Lectionary Selection: Mark 1:4–11
Prayers for Laos:
Mighty God, who loves us unconditionally, you live and work in us and through us as we seek to live in ways of justice and peace. As we begin a new year, uphold us with the knowledge of your love for all of creation. Guide and direct us as we seek to serve you to bring the fullness of life to all people and places. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Laos:
Last year, forty social work graduates celebrated the service and work of Xuyen Dangers, Global Ministries personnel. Those present were part of the first four classes of social workers to graduate from the Social Work and Development Program at the National University of Laos, the only program of its kind in the country.
During most of her nineteen years serving Global Ministries and Church World Service in Laos, the creation of this program had been a dream. When Xuyen came to Laos, there were no professionally trained social workers. It took her ten years of work providing direct services at community centers like Buathong, Donkoi and Phonsinuan, as well as the Center of Medical Rehabilitation, before she was able to approach the National University in 2005 about the possibility of a training program. Xuyen recalls that she first introduced herself to Dr. Sayngamang, the former Vice President of the university, who then connected her with Dr. Phouth Simalavong. Xuyen remembers that after seeing the work in which she was involved, Dr. Simalavong said, “Let us make your dream come true.”
Today, less than a decade later, more than 400 students have been trained, many of them scholarship recipients through Global Ministries and Church World Service. Because of this program, these dedicated women and men are working to strengthen their communities for a better future. We celebrate with partners and the people of Laos these accomplishments and pray for the Social Work and Development Program as it continues to train those called to serve their communities as social workers.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Xuyen Dangers)
Xuyen Dangers is a social work supervisor in Laos/Vietnam who trains Social work university students as interns in Donkoi Children Development Center. She serves also serves as a Social work supervisor of 5 other centers, Social work advisor, as Faculty of Social Sciences, and the National University of Laos, for Church World Service and Witness (NCCC). Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Week of Compassion, Disciples' Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.