Stories of Hope & Resistance from Chile

St. John’s supports Karen Anderson, an ELCA missionary in Chile. We recently received the following email from her. The newsletter with these inspiring stories is downloadable here.

Dear Friends of EPES,

In the midst of the suffering and uncertainty ravaging our world since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Christians we are called to be co-creators of a more just future. This series, Stories of Hope and Resistance from Chile, present accounts of concrete ways EPES is working to address the crisis as it affects the communities, families and people we love and work with in Chile. You may have seen that the situation in Chile is very critical –

At EPES, we are so proud of the leadership of our Nutrition, Justice, Gender and Health project and the workshops they have been leading – one of which is outlined here. We are delivering huge sacks of soil and hundreds of seedlings to twenty health promoters TODAY as one of the outcomes of this project. We have several levels of intervention to respond to the massive hunger in poor communities because of the strict quarantine – occasional direct food support to families of health promoters and immigrants, support for five soup kitchens (primarily led by health promoters and some feeding 150-200 people a day), developing educational materials about food storage and preparation, sharing low-cost recipes and workshops on home and community gardens as a more long-term response to food sovereignty.

Thank you for your love and support. Blessings to all of you during this difficult time.


Karen, ELCA Global Mission Personnel in Chile

Giving Tree

Thank you to all who generously purchased items for the Share and Care gifts and gas cards for those in need. The tree, located just outside the library, still has tags for ELCA Good Gifts. Instructions are on the tree. Gifts come in many levels and help create better lives for people around the world.

Missionary Karen Anderson to preach August 18

The congregation at St. John’s supports the work of Karen Anderson, an ELCA missionary in Chile. On Sunday, August 18, she will be here preaching during worship (9:00 am) and sharing a presentation during the breakfast fellowship time (10:00 am). Come hear more about her work with EPES, an organization that annually reaches over 145,000 women and their families in poor communities with innovative strategies and tools for collective action for better health and empowerment.

2019 Haiti Mission Trip

Unfortunately, the Haiti Mission trip has been postponed. Due to the current civic unrest and crime in Haiti there is a Department of State travel advisory. The group will continue to raise funds for the projects they are supporting as discussed below.

On March 21-28, 2019, eight people from southeastern Minnesota will travel to visit our mission partners in Haiti. From St. John’s: Jen Smith, Emilie and Luckinger Hilaire, Wayne Hendrickson, and Dennis Foster. From Rochester Central Lutheran School: Missy Tjosaas. And from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pine Island: Pastor Marie Anderson and Kari Toft.

Planned projects:

  • Children’s VBS in Bouyaha and in Pignon
  • Taking student pictures in Bouyaha
  • Women’s bible study
  • Health education and wellness clinics
  • Food distribution to Families in Bouyaha
  • Basic sewing classes
  • Solar powered computer lab at the school in Bouyaha
  • Rehabbing Bouyaha homes (cement floor, roof repair)
  • Funding for a truck (partnership with two other congregations)

Before the trip, St. John’s is working to raise $15,000 for three of these projects:

  • $4,500 for a solar powered computer lab. This will include the solar power infrastructure and 11 laptop computers.
  • $4,000 will go to providing cement floors and metal roofs for homes in Bouyaha, upgrading from dirt floors and makeshift roofs.
  • $6,500 is St. John’s portion of a total $20,000 goal for a reliable pickup truck. Two congregations in Illinois will share the total cost. We’re also looking for leads on a 2004-2010 3/4 or 1 ton, 4-door, diesel, 4 WD, manual transmission pickup with reasonable mileage.

There are ways the team is asking for help meeting this goal:

  • Come to the February 20 Oasis meal. Donations will go to support these projects. A pizza supper will be served 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.
  • Join us again for a Pulled Pork Luncheon on Sunday, March 17 starting at 11:30 am.
  • Cash donations are always welcome! Cash or check to St. John’s Lutheran Church clearly marked for Haiti Mission can be placed in the weekly offering or left in the office.

All funds raised will directly toward those we serve. Each team member is paying his or her own expenses. 

Your prayers are also needed! Pray for:

  • The team as they travel
  • The team as they complete God’s work
  • The students in Bouyaha
  • Pastor Mioche and his staff

Helping feed people in Haiti

We received the following letter from Pastor Mioche in Haiti:

From: Friends of Christ Haitian Ministry (FCHM)
To: Kasson friends of Haiti

Dear friends,

We are happy to greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We want to express our gratitude to you for your great response upon the request of Pastor Marie Anderson to assist us in transporting some donated food to our location in Pignon, Haiti.

Read More…

Volunteer or donate for Doing Day

The Women of the ELCA of our congregation will host a “Doing Day” on Wednesday, March 21. You are invited to come any time after 8:00 am (usually wrapping up by about 2:00 pm) to help pack kits to help benefit people around the world and in the United States and/or help prepare quilts. We will take time out for morning coffee and devotions and a potluck lunch. Find a list of required items below, in the Snippets at the Welcome Center, or on the WELCA bulletin board. Questions? Contact Gail Jensen at (507) 633-2467 or (507) 951-3367.

  • child-size blunt tip scissors
  • 24 count crayons
  • pencil sharpeners
  • 12” rulers that include centimeter on one side and inches on the other
  • 70-sheet notebooks (wide or college rule)
  • ball point pens (black or blue)
  • 2½” erasers
  • sturdy combs
  • pick-style combs
  • jar or tubes of petroleum jelly (approx 4 oz or larger)
  • heavy duty kitchen style gloves (size medium)
  • nail clippers
  • cloth diapers
  • light weight bath towels
  • hand towels (preferably dark colors)
  • soap (ivory or unscented is preferred, individually wrapped)
  • infant-size clothing (6-18 m sizes – T-shirts, sleepers without feet and cotton knit sleep sacks)
  • new or gently used sheets double sized or larger fitted sheets, twin sized or larger flats
  • flannel pillow cases


The Giving Tree

Take an ornament on the Giving Tree to purchase a life-changing item from ELCA Good Gifts (more info in the catalogs around the building or at or for movie tickets for Food For Friends. Take a tag, purchase the movie card, and return both to the church office. Checks for ELCA Good Gifts should be made out to St. John’s OR purchase online.

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,

* From a Series of Advent Devotions available at

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.

Read More…

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

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!)