"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." -- Matthew 28:19
Trinity Lutheran Church, Brainerd, has taken Jesus' "great commission" in Matthew very seriously. For more than half of its 112-year history, the Trinity congregation has sponsored a missionary in various parts of the world, to spread the good news where church members can't physically go.
It's a cause for celebration when one of those missionaries comes "home."
On Sunday, Jillian Ross will be in Brainerd for her first visit to Trinity, one of six congregations to provide funding for her ministry. Ross has served for six years at the Lutheran Center of Mexico City, an ecumenical and inter-Lutheran retreat center serving Christian groups from the United States who wish to meet Mexican people through an immersion experience.
Groups from the United States experience Mexican culture, faith, language, wealth, poverty, dreams and friendship. The Lutheran Center is also committed to responding to the needs of the Mexican people, and providing a strong Lutheran presence in the world's largest city.
Besides the challenges and pleasure of being a missionary, Ross also serves as a counselor at a nearby medication clinic, and conducts a weekly woman's support group.
Since Trinity's sponsorship of Ross began late last December, she has kept in touch with the congregation through letters and e-mail. A lively correspondence between Ross and Trinity's second-grade Sunday school students has helped the young people understand a little of what living in a different culture is like.
In answer to students' questions, Ross writes: "Do people in Mexico have animals? They do but maybe not in the same way you do ... people keep barnyard animals even in the city, and it is not unusual to be woken up early by a rooster. There is a lady I know who raises pigs right outside her bathroom window, so that when you go to take a shower at her house, you hear and smell pig."
Regarding the people of Mexico City, Ross said: "Many people are economically poor, which means they don't have much money, but they are very rich inside and they do the best that they can to make life good for their children."
Ross will meet with Trinity's Sunday school during the 9:30 a.m. education hour, and then meet with Trinity members to begin planning a mission trip to Mexico City.
Her recent letter echoes the hope of Trinity members, and indeed the hope of all Christians around the world:
"I especially love to watch the students as they become confident and grow in their faith. Please pray for all the programs and that we will all be changed by God's grace."
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