ELCIC/ELCA Long-term Missionary in Papua New Guinea, Bonnie Weppler, to Resign in 2008

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s missionary in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Bonnie Weppler, announced she will resign after serving ten years in a variety of capacities with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in PNG (ELC-PNG). Following her departure from PNG in May 2008, Weppler will participate in a six-month re-orientation period in Canada during which she intends to return to university and begin graduate studies in international development.

In a letter to ELCIC’s Mission in the World (MW) and ELCA’s Global Mission, Weppler wrote,

“As Jesus told the disciples, when we leave our homes in order to follow God’s call, we find other homes. When we leave our families, we find other families. How true. I have felt very much ‘at home’ here in PNG. And I have been so blessed with more moms and dads and aunties and uncles and bubus and a whole slew of children – including six ‘Bonnies’ and one ‘Weppler’ named after me!!! All of these people are very dear to me and I hold them all very tightly in my heart.

But the time has come for me to return to the other ‘home’, Canada. The time has come for me to pursue further education and to renew the relationships with the other members of my family. I ask for your prayers as I head down this new path.”

Weppler first left Canada for PNG on Christmas day 1996 to start a one-year placement with the ELCIC’s Volunteers in Mission (VIM) program. That placement as an assistant trainer for home economics, hospitality, accounting and budgeting at the ELC-PNG’s Human Development Centre at Bundun was extended to eighteen months and was followed by a series of short-term missionary assignments funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) including a two-year contract as English teacher at the Lutheran Church College in Banz, PNG. Weppler’s current placement is a joint position between the ELCIC and ELCA, and for the past five years she has worked in finance and interchurch relations in the ELC-PNG national office in Lae. Her status changed to Long-term Missionary in February 2004.

Kelvin Krieger, program coordinator for MW, notes Weppler remains an ELCIC employee until the end of her re-orientation period in November 2008.

“We are encouraging sponsors to maintain their financial support for her position throughout 2008,” says Krieger. “Later this year, sponsors will receive options and suggestions from ELCIC’s Mission in the World for continuing their support by establishing a new relationship with an ELCIC missionary or partner church mission.”

Information on the ELCIC’s MW program can be obtained by visiting the ELCIC website: www.elcic.ca/mission/world or by contacting Krieger at 204.984.9164 or kkrieger@elcic.ca 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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