22 June 2010

Thank you St. Stephen Lutheran Church

The council of St. Stephen has approved $1500 disbursed on my behalf to the YAGM fund from established memorials of the church.  Thank you very much for helping me as I pursue my goals.

17 June 2010

July and August Newsletter Article

I posted an article in the July/August newsletter of St. Stephen Lutheran church.  The following is the content of the article as I submitted it:

Dear Friends in Christ:

I have been appointed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to serve as a volunteer in the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program. I will serve in Durban, South Africa for one year beginning in August. I will be joining 42 other young adults in the program serving in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Israel-Palestine, Slovakia, Hungary, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Each participant will serve in a church, school, or social service ministry. In some cases, including mine, our exact work assignments are not known at this time.

For the 11 of us going to South Africa, our work assignments will not be determined until a few weeks into our stay at our placement. The delay allows us to form relationships with people in the community to find the best use of our gifts. So despite the unknowns involved, I am looking forward with excitement to my upcoming year of service in South Africa. Service informs my faith in two ways. First, it is a response to God's gift of grace given to us through Jesus' death and resurrection. Second, service is an opportunity for us to help us see God's ever-present love in our lives. My year in Durban will help me live out faithful service on a daily basis.

While service will play a core role in my year abroad, this year will also serve as an opportunity for education and discernment. I am at a crossroad in my life. I have just received my bachelor's degree in mathematics from Bucknell University and I am trying to discern what is next for me. This year will provide me an opportunity to pause, reflect, and grow closer to God.

As I learn from the South African culture and journey in faith, I invite you to come along with me in spirit. I will be sending back periodic updates in the form of a newsletter. I also will be maintaining a blog of my observations while in South Africa. Additionally, Brenda Sanchez's kindergarten class and I will be pen pals throughout my year abroad. If you have any other suggestions for ways to share in this journey with me, please contact me and I will be happy to discuss them with you.

As you have supported me on my trips to Haiti, I once again ask for your support while out of the country. I especially ask for your prayers as I prepare and ultimately embark on this international journey. I give thanks to God for the support St. Stephen's has always shown me. I will be praying for your continued growth as I am abroad.

I also give thanks for the support that council has shown for my service in Durban, South Africa. Council has approved making my year of service a ministry of our congregation. This is significant because it enables contributions made by individuals towards my service to be tax deductible. Council has also given my fund-raising efforts a jump start by generously authorizing $1500 be dispersed on my behalf from endowments of the church.

If you are interested in contributing towards my year of service, please mark the appropriate amount on your offering envelope on a blank line using “YAGM fund” as the header. Alternatively you can write a check made out to St. Stephen Lutheran Church with “YAGM fund” in the memo line. I thank you in advance if you do decide to contribute.

If you would like more information about the program or how it is funded, I will be writing about it in more detail on my blog at lengelmichael.blogspot.com.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me at:
cell:(published in newsletter)

On August 18, I depart for a week-long program orientation in Chicago. I leave for South Africa on August 25th. Once in South Africa, I will have a week-long country-specific orientation before traveling to my permanent location in Durban. While in Durban, my mailing address will be

Michael Lengel
Box 304
South Africa

I look forward to journeying with you in the year ahead.

Mike Lengel