Thirteen people completed mission orientation last month in preparation for new international mission assignments with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Mission co-workers completing orientation included:

Luta and Rev. Jeremy Garbat-Welch, who will serve partners in five African countries.  As Africa community health facilitator, Luta will work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, South Sudan, and Zambia. She will make periodic visits to each country from her home base in Malawi. Jeremy is a trained chaplain and will explore opportunities to use his skills with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, which has expressed great interest in chaplaincy training. Prior to entering mission service Luta was Catholic Charities of Louisville’s statewide refugee health coordinator, and Jeremy was a chaplain at the University of Kentucky’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital. An ordained Disciples of Christ minister, Jeremy is a member of Hurstbourne Christian Church in Louisville. Luta has been active in two Louisville congregations, Hurstbourne Christian and Beechmont Presbyterian.

Rev. Michael and Rachel Ludwig, who will serve as literacy and evangelism trainers in Niger.  They will work alongside the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Niger. Michael comes to this position from Overbrook Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio, and Rachel enters mission service after a career as a middle school math and science teacher. Michael is a member of Scioto Valley Presbytery, and Rachel is a member of Overbrook Presbyterian.

Rev. Renée and Justin Sundberg, who will be partner/delegation coordinators in Nicaragua. They will work with the Council of Evangelical Churches in Nicaragua (CEPAD), an organization that receives many groups from the United States who come to Nicaragua. These groups seek to help CEPAD in its ministry to improve the lives of economically impoverished communities. Prior to her appointment to Nicaragua, Renée was associate pastor of community life at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. Justin worked for Agros International, an international development organization based in Seattle.  Renée is a member of Seattle Presbytery, and Justin is a member of University Presbyterian.

Rev. Kate Taber, who will work in Israel-Palestine as a facilitator for mission partnerships. She will be seconded to Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.  Kate will help US Presbyterians plan trips to the region and introduce them to volunteer opportunities. Previously she was a resident pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, working in a Lilly Foundation–funded three-year residency program for new ministers.  Prior to her time in Atlanta she spent eight months in Jerusalem and Bethlehem on a Parish Pulpit Fellowship, an award she received from her alma mater, Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a member of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery.

Sandi and Brian Thompson-Royer, who will serve in Guatemala. Sandi will be a facilitator for women’s leadership development, working in partnership with the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala. Brian will assist her in this ministry. Sandi begins mission service after a long career working in nonprofit agencies with women who have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault. She also managed Jubilee Global Gifts, a fair trade store in Leavenworth, Washington. Brian was executive director of Upper Valley MEND, a faith-based nonprofit in Leavenworth that provides affordable housing, food bank, and social services.  They are members of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Leavenworth.

Ingrid Reneau Walls, who has moved from South Sudan to Ghana, where she will teach and do research at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture. Appointed to mission service in 2007, Ingrid has worked with South Sudanese partners to strengthen church-sponsored school systems. She is a member of Shiloh Christian Fellowship in Oakland, California.

Claire Zuhosky, who will be a development specialist at a youth center in Niger. She will serve in partnership with the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Niger. Claire’s ministry experience includes working as a youth director/ministry assistant at her home church, Bethany Presbyterian Church in Mercer, Pennsylvania. She now attends Grace Chapel Community Church in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.

Another mission couple attended orientation, but their names are being withheld because they are serving in a sensitive location.