availability of goods and funding of the program. Submission of application does not guarantee goods will be available.