Rachel Swenson is a 2013 graduate of the ELCA’s St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. This year she is serving in Vryheid, South Africa, with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program. She recently wrote an item for the ELCA’s blog “Living Lutheran” (find it at www.elca.org/en/Living-Lutheran/Blogs/2014/02/140220b-On-accompaniment). Here is part of what she said:
For those of you who are unaware, accompaniment is the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission buzz word. While my technical job title is missionary of the ELCA, I am not a traditional missionary. The job of the 60 YAGM scattered across the globe is to accompany — to walk with the people in our new communities, to share their sorrows, their victories…
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. We are sent to live, sent to dance with grandmothers and teetering toddlers, sent to witness God in all her splendor.
For the record, Lutherans believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). At least we have believed that for 500 years, but things are changing in the ELCA.