Kountze Memorial proudly provides Global Mission support to the following missionaries around the world:
- Rev. Chandran Paul Martin
- Rev. John Lunn in Tanzania
- Rev. Justin Eller in Bolivia
- Lindsay Mack in Mexico
- Our sister congregation, the American Church in Berlin.
Rev. John Lunn
Lunn serves as the International Coordinator of the Lutheran Global Health Volunteers Program in Tanzania. His mission is to match ELCA medical volunteers with situations where their skills and talents will be best used beginning with Tanzania, India, and Liberia and expanding to several other countries in the future.
Lunn is based in Arusha, Tanzania. There are about 427,000 people in Arusha. It is situated at the base of Mount Mero and has an excellent view of Mount Kilimanjaro. Arusha is known as the gateway to the northern safari circuit, so there are a lot of tourists. Arusha sits on a plateau in the Great Rift Valley and is close to the Serengeti Plains, the Ngorogoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and the Tarangire National Park. The temperatures in Arusha are low 90s during the day and high 60s to low 70s at night.
Lunn usually spends some time each year in both India and Liberia, visiting hospitals and finding their needs. It may be some time before he is allowed to return to Liberia because of the Ebola outbreak in the area. The two hospitals he helps there are Curran and Phebe Hospitals, both of which have been hit hard by Ebola. Lutheran World Relief is sending protective gear and supplies for the medical staff.
Rev. Justin Eller
The Rev. Justin Eller and his wife, Kari, serve to support the mission of the Iglesia Evangelica Lutherana Boliviana in Bolivia. After hearing many times that there was a need for Lutheran materials in the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kari Eller decided to involve her husband, Justin, and others to create inexpensive, accessible Sunday school materials that could be used by a variety of teachers. With the help of the ELCA’s Equipping God’s People Project, the Ellers’ were able to coordinate and create a Sunday school book.
“We share the book with a pay-it-forward mentality in hopes that other Spanish-speaking Lutherans around the world who create Christian education materials, whether they are for Sunday school, workshops, confirmation, etc., will want to do the same and share their resources with others as well,” Kari says.
Creating the Spanish language book was a year-long process. The finished project can be downloaded online for free, but because computers are not available everywhere in Bolivia and other Spanish-speaking countries, a print edition is also published. Five hundred copies are printed and distributed each year.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of all of the contributors and the excellent work they did to make this book a possibility,” says Kari.
The book has made it possible for a congregation with little or no funds to have teaching materials, because not only is it free, but it doesn’t require you to have anything other than the Bible and other basic items that most congregations have available. It also allows Sunday school teachers to personalize the lessons according to the group’s needs and interests.
Often, teachers, who are usually high school or college students, take turns teaching classes because they cannot commit to a full year. The hope is that even with changing teachers and activities, the students will still be able to hear the gospel of Christ, which is of critical importance to Lutheran Christians.
The Rev. Lindsay Mack is the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program coordinator in Mexico, along with Omar Turcios Mixco.
She writes, “As we begin our second year as coordinators, we continue to try to strengthen the program, which has been through a lot of changes since we began. It is a continual learning experience! Fortunately, a strong Young Adults in Global Mission Mexico network of non-profits, church connections and caring families was left to us by previous country coordinators. We’re immensely grateful for this network, which has helped us to develop six new worksites and five new home-stay families this year. All this newness in our program has kept us quite busy over the last few months. As with many things in Mexico, it has been a process of relationship building, family meals and conversation around the table, phone calls, afternoon coffees and chatting and a whole lotta faith, which has helped these new sites and homes be ready to receive a new volunteer.”
Sister Congregation: American Church in Berlin
In 2013, Kountze established a sister congregation relationship with the American Church in Berlin beginning now and ending in 2017 to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation.
Examples of the relationship include visits from each congregation to the other congregation (including adults and youth), opportunities for pastors from each congregation to preach at the other church, music exchanges and sharing of historical information from Germany’s celebration of the Luther Decade.
In 2008, members of Kountze visited the American Church in Berlin, as part of a German pilgrimage to Luther sites in Germany in celebration of Kountze’s 150th Anniversary. Another group visited in 2014. The Endowment Fund has also supported the American Church in Berlin.
To learn more about the American Church in Berlin, click HERE.