Meet the ELCA Missionaries whom we sponsor
The Rev. Rachel Eskesen
and Zachary Courter
Rachel and Zachary serve as coordinators for the Young Adults in Global Mission Program in Hungary and Serbia, guiding young adults as they serve, and cultivating them to be future leaders in the ELCA and the world. They are also strengthening relationships with the Lutheran Church in Hungary, diaconal ministries there, and NGOs working to dismantle Anti-Gypsism in Central Europe.
Companion Synods: Northeastern Iowa
Home-base States: California, Washington, Wisconsin
Rachel - B.A. English Literature, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA;
MA English Literature, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom;
M. Div. Theology, Pacific Lutheran Theo. Seminary, Berkeley, CA
Zachary - BS Engineering Mechanics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI;
M.Div, Pacific Lutheran Theo. Seminary Berkeley, CA
Hobbies: Cycling, running, hiking, soccer, baking, cooking, sewing, writing & reading, woodworking, listening to music, arts and crafts
Additional Information: Rachel served as a YAGM, as a children’s educational program director in Cairo, Egypt, intern pastor in Bratislava, Slovakia, and studied in Hong Kong. Zachary worked for a year in the Space Shuttle program.
Rev. Lancelot Themba and
Kewena Rebecca Mkhabela
Themba serves as the ELCA Madagascar, West and Central Africa Regional Representative. He is the resource person for theological education, evangelism and interfaith dialogue to the churches in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Ghana, as well as Madagascar and Rwanda.
Companion Synods: Sierra Pacific Synod, Rocky Mountain Synod, Minneapolis Area Synod, Northern Texas/Northern Louisiana, Central Southern Illinois Synod, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Upper Susquehanna Synod, West Virginia/Western Maryland Synod
Home-bases: Oregon, Montana, Colorado, Virgin Islands
Education: M Div Theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkley, CA;
M. Diploma Hospitality Services, Pretoria/Tbwang College, Pretoria, South Africa
Hobbies: Reading, movies, and cooking
Interesting facts: Themba was born and raised in South Africa. He studied Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu. After seminary and ordination, Themba took a call on St. Thomas in the U.S Virgin Islands, where he became very involved with the community, starting a Steel Pan Orchestra, serving on the board of The Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity, and co-founding Junior Achievement of the Virgin Islands. Themba brings a valuable dimension to the work of our companions in Madagascar, Rwanda and English-speaking West Africa.
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.