‘With an open heart’

Mission | July 19, 2017

Meredith Bruster may not know exactly what she’ll be packing in her suitcase next month, when she leaves for a year away with the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission.

It’s likely she will be living in southern Africa, where she will of course need all of the usual items one needs when far from home. But there are other things that will be going with her as well.

“I know the values, spirit, and faith I’ll be taking with me,” said Meredith, who recently completed her studies at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. “I know I want to enter the space with an open heart. I hope to be a part of the community. I want to give as the community needs me to give.”

Meredith applied to be a part of YAGM earlier this year. The journey, she said, was a fruitful one as she found that the values of YAGM – of justice, accompaniment, and walking alongside others – are very similar to her own.

It also gave her the opportunity to realize that identifying as a Lutheran Christian gives her a sense of home, after a time of questioning.

About Young Adults in Global Mission

YAGM engages young adults ages 21-29 in a year-long journey in international service. They share in the journeys of companion churches and organizations in one of nine countries around the world.

The idea is to become the hands and feet of Jesus in the world, providing critical support to ministries and projects in under-resourced communities. It also invites volunteers into a journey of self-reflection, providing space to consider their sense of identity, God’s work in the world, and their place within it all.

Young adults serve in the spirit of accompaniment, walking alongside global companions in a manner that practices mutuality, interdependence, and solidarity. Areas of service include, but are not limited to, health and development, congregational ministry, human rights, education, homelessness, addiction recovery, women’s issues and children and youth. All site placements provide opportunities for young adults to confront issues of wealth and poverty, racial privilege, economic disparity and globalization, all through the lens of faith.

Current YAGM country programs include: Argentina/UruguayCambodiaCentral Europe (Hungary)Jerusalem/West BankMadagascarMexicoRwandaSenegalSouthern Africa and United Kingdom.

About YAGM in Southern Africa

Meredith will be serving in the region of Southern Africa.

While the partner denomination is located primarily in South Africa, it also has parishes and ministries in Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Participants serve in diverse communities (both racially and socio-economically), and must have a commitment to simple living, an ability to learn basic communication skills in one of the languages of the region, and a genuine openness to change and desire for personal growth and development.

Service engagement at placement sites may include any of the following areas, either alone or in combination:

  • Children and youth ministries in congregations and/or community organizations
  • Refugee services
  • After-school programs, including tutoring, arts, music and recreation/sports
  • Advocacy, development work and training programs
  • HIV and AIDS and the response of Christian communities
  • Public health/health care
  • Agriculture
  • Creative arts, crafts and music
  • Care for those with special needs, vulnerable orphans and children
  • Assistance with administration, computers
  • Parish ministry

Drawn to Africa

This will not be the first time Meredith, 22, will spend an extended period living in Africa. She also studied in Senegal, in west Africa. She speaks French, a common language in Africa.

The St. Paul Endowment Committee recently approved $3,000 to support Meredith’s time away.

Noting this is a good time in her life for her to be a part of YAGM, she also is looking forward to how her time in southern Africa will shape her, professionally and faithfully.

“I hope to be a part of work that builds people up, that offers encouragement and support,” she said.

2 Comments on “‘With an open heart’”

  • Craig Witte

    July 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Why am I not surprised you’d be involved in something like this. Meredith, you never cease to amaze me with your strength of character and giving spirit! May God go with you on this journey of service and faith.

  • Bonne Fox

    July 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Our prayers go with you, Meredith, as you travel and serve in Southern Africa!

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”