We are followers of Jesus today because the earliest followers of Jesus took his words seriously and carried the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ to the far ends of the earth. As ELCA Lutherans, we are in relationship with Christians across the globe through the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical bodies. And we are connected with some 77 million other Lutherans across the globe through the Lutheran World Federation. Two of our closest connections in the Montana Synod are our companion Synods, the Cape Orange Diocese in South Africa, and the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Perhaps you have met visitors from those churches as they have been in our synod. Or perhaps you have had an opportunity to visit their churches.
One of the structures that keeps our relationships going through changes in bishops, changes in committees, changes in congregations is the Regional Representative. Regional Representatives, like all other missionaries, are supported both by churchwide funds, and by congregations. In Latin America, our Regional Representative, Gustavo Driau, is new. And, as an Argentinian national, he does not have a home congregation in the ELCA. Since the Montana Synod is in partnership with the Bolivian Church, and, by extension, with Gustavo Driau, we have been asked to consider congregational sponsorships of Gustavo. Some of our congregations were sponsors of his predecessors, Justin and Kerry Eller. We invite you to consider sponsoring Gustavo.
Gustavo was introduced to the Lutheran Church in elementary school, and was confirmed and became an active lay leader. He served the Argentinian Church as director for diakonia and mission development, and then served the Lutheran World Federation in Latin America. You can read more about Gustavo here and here.
We know that many congregations sponsor missionaries and YAGMs with whom they have a connection. That is wonderful, and so appreciated. We are asking congregations who may not have a global mission partner to consider a covenant relationship to sponsor Gustavo Driau. You can find more about missionary sponsorship covenants here and here
There are many ways that we can support global mission: prayer, communication, visits, financial sponsorship. Please keep all our global personnel in prayer. They are working hand in hand with God’s beloved children in many countries, in many contexts, living the Gospel and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jessica Crist, Bishop