Accompaniment – a life of sharing

ELCA missionaries walk hand in hand with their brothers and sisters in the global church. It’s a life of sharing rather than leading. “[We] walk with the people in our new communities, to share their sorrows, their victories, their lives for the short time we cross paths,” says Rachel Swenson, who is spending a year in South Africa as part of the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program.

mission of the month“We are not sent to fix, to change, or to rectify. We are sent to live, sent to grieve with our brothers and sisters, sent to find God in seemingly hopeless situations,” she says. “We are sent to listen to those who may feel voiceless, sent to shoulder some of the weight of impossible burdens if we can and sent to be continually awed and humbled by our experiences within our new homes.”

This is radically different from entering another culture with the intent to fix the broken and right the wrongs. “As an outsider, I will never have the right answers for the pains I see in my community, in my new country. The only thing I can do is accompany,” Rachel says.  

“I’m faced with a world of possibilities, a latticework of hurts and pains and triumphs and laughter that reaches out and folds me into its tapestry. Each thread leads me to another friendship, heartbreak, or surprising plot twist, but everyone is woven together into the exquisite narrative written by the One who really does have all the right answers.”

Click the link below to share Rachel’s story with your congregation
South Africa Rachel Swenson.pdf

Mission of the Month is a pilot project designed to inspire and motivate ELCA members for our common mission in Christ. Learn more at

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