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Christ Lutheran Church welcomes special visitors

Fri, May 3rd, 2013
Posted in Preston Faith & Worship

Pastor Racio Maralas, Walter Bradley, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Representative, and Martha Gualtero attended the Root River Conference Women’s Spring Gathering at Chatfield Lutheran on April 13th. Pastor Racio and Martha, President of their congregation, came from Bagota, Columbia to visit Christ Lutheran Church, a sister congregation. This year Christ Lutheran Choice Dollars from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans were used to pay their air fare for this visit. Photo submitted

The congregation of Christ Lutheran Church of Preston, Minn. welcomed special visitors during the month of April 2013. Pastor Rocio Morales and Martha Gualtero from San Pedro Lutheran Church in Bogota, Colombia were visitors from April 5 - 15.

On April 7 Pastor Rocio preached at Christ Lutheran, which the congregation enjoyed very much. Following the service, a picture presentation of San Pedro was held during Christ Lutheran’s Fellowship/Education hour. Pastor Morales and Martha, who is the Congregational President of San Pedro, gave bracelets to the Sunday School children which had been made by the members of San Pedro Lutheran Church.

The next day they went to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., to visit with Sister Tierney who taught in Bogota for 31 years. Following that they went to the Synod Office at Assisi Heights and met with Bishop Usgaard and the staff of the Synod.

On April 9, there was a meeting with the Root River Conference Pastors at the Root Prairie Lutheran Church. Chair of the Synod Colombia Operations Team, Byron Meline of Zion Lutheran Church of Stewartville, Minn. spoke at this meeting about the Companion Synod/Partner Congregation program of the Synod.

Wednesday, April 10, Pastor Rocio and Martha ate an evening meal with the confirmation classes and then met with the Christ Lutheran Church Council for conversation later in the evening.

Pastor Morales and Martha met with the weekly quilters at Christ Lutheran as well as other guests on April 11. The members of the Ruth Circle were given gifts from San Pedro women for the Circles eighteen years of support to LIZWAN, scholarships, and development in Colombia. Pastor Rocio and Martha received gifts from Christ Lutheran at this meeting as well.

Saturday, April 13 brought the Root River Conference Women’s Spring Gathering at Chatfield Lutheran Church in Chatfield, Minn. Pastor Morales and Martha attended service at Christ Lutheran on Sunday, April 14 where Pastor Dave wore the stole which was made for him by the San Pedro women.

Other activities that Pastor Morales and Martha Gualtero enjoyed during their visit were shopping in Rochester, visiting Lanesboro, Minn. and the Fillmore County Courthouse and stopping at Fillmore Central Elementary School to visit Sara Niemeyer’s first grade class. The two visited Decorah, Iowa, Luther College, Vesterheim Museum, and Mabe’s Pizza as well as stopping to see a couple of people at their homes in Decorah.

Phil and Vicki Kruegel provided a meal for the two Bogota visitors. The Kruegels have a student from Bogota staying with them through the Farm Exchange Program.

During their visit Pastor Morales and Martha stayed at the home of Andy and Gail Bunge. Andy Bunge, and his Mother, Marilyn Bunge, have traveled to Colombia in the past with the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA and have been to San Pedro Lutheran Church in Bogota. Marilyn has been to San Pedro three times so far. Marilyn stated that Pastor Rocio and Martha were “wonderful, delightful” people and said “it was so nice to have them here for a visit.” She explained that it helps the congregation to “put faces with the names” and make the experience with San Pedro more personal. Marilyn alsothanked everyone who helped make their visit so special.

On Sunday, April 14 there was a Potluck meal and a Farewell send-off which was attended by approximately 30 people. Pastor Morales and Martha Gualtero left April 15 with many experiences to share with their congregation upon their return home to Colombia.

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