Nio Farr
(We Are in This Together)!

On April 7, Pastor Kristin Engstrom, the ELCA’s Coordinator of the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program in Senegal, visited Good Shepherd, Brevard. This was Pastor Kristin’s first visit with us, and we celebrated with African-inspired food and drink at coffee hour. Pastor Kristin preached during worship and presented a slide show and answered questions during our Sunday School time. She emphasized that by supporting her work, our congregation is part of something larger than ourselves.

One of Good Shepherd’s strategic plan goals is to “develop and implement ‘accompaniment’ as a model for being in community within and beyond the congregation.” It was wonderful to hear Pastor Kristin talk about how accompaniment shapes the YAGM program and what it looks like in Senegal. The people there seem to realize the value of being in community, which they demonstrate through the hospitality and genuine care they show one another.

In the divisive times in which we live, it was especially meaningful to hear Pastor Kristin talk about how important peace is to the people of Senegal. Christians and Muslims there do more than just live near each other in peace. They actively seek to accompany each other in life and on their journey toward God, and seem to recognize that everyone must work together to create and sustain a peaceful community.

Good Shepherd includes reflections from the YAGMs in Senegal and Pastor Kristin in our own weekly newsletter. In her last submission, Pastor Kristin wrote, “nio farr,” meaning “we are in this together” in Wolof, the predominant language spoken in Senegal that Pastor Kristin and the YAGMs there learn. This phrase seems a fitting way to summarize the concept of accompaniment and a good reminder that we are all members of God’s family.

Photo: (L to R) Ellen Dozier, Gloria Larson, Sue Barrett, Pastor Kristin Engstrom, Kimberly Dunbar, Jane McKeown, Barb Jackson, and Kathleen Milligan.

—Story submitted by Kimberly Dunbar, Synod Storyteller from Good Shepherd, Brevard.