‘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!

Leave a Reply to Bonne Fox Cancel Reply

Isaiah 53:4-12

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16

9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

10No evil will befall you,

Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,

To guard you in all your ways.

12They will bear you up in their hands,

That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

15“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

16“With a long life I will satisfy him

And let him see My salvation.”

Hebrews 5:1-10

The Perfect High Priest

1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;2he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;3and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.4And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,



6just as He says also in another passage,



7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”37They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.40“But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.42Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.43“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.45“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight