In May 2010, Matt Johnson journeyed to Israel and Palestine with Pastor Beth and other Bethlehem Young Adults. They learned about Palestinian Christians' struggles under decades-long military occupation - and the vision of Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.
"I see God (and especially the Holy Spirit) at work in the ministry of Dr. Raheb and the Diyar Consortium," says Matt. "They are raising up hopeful leaders who strive for peace despite incredible obstacles. It would be easy for people to be discouraged and give up hope, but instead they're working together to build each other up, without regard for religious or denominational lines. I think that kind of leadership will eventually help the Palestinian people break free of oppression."
The Diyar Consortium provides much-needed health, educational, cultural and spiritual services in the region. In the United States, Bright Stars of Bethlehem (BSB) supports the Diyar Consortium's ministries. Matt is an area representative for BSB.
"Bright Stars has adopted the phrase, 'Hope is what we do,'" says Matt. "The Diyar Consortium's focus on the arts isn't the story of a victimized or oppressed people, but rather, 'Hey, look - this is who we are.' This spring brought a Palestinian Arts Festival to town. That allowed new people to share the Palestinian experience. Working for social justice, both domestically and as it relates to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, will be part of my ministry through seminary and beyond."
We have a longstanding connection with Argentina because of the ELCA missionaries we have sponsored - currently they are Kate Lawler and David Wunsch. We have supported joint projects between three churches in southern Argentina and supported San Juan Bautiste Lutheran Church in Comodoro, Rivadavia.
In Lakota culture, time is marked by “winter.” An individual may often use the number of winters to indicate age, so I would be “34 winters” in age, indicaing my survival of 34 winters throughout my lifeime. In addiion to age, history is also marked by “winters.” When referencing any significant occurrence or event, rather than a year, it would be referred to by how many “winters” ago.
David Wunsch and Kate Lawler: ELCA missionaries serving companion Lutheran churches in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. Learn more...