Passing on the faith

Passing on the faith from mother to daughter took on new meaning for Kathy Bensted and her daughter Emily, when Kathy served as speaker for the Women’s Ministry Conference in Yangon, Myanmar, in October.

Women from the four Lutheran churches in Myanmar gathered to be encouraged in their faith and to learn from the life of Katherine (Katie) von Bora (Luther), wife of Martin Luther.

The LCA, through LCA International Mission, partners with churches in the Mekong region to support emerging churches in countries bordering the Mekong River. The partnership also supports the Myanmar women’s conference.

With Emily’s support, Kathy led 30 Burmese Christian women at the conference through using Luther’s Small Catechism as a means of passing on faith to family and community. The witness of Katie Luther was woven throughout. The women identified with this hard-working woman serving as mother, wife and servant of God, in difficult and changing times more than 500 years ago. Lessons were translated into Burmese and printed in the participants’ manual for each woman to read and share in their own churches.

The Women’s Ministry Conference is an inspiring opportunity for us in the LCA to join together in God’s mission. This unique partnership in the gospel is shared by women from the four Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches of Myanmar – Lutheran Bethlehem Church, Lutheran Church in Myanmar, Myanmar Lutheran Church and the Mara Evangelical Church – and supported by the Mekong Mission Forum (MMF), Rev Christa von Zychlin from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the LCA.

As Kathy taught and Anna Julian from the Lutheran Bethlehem Church translated, Emily used her artistic talents to illustrate concepts, play the ukulele, and weave a four-stranded cord to represent passing on faith in families.

Although not at the conference, women from Pasadena Lutheran Church in Adelaide’s south-east joined in through gifts they prepared for Kathy and Emily to use in teaching. An intricate patchwork banner of the Luther Rose was given to the Myanmar women to be shared among the four churches as a reminder of the faith that unites us.

As the conference came to a close, we lit candles in the darkened room and were invited by women from the Lutheran Bethlehem Church to join together to share the love of Jesus in our homes, villages, and cities, so that all people will come to know the Light of the World.

Following the conference, Kathy returned to Adelaide to complete her doctoral thesis at Australian Lutheran College and Emily to sit for her year 12 exams. Together they have shared a special partnership of passing on the faith from mother to daughter, and modelled lessons they shared with the women of Myanmar.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email For more information, go to

Read more stories about volunteering at