While it’s often easier to focus on negative attitudes and selfish behaviour we see, experience or even contribute to, I am frequently surprised by the generosity and kindness of people.

For me, these heartwarming surprises have been going on for nearly 50 years. I still remember the thoughtfulness of a motel manager who posted back the beloved Humphrey B Bear I’d left behind on a family holiday, and the elderly lady who donated the only $2 she had to spare when my friend and I doorknocked houses to raise money for refugees when we were 11 or 12.

Throughout my life I’ve seen the kindness continue. In 2019 our Lutheran family in Australia and New Zealand backed the call by our church’s aid and development agency, Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS), to raise more than $1 million to support schooling for 40,000 children in African refugee camps.

Despite this year’s Walk My Way group fundraising events for the same cause being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of people have innovated to safely participate – and to contribute to the education of thousands more kids.

The Lutheran churches in Australia have a long history with people fleeing war, persecution, or famine. Many of the first Lutherans who came to South Australia in the 1830s did so because of religious persecution in their native Prussia.

Still more Lutheran refugees and migrants came to Australia and New Zealand from Europe after World War II. Thousands of new arrivals were resettled through Bonegilla Migrant Centre near Wodonga in Victoria. A Lutheran pastor began serving at Bonegilla in 1947. That ministry was the forerunner to what today is ALWS.

Through strong partnerships with Lutheran schools, church and government bodies and people like you, ALWS today works in 11 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and last year helped 297,498 refugees and others hurt by poverty, injustice, or crisis.

Unfortunately, thanksgiving events to mark the ALWS 70th anniversary this month were cancelled due to COVID-19. However, many congregations will recognise the anniversary during worship on 18 October. And, thanks to the LLL and Lutheran Education Australia, this special edition of The Lutheran is going to all ALWS supporters and all staff of Lutheran schools and early learning centres in Australia.

Welcome to you all and especially any first-time readers. I pray that you will be blessed by what you encounter in these pages, as together we learn about ALWS history, hear from the agency’s supporters and partners, and come to see how its work shares kindness and generosity, and brings love to life for people in need.

– Lisa

PS: If you’re not already part of our subscriber family, we’d love to have you join us. You can subscribe at www.thelutheran.com.au or through the details on page 2.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login and read this article.
Not a subscriber? Click here to receive stories & upcoming issues in full