Who We Are

Providing Access to Quality Education

In 1995, Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry was created out of a pressing need to connect people with opportunities around the world and build relationships. God has blessed us with the vision and resources to make a difference in the lives of others as we ourselves are changed by the power of God’s Spirit.


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.


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.


Dedicated to Service

Victor Elavarasu

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

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

Bethany Krepela | Development Director | bethany@lutheranpartners.org | 612.806.0733
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 November 2020.

Elangovan Mu See

Elangovan Mu See | India Program Manager
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

Mary Peterson | Program Director | mary@lutheranpartners.org | 612.806.0732

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 August 2012.

Sheeba Ruban

Sheeba Ruban | Field Coordinator (DCA) at Concordia and Good Shepherd Boarding Homes
Faithful witness. Child advocate.

Sheeba has been part of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) since birth, and is actively involved in her church. She loves working with the children at Concordia and Good Shepherd Boarding Homes, and is a trainer in cultural activities for children. Sheeba has been on LPGM’s staff since 2002.

Dan Ruth

Dan Ruth | Executive Director | dan@lutheranpartners.org | 612.806.0730
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 August 2017.

Naomi Staruch

Naomi Staruch | Managing Director | naomi@lutheranpartners.org | 612.806.0731
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 historical documents 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. She joined the LPGM staff in September 2009.

Executive Committee

Marc Olson, Board Chair
Hazelden Foundation, Writer

Chair-Elect TBD

Debra Christensen, Secretary
Retired: Human Resources

Paul Steen, Treasurer
Self-Employed Consultant

Mark Tiede, Member at Large
ELCA Pastor Parish Ministry

Board of Directors

Mark Beenken
Augsburg University, Development

Dan Bry
Retired: Mechanical Engineer

Andy Dahlen
MegaFood, CEO

Rebekah Engstrand
Fordham University, Graduate Student

John Evans
Tractus Asia Ltd., Managing Director

Jeff Henning-Smith
University of Minnesota, Lecturer

L. DeAne Lagerquist
St. Olaf College, Religion Professor

Shamyla Lando
Duke University Health System, CTO

Julie Myles
Retired: Education

Kelly Myre
Starkey Hearing Technologies, Internat’l Controller

Jim Rohde
Retired: Family Physician

Hilary Sonstegard
Career Sabbatical/Volunteer

Joanna Suresh
SICK Inc., Marketing Manager


Financial Accountability


LPGM is proud to meet the Accountability Standards of the Charities Review Council. The Accountability Standards® create a common ground across the nonprofit sector, building a foundation of strength in our community. To read our charity review report, visit the Charities Review Council.

LPGM has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from the GuideStar Exchange, its highest level. GuideStar’s mission is to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency and encourages charitable giving. GuideStar helps users make the best possible decisions about their giving. LPGM provides information and regular updates to GuideStar as part of our profile, which you can see here: LPGM Profile on GuideStar.


A Timeline of LPGM


Tim Olson commits to one year of service for the ELCA 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.



July 10, 1995:

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


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 India’s Arcot Lutheran Church (ALC) to begin Project Education India; sponsors 217 students in ALC schools.


Bethlehem Lutheran Church provides space for an unassuming office; Gordon & Betty Olson lead a trip to Argentina on an exploration of collaboration.

Argentina 2011 02 MPLC-Cristo Salvador (28)



Group of nineteen youth and adults travels to India on LPGM’s first global mission and service trip.


Project Education India surpasses 1200 sponsored students in boarding homes throughout southern India.




LPGM launches linen sales with inventory from Lebanon Home for Destitute Women (India).


LPGM and St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church complete the Mananjary Lutheran Church building in Madagascar.




Project Education India expands to India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) boarding homes.


LPGM, together with several partners, completes the Orkesumet Clinic building project in Tanzania.



LPGM, the EEL-RCA, Global Health Ministries, MSAADA, and the ELCA envision a clinic to serve the Gallo region (C.A.R.).




LPGM celebrates its 10th Anniversary at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (Minneapolis); 10 international guests from the C.A.R., Argentina, and India attend.


In partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic (EEL-RCA), LPGM helps build a Women’s Center in Bouar, C.A.R.

CAR 2012 02 NS Women's Conference (247)



LPGM renovates a print shop in Jerusalem, in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL).

LPGM launches the “Now Is The Time” capital campaign.

The Library Program, initiated in 2007 to equip 100 ALC school libraries, continues its expansion.

Gallo - CHealth Center179


LPGM, the EEL-RCA, and other partners dedicate the Emmanuel Health Center (C.A.R.)


LPGM begins support for the Village Savings and Loan program, together with the EEL-RCA (C.A.R.), empowering over 4000 families.

Gordy's CAR pictures 155


Community College


The successful Library Program with the ALC School Project (India) transitions to wider English education program called English+.

The Evangelical Church in America (ELCA) Division of Global Mission awards LPGM a $1.2 million grant to dramatically expand the ALC Community College (India).


LPGM staff members and volunteers meet with the Church of North India about a possible partnership.

An exploratory trip to Guatemala includes LPGM staff and volunteers to assess partnership opportunities.


Guatemala 2015 06 Tricia (143)



The Arcot Lutheran Church dedicates the completed ALC Community College campus (India).

LPGM celebrates its 20th Anniversary


Betty and Gordon Olson founded LPGM in 1995 and actively led the organization through its first 20 years. Stepping away from the day-to-day operations, they both remain devoted to LPGM’s global ministry.


A new partnership begins with Mwangaza in Tanzania, providing safety for at-risk girls and young women.


New vision and mission statements are approved by the board as the organization streamlines and focuses its work.

Our Vision
LPGM envisions a world where relationships transform boundaries and where all people have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

Our Mission
LPGM 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.


LPGM responds to changing needs of partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

LPGM celebrates its 25th Anniversary and launches the book “Bearing Witness to Hope: Visions of Global Partnership


LPGM continues to listen, respond and bear witness to our global neighbors’ needs and priorities!