YAGM + Missionaries

The Saint Paul Area Synod has many people serving on our behalf - and on behalf of the ELCA - throughout the world. Offering themselves in service, missionaries help to shape and connect our global church and be the ELCA's hands and feet in companion churches and organizations across the world.


Shared Placement Missionaries

Through Bega Kwa Bega, the synod sponsors a long-term Program Coordinator to provide support to the work of our global companionship with the Iringa Diocese. For more information about this position, contact begakwabega@spas-elca.org.

Deacon April Trout

April works with our companions in Iringa, Tanzania to ensure year-round representation of the Saint Paul Area Synod. In her work, she provides support to the core work of our relationship in four key areas: administration, relationship building, hospitality, and project monitoring.


A graduate in Ministerial Studies from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, April comes to us from the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA with 28 years of experience in labor and delivery nursing as well as a term of service in Tanzania with the Peace Corps. In 2004 she spent 10 weeks serving as a medical missionary with their companions at Itete Lutheran Hospital in the Konde Diocese - several hours west of Iringa. Serving Bega Kwa Bega and the Saint Paul Area Synod is April's first call as a Minister of Word and Service.



Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM)

The ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program invites ELCA young adults ages 21-29 into a transformative, year-long journey in international service. These young adults serve in the spirit of accompaniment, walking alongside global companions in a manner that practices mutuality, interdependence and solidarity. Areas of service include, but are not limited to, health and development, congregational ministry, human rights, education, homelessness, addiction recovery, women’s issues and children and youth.


Candidates for YAGM apply to the program at large rather than a specific country, although they may express preferences. Applications are accepted from November through mid-February each year for service starting the following August. Currently, YAGMs serve in Argentina/Uruguay, Australia, Central Europe, Jerusalem/West Bank, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal and the United Kingdom. Learn more at www.elca.org/Our-Work/Global-Mission/Young-Adults-in-Global-Mission and/or follow @ELCAYAGM on Facebook.


The Saint Paul Area Synod is pleased to announce that seven young people from our synod are serving with YAGM in 2019-2020. Please keep these missionaries in your prayers:


Rebecca Martin

Rebecca Martin comes from St. Olaf College in Northfield. She is serving in Montevideo, Uruguay.


She is working with Congregación Nuestro Salvador and the local non-profit Juventud Para Cristo in the area of children's justice initiatives. Rebecca is a native of Denver, Colorado, and graduated from St. Olaf in May of 2019 with a degree in biology. She heard about YAGM through a friend during her time at college.


"I hope to personally grow through the relationships and connections I form through my community, and to give back to my communities both at home and abroad," she said.

Emily Ronsberg

Emily Ronsberg is from St. Mark's Lutheran Church in North St. Paul. She is serving in Matimba, Rwanda.


She will be helping with English and other programs at Kagitumba Lutheran Parish's nursery school and the Bwera congregation's primary school. She'll also serve the Matimba Lutheran Parish building relationships with pastors and communities in the surrounding region. Emily graduated in 2019 with a biology degree from  Concordia College in Moorhead and plans to pursue her MDiv at Wartburg Theological Seminary upon her return to the United States. She is a triplet and knows how to juggle!


Emily is most excited for building relationships with her host family and community, learning how to speak a new language and navigate a new culture.  She looks forward to seeing the beautiful and wonderful ways that God will move in and through the Rwandan friends and other Rwanda YAGMs that will accompany her this year. She is infinitely grateful for all the love and support from her home synod - thank you!!


"I hope to be pushed beyond my comfort zone, to see the face of God in every person I meet, and to be utterly transformed by the experiences and people I encounter," she says.  "I wish to carry this year and these stories with me for the rest of my life so that my future ministry and life may bear witness to the beauty of God's creation throughout the Earth and God's call on all of our lives to be in humble service alongside our neighbors."


You can follow Emily at https://embracingthejourneyrwanda1920.home.blog.

Nicole Schloesser-Becht

Nicole Schloesser-Becht's home congregation is Augustana Lutheran in West St. Paul. She is serving in the United Kingdom.


She is serving as an assistant at the Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust (FACT) Centre in Tollesbury, England, teaching life and team building skills through sailing, ropes courses, and other activities. Nicole says, "I've had some troubles trying to figure out exactly what I want from life, and YAGM appeared as an option at quite an opportune time." She is excited to bring back what she's learning from being abroad back home to share with her church community. She loves reading, Sudoku, and anything involving outdoor water activities (boating, kayaking, and swimming, to names few).


Nicole says, "I love the opportunity to walk alongside people of a different culture, and bring different ways of life and learning home with me....It'll be a great chance to meet people I would never have met before, and accompany (and be accompanied by) others in a new environment." She adds, "I'm so happy and grateful for this opportunity, and would never have been able to do it without the support of my home church." You can follow Nicole at timeforgodyagm.tumblr.com.


Read Nicole's September 2019 update.


Emily Shane

Emily Shane is the goddaughter of the Rev. Jules Erickson of All Saints Lutheran in Cottage Grove. She is serving in the United Kingdom.


As a children's and youth volunteer at St. Barnabas church just outside of London, Emily will help with youth ministries and after school clubs as well as sing in the choir. She was born and baptized in Iowa. When she was five years old, her family moved out to Washington State where she's been a member of Poulsbo First Lutheran Church ever since. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in May of 2019 with a computer science major and a minor in music. Emily has a passion for teaching and spending time with kids and has been a camp counselor for the past two summers. In her free time, Emily can be found curled up under a blanket with a warm beverage and a book.


She says, "Service as a faith practice has always been a big thing for me. YAGM emphasizes service with an attitude of accompaniment which means that the goal is not to convert but to spread God's love and to build community with the global body of Christ." She adds, "In this year of service I expect to work, celebrate, mourn, learn, grow, worship, walk, and just be alongside the members of my new community. I look forward to seeing the ways in which I will continue to be transformed and led by God."


Emily thanks the people of the Saint Paul Area Synod for accompanying her with your prayers! You can follow Emily at sweetpeabumblebeeblog.wordpress.com.


Additional YAGMs:

Kristian Carlson - St. Andrew's, Mahtomedi. Serving in Madagascar.

Courtney & Chris Garza - Luther Memorial, South St. Paul. Serving in Argentina/Uruguay. Read their October 2019 newsletter.  Read their September 2019 newsletter. 



Note: We originally announced that the synod had eight young people serving this year, but were later informed by the ELCA that one person chose not to proceed as a YAGM.