Iglesia Evangelica Luterana Unida
For many years, the ELCIC has been in a partnership with Iglesia Evangelica Luterana Unida (IELU) supporting ministry in the Patagonia region of the country. Back in the 90s, ELCIC missionaries - the Niebergalls and the Hiels, built up ministry in the Esquel community, including the building of a church and parsage.
Over time, the ministry in Esquel has changed. There is no longer a regular worshipping community and the ministry focus is on diaconal projects.
In November 2018, ELCIC and IELU began a formal discernment together of the best ways to continue our partnership. IELU believes that the future of their mission will be through their schools. IELU has approached the ELCIC to partner with them in a new way.They have an existing school - Instituto Evangelico Americano (American Evangelical Institute) - in José C. Paz, part of greater Buenos Aires, that has 1650 students from preschool through grade 12, plus a teacher training program. The school has a waiting list of 500 families. Around the corner of the school, IELU has a nursing home, Hoagr Armbruster. One of its buildings is not being used and needs renovation.
IELU believes this is an opporutnity to repurpose the nursing home building and move the preschool to a new facility. This will open up more class space for the elementary school and help address the long waiting list by being able to accept 100 new students. ELCIC has agreed to partner with IELU for the next three years to contribute funds towards the construction project.
IELU President Gustavo Gomez reminds us that the reason we do diaconal ministry is to convert ourselves to deeper disciples. We are thankful for our partnership with IELU and look forward to watching the construction project and growth of the ministry.