Who We Are

LPGM is an independent pan-Lutheran 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since 1995, LPGM has been working - and walking - with global partners to provide resources and opportunities for people at the margins, especially women and girls.

Our Vision & Mission Our Board Leadership Our Staff Our History

Our Vision

Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry envisions a world where relationships transform boundaries and where all people have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.


What does this mean?

“God doesn't need our good works, but our neighbor does.”
—paraphrase of Martin Luther’s teaching

Our vision is how the world might look when God's ruling activity (basilea, or "kingdom") is realized. God works through relationships. When we follow Jesus' example and cross human-made boundaries to build relationships with others, we transform those boundaries, and experience God's love in new and profound ways. Building cross-boundary relationships helps us realize the abundance of resources and opportunities that all people can share.

The Impact of Education Transformational Travel

Our Mission

Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry provides access to quality education for people at the margins–especially women and girls. We work together with global partners to listen, respond and bear witness to local needs and priorities.


What does this mean?

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
—Matthew 25:35 (NRSVue)

All people are created and loved by God (Genesis 1-2). But too many have been pushed to the margins of society because of where they were born, to whom they were born, or because of who makes choices on their behalf. Education is one of the only things we can give someone that can never be taken away and, historically, women and girls been given the least access to education.

LPGM works with churches and community-based organization partners who are native to—or have a long history of living and working in—the communities we serve. These partners speak the local language(s), know the local values and customs, and work within their own systems to create lasting change.

We listen to these partners, respond to their needs, and bear witness to God's work in their lives.

What We Do Where We Work

Our Leadership
Dedicated to Service

Executive Committee

Dr. L. DeAne Lagerquist
Dr. L. DeAne Lagerquist, Board Chair
Retired, St. Olaf College, Harold Ditmanson Distinguished Professor of Religion
Kathleen Hokemeir-Seim
Kathleen Hokemeir-Seim, Chair-Elect
Retired Medtronic, Senior Employee Relations Specialist
Kelly Myre
Kelly Myre, Treasurer
Starkey Hearing Technologies, International Controller
Dr. Jeff Henning-Smith
Dr. Jeff Henning-Smith, Program Chair
University of Minnesota, Lecturer in Elementary Education and Social Studies Education
Hilary Sonstegard
Hilary Sonstegard, Secretary
Sabbatical, Financial Sector

Board of Directors

Mark Beenken
Mark Beenken
Concordia College, Advancement
Elizabeth Beenken
Elizabeth Beenken
Retired, Elementary Education
Dan Bry
Dan Bry
Retired, Associate Director of International Trade Compliance Technology
Heidi Busch
Heidi Busch
Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Director of Outreach and Global Vision
John Evans
John Evans
Tractus Asia Ltd., Managing Director
Marcie Flasch
Marcie Flasch
Retired, Thrivent Financial
Kellie Johnson
Kellie Johnson
Shipt, Privacy & Data Protection Attorney
Ashi Lema
Ashiseta Lema
Finance Manager
Kevin Olsen
Kevin Olsen
Retired, Thrivent Financial
Dr. Jim Rohde
Dr. Jim Rohde
Retired, Family Physician
Joanna Suresh
Joanna Suresh
SICK Inc., Marketing Manager
Petra Vanderford
Petra Vanderford
Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, Office Coordinator

Our Staff

Victor Elavarasu

Field Coordinator (DCA) at ALC Boarding Homes in the Kalrayan Hills

Victor Elavarasu

Child Advocate. Giving Hands. Praying Heart. Loving People and Students.
Victor serves students in his home region of India, the Kalrayan Hills. He joined LPGM in 2018. His parents encouraged him to become an engineer. Upon completing his studies he became the first engineer in his village. But then Victor’s passion to serve drew him to Social Work.  The children in the boarding homes have found a special place in his heart, especially the Alathi Angels.

Bethany Krepela

Development Director

Bethany Krepela

Connector. Storyteller. Mission-minded. Heart for the Underdog.
As the primary contact for LPGM donor interactions, Bethany brings her love for people, mission, and Jesus to the role. A Wisconsin native and Luther College graduate, she has spent 25 years working in Lutheran higher education and the nonprofit realm. She enjoys cooking and hitting the road with her husband, Jim, and two young daughters in their camper trailer. She joined LPGM in 2020.

Praveen Kumar

Field Coordinator (DCA) at Saron Boarding Home

Praveen Kumar

With a Master's in Social Work, Praveen's studies focused on research and support of indigenous tribes in the Nilgiri Hills in India. He is excited to work with the boys at Saron Boarding Home. Praveen joined the LPGM staff in 2022.

Shannon Mahedy

Communications Coordinator

Shannon Mahedy
Passionate creative. Eye for detail. Equity oriented. Cultivator of joy and bright colors. 

Shannon keeps LPGM’s supporters in the loop through social media, newsletters, reports, and blog posts. She has experience advocating for victim/survivors of gender-based violence, and through her work, she has gained proficiency in community outreach, social media management, and project coordination. Originally from New Jersey, Shannon came to Minnesota to attend Macalester College, and she fell in love with the Twin Cities. Shannon lives with her partner Sean and their two cats, Marvin and Mackerel, in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. Shannon joined LPGM in 2024.  

Keerthiga M.

Field Coordinator (DCA) at Melpattambakkam Boarding Home

Keerthiga M.
Yoga Instructor. Karate Master. Social Worker.

After teaching yoga for eight years and karate for five, Keerthiga decided to pursue her long-time dream of becoming a social worker. After earning an MSW, she joined the LPGM staff in 2022 and is working at Melpattambakkam boarding home. She loves working with children and hearing the love and care that sponsors have for these students

India Program Manager

Elangovan Mu See

Accountant. Curious Social Worker. Reader.
Elangovan has been an accounting trainer for 25 years. Managing LPGM’s programs and staff in India, Elangovan brings organizational accountability and rigor to all that we do. He joined the LPGM staff in 2006.

Mary Peterson

Program Director

Mary Peterson

Gardener. Reader. Traveler. Nurturer of Friendships, Near and Far.
Mary manages the Project Education India sponsorship program and collaborates with global partners on a variety of programs. She is passionate about making sure women have a place at the table and that their voice is heard.   She likes to quilt, take walks with her dog Mia, and volunteer in her spare time. Mary and her husband, Ralph, spend as much time as possible at their lake place with family and friends. She joined LPGM in 2012.

Dan Ruth

Executive Director

Dan Ruth

Lutheran Pastor. Bread baker. Attempting to live thoughtfully & faithfully.
Dan is passionate about helping people see where God is at work in the world. With experience in international development and nonprofit communications, Dan focuses on helping create the most meaningful outcomes or impact.  He joined LPGM in 2017.

Naomi Staruch

Managing Director

Naomi Staruch

Curious Traveler. Singer/Soloist. Photograph Enthusiast. Uniquely Organized.
Managing a range of internal organizational operations, Naomi keeps human resource records, financial systems, board communication, and the database running smoothly. She is also working to preserve the history of LPGM. Naomi and her husband, Steve, are freelance musicians, they love to host gatherings in their home, and they enjoy exploring the world together. A charter board member, she joined the LPGM staff in 2009.

Aswini Subramani

Field Coordinator (DCA) at Siloam Boarding Home

Aswini Subramani

In Aswini's childhood days, she was very interested in social work. She gets positive energy by serving people. Before coming to LPGM, Aswini worked as a counselor in a girl’s care institute, and loves working with children because "children have a great soul." She joined the LPGM staff in 2022.

Our History
A Timeline of LPGM


Tim Olson commits to one year of service for the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) as the supervisor of a church building project in Bangui, Central African Republic.

Tim was killed in an ambush in November.


The finished structure is dedicated as St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church; Gordy & Betty Olson attend.


Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry is incorporated (officially July 10) as an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Minnesota; volunteers perform all organizational work.

A Chapel at the seminary in Baboua, C.A.R. is built according to a design in Tim Olson’s journal with funds revealed through the first of many miracles.


LPGM partners with the Arcot Lutheran Church (ALC) in Tamil Nadu, India, to begin sponsoring 217 students in ALC schools.


Gordon & Betty Olson lead a trip to Argentina on a partnership exploration (1997).

A group of nineteen youth and adults travel to India on LPGM's first global trip (1999).


Project Education India surpasses 1,200 sponsored students and expands to India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) boarding homes.

LPGM launches linen sales from the Lebanon Home in India and completes the Mananjary Lutheran Church in Madagascar.


LPGM funds the building of the Orkesumet Clinic in Tanzania.

Plans begin to build a Women's Center in Bouar and a clinic to serve the Gallo region, both in the Central African Republic.


LPGM launches a library program in Arcot Lutheran Church schools in India (2007).

Travelers with LPGM renovate a print shop in Jerusalem (2008).

The Emmanuel Health Center in the Central African Republic (2010) with ELCA companion synod bishops, LPGM & Global Health Ministries representatives, and many other partners in attendance.


Village Savings & Loan program begins in the Central African Republic

In India, the English+ program begins and the ALC Community College expands with a grant from the ELCA


LPGM launches new partnerships with the Church of North India (CNI) and Community Cloud Forest Conservation in Guatemala.

Gordon & Betty Olson retire from day-to-day operations.


LPGM launches new partnerships with Mwangaza and Eripoto, both in Tanzania.

New Mission & Vision Statements are approved by the board as LPGM focuses its work and looks to the future God is opening for us.

In celebration of 25+1 years of ministry, we self-published a book: BEARING WITNESS TO HOPE, Visions of Global Partnership.