‘Seasons’ Blog: March-April 2019

butterfly_purpleA Message from Pastor Rod

I am still here as your supply pastor. I had not expected that to be the case but was asked to continue with you until the end of March until your new pastor comes on April 1. I have very much enjoyed my time with you. I love to preach and preside at worship and love being able to do those things with you. I have loved being back home in surroundings familiar to me. Thank you for having me.

You may recall that we had to take a break in January when we went to the Philippines for the wedding of our youngest son Mark and his bride Cate. She is from the Philippines and wanted to go back home for her wedding. They actually live and work in Chicago.  We experienced the wedding of all times. They do those things up big in the Philippines. It was fun to once again be in another culture and experience their way of doing things,
experiencing their food, and their way of celebrating a wedding. I am proud of my son Mark and how well he has navigated immersing himself in Philipino culture. I guess he has learned that from his parents.

You may recall that we spent four years in Papua New Guinea as missionaries of the ELCA. Global Mission is in our blood and we have a passion for it. In fact, while I was serving in Papua New Guinea, I came to realize that this was sort of the pinnacle of my ministry. It was like everything I had ever done head led us to this experience. During
this past year, we have gone on two immersion trips with the ELCA Global Mission to Malaysia, Cambodia, Tanzania, and Rwanda. While I was on these trips, I was reminded of my love of global experiences and my love for global ministry. I feel it is the core of the  gospel. How else would I have been able to experience the love of God from people who are so different from me? This is a big world we live in and living internationally taught me this. The model of ministry in the ELCA Global Mission is one of accompaniment. We go to a country to walk with and live among the people there. We don’t go to take over their ministry but to accompany them as they do their own ministry.

We did that in Papua New Guinea, and as a result our presence changed
the lives of people there and they changed us as well. God loves all the people of the world and by living in a different and strange culture, I was reminded of that and I received the gift of that love from people very different from me. What a gift that was.
I also loved being an ambassador of my own country. In Papua New Guinea, everywhere we went we were the face of the United States and the Lutheran Church in America. When we came back home, we came bringing a piece of Papua New Guinea with us to the people here. The result is that everyone’s life ends up being changed by this international experience. So even though I now live back home in Madison in the U.S.,  I have to admit that I continue to have a restless heart, always longing to get away
every now and then and get a taste of another culture. It feeds my spirit and reminds me that I am indeed part of something much bigger than myself, I am part of this world that God has made.

I would encourage you at Trinity to continue to have some connection with the global church. It can feed your soul as well and make your life all the richer. Thanks again for having me as your pastor for this transitional time and blessings to you as you begin the next chapter with your new pastor and as you enter into a time of congregational renewal.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Rod Nordby

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