Off and Running

by Robbie Joern, Coordinator of Mission and Outreach

I can't think of a more ridiculous title to put on an article than "Off and Running" in the midst of what looks like a long winter.  Who can run in snow, wind and cold weather like we've been having?  With ice everywhere, the LAST thing anyone should be doing is running!

Yet, running is exactly what's been going on!  The Chigumukire Clinic Task Force has met three times now and each time there are more gathered around the table, and even more plan to join us in the near future.  Each one brings a particular perspective and an embracing heart to a challenging and necessary project!

We are off and running with questions.  The best way to design a campaign for building a clinic in Chigumukire, Malawi is to ask questions.  We've done an excellent job doing this and we're not finished, yet.  As anyone who's taken on any type of building or remodeling project knows, it's the questions you ask at the very beginning of the project that will ultimately determine the design and success at completion.  If we were only responsible for seeing through the fund raising aspect of this endeavor, that would be one thing, but it is that and much more.

 Here are some questions we're still hoping to answer:

  • Will we utilize our historical connections with Mayo Clinic Health System, once "Luther Hospital," that directly connect First Lutheran with that institution?
  • Will Sacred Heart Hospital and other medical entities have a role in this project, and if so, what would that be?
  • How will we connect with our brothers and sisters in Chigumukire as we "Walk Together" (or "Kuyenda Pamodzi" in Malawi)?
  • Regarding the Clinic project, how do we interact with synod colleagues and local ELCA churches that are spin-offs of this congregation and partners in ministry?

 Some of these questions have a historical bent, which is entirely appropriate, since this Task Force has been charged with the global mission piece of  First Lutheran's upcoming 150th Anniversary. But the most important question is, "How do we build long and sustaining relationships with our brothers and sisters in Chigumukire, Malawi?"

There are some answers emerging.  We will ask our questions in a variety of ways until we find the best possible answer.  The rest is a leap of faith, much like our forbears who built this congregation almost 150 years ago.

There's no better way to see any situation through in life than with constant prayer to a loving and receptive God.  We ask for yours as we move forward.  Please keep in mind that children five years old and younger are at the other end of this equation.  We know that First Lutheran is a generous church and willing to undertake ambitious projects that really matter.  This is such an endeavor!  Please shower us and Chigumukire with your financial support and constant prayers.  Then, we will all  be "off and running!"  -RJ