Meet the ELCA Missionaries whom we sponsor


The Rev. Michael G. Fonner and Leslie Weed-Fonner


Michael serves as pastor of International Lutheran Congregation, a congregation of the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Nairobi, a companion of the ELCA.  Leslie works with the Pangani Lutheran Children’s Center, a ministry for orphaned girls and girls in need.  Together, they work with the congregation’s HIV/AIDS program, nursery school, knitting and sewing schools, all programs that serve the local community.

Companion Synod: Allegheny Synod (8C)

Home-base States: Vermont, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Tennessee

B.A. Religion, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
M.Div. Pastoral Ministry, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
Th.D. Comparative Religion, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA

B.S. Dental Hygiene, Columbia University, New York, NY
M.Ed. Psycho-Educ Processes, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
MSW Clinical Social Work, Hunter College School of S. W., New York, New York

Hobbies:  Reading, sports, fly-fishing, time with family, travel, time in nature, music

Additional information:  Leslie and Michael have served as ELCA missionaries in Asia and have each lived in various countries in Asia over a period of more than 10 years.  They have 3 adult children living in Philadelphia, Kingsport TN, and Washington DC, two of whom were married in the last 2 years.


The Rev. Derek and Dawn Harman


Derek serves as pastor of Bratislava International Church, Horizon Intern Supervisor, Professor of Religion at Evangelicke Lyceum in Bratislava, and provides pastoral care and support for the ELCA Volunteer teaching staff in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. 


Companion Synods:  Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (7F), Slovak Zion Synod (7G), Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod (8G)

Home-base states:  California, Colorado, and Massachusetts

DerekB.A. Sociology, California Lutheran Univ., Thousand Oaks, CA;
M.Div., Pastoral Ministry, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley
, CA

DawnB.A. Politics, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, IA

Hobbies:  International travel, tennis, drums, hiking, walking

Additional Information:  Derek grew up in a missionary family. He interned in Germany and currently serves as US Representative on the International Kirchentag Committee. Dawn served in the Peace Corps in Jordan, studied abroad in Guatemala and accompanied Derek to Germany for his internship.


Pastor Stephen Deal and Marta Giron

San Jose, Costa Rica

Stephen serves as ELCA Global Mission regional representative in Central America working closely with the leadership of our companion churches in the region to identify ways for ELCA congregations and members to accompany the holistic missions of these Lutheran Churches among the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded. Mutual relationships of accompaniment are strengthened through the Companion Synod program, Mission trips for church groups, and other people-to-people exchanges between Lutherans in the U.S. and Central America.

Companion Synod: Sierra Pacific Synod (2A), South Dakota Synod (3C), Saint Paul Area Synod (3H), Southwestern Texas Synod (4E), Greater Milwaukee Synod (5J), Northwest Lower Michigan Synod (6B), New England Synod (7B), Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod (8G), North Carolina Synod (9B), Southeastern Synod (9D), Caribbean Synod (9F).

Home-base states:  Metropolitan Washington DC Synod

Education:  Lenoir Rhyne College, Hickory, NC;  University of Michigan, Institute for Public Policy Studies, Ann Arbor, MI                       

Notes of Interest:  Stephen began serving as an ELCA missionary in 1992 when he worked with the Iglesia Luterana Augustina de Guatemala. He was ordained as a deacon pastor by that church in 1997 while serving marginal communities on the edge of Guatemala City. He began serving as a Regional Representative in 2002.