By: Russ Kern : December 12 2015 :
What am I even doing in South Africa?
By Allison Westerhoff
You’ve maybe stumbled across my blog, or are intentionally following my journey as a missionary for the ELCA, but what is it that I really am doing in South Africa? What the heck is LUCSA? Here’s a real quick summary of what’s been going on the past 13 months! The ELCA practices a missionary model of accompaniment. This means that my purpose in South Africa is to walk alongside our partner churches, offering my gifts, gathering stories, and sharing my own story as to build a further relationship. My job is not to convert, persuade, or impose my culture or beliefs on anyone here. My purpose is to amplify the stories and cultures I encounter by sharing them with my home community, and offering my own story to break down stereotypes and misconceptions on both sides of the world. When you think of Lutheran, you probably think of Martin Luther and the Reformation. In 2017, Lutherans around the globe will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Windhoek, Namibia alongside the Lutheran World Federation’s 12th assembly.
What is the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)? The LWF is a global communion of 145 churches, over 72 million Christians, and 98 countries. The LWF seeks to offer disaster relief, theological introspection and discernment, sharing of faith, and peace and reconciliation efforts around the world. There are sub-regional expressions of the LWF around the globe, including LUCSA! To find out more about the LWF, take a look at the website: www.lutheranworld.org
What is the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA)?
LUCSA is the sub-regional expression of the LWF representing 10 southern African countries, 2 million Christians, and 14 member churches. Our work mirrors that of the LWF, with a specific support for efforts in malaria eradication, HIV & AIDS, Christian education, and diakonia. My position at LUCSA is to serve as a Communications Officer, updating the LUCSA member churches, LWF Communion, partners, and global community on our work in the region. Often, this is through updating brochures, the LUCSA website, and enhancing communication strategies. Check out our website to learn more about what we do: www.lucsa.org
How does it all connect?
I applied through the ELCA to serve as a global missionary with LUCSA, as a two year commitment. I have been living in Johannesburg, South Africa and working in the LUCSA Communion Office in communications. This has been made possible through ELCA churches sponsoring my work with direct monetary support.
So why am I in South Africa?
I am here to build relationships with the ELCA’s partners beyond monetary support, to educate my own home community on the global church and that Africa is not a country, and to offer my gifts to an organization that I am proud to work with.
I hope you continue to follow along, and I thank you for all of your support already given!