A newsletter for friends of the Global Mission Institute, Luther Seminary

Global Vision - Spring 2010

View more articles in the Spring 2010 issue.

GMI Member Profile

Perry and Lynn Hanson

by Laura Kaslow, Communication Specialist

Perry and Lynn Hanson

Growing up in Mankato, Minn., Perry Hanson,'63, had limited exposure to the global church. However, he says visiting missionaries to his home congregation "made an early impression."

"The mission stories then were primarily about planting the church," Hanson says. "I really applaud the direction our global work has taken, the accompaniment model of doing ministry alongside and at the invitation of the indigenous church."

From Mankato, Hanson ventured to St. Olaf College, where he met his wife, Lynn, a nursing student. Having grown up in a pastor's home and having several family members serving as missionaries, Lynn was also aware of the commitment of the Lutheran church to global ministry from an early age.

The two were married Labor Day weekend 1959, three days before Perry was to start at Luther Seminary and three days after Lynn had completed her nursing boards. When Perry started in the Master of Divinity program, he wasn't fully convinced that it was where he was meant to be, but due to encouragement from his childhood pastor, he "agreed to try a year."

"When I got here, I was convinced God was calling me into ministry, that became an affirmation of a call
in that direction," he says.

Hanson had a chance to study with and learn from the international students, which also left an impression.

"Getting the chance to know the international students, that really sparked a growing sense of the world, and an interest and awareness of what was happening beyond the corners of southern Minnesota," he says.

Hanson says he was also impressed by the way these students bridged cultural gaps. "I can remember them
giving chapel talks, being very comfortable with the American idiom, bowling us over," he says.

He calls the interaction he had with international students an "opportunity to personally grow in my
understanding of some of the rest of the world ... and expand my awareness and interest."

Lynn has always been interested in what's happening medically in other countries. She is a member of the Florida-Bahamas Synod global mission committee, with a specific focus on global health, and has been part of activities for the emerging Lutheran church in Haiti.

The Hansons strongly value both Luther Seminary and global mission. They have loyally given to the GMI for over a decade, and trust their gifts are making an impact on the lives of the international community.

"I'm excited about the new generation of Christian leaders being developed at Luther," Hanson says. "The
seminary has a lot to offer to international students and international students have a lot to offer to the seminary. We are the body of Christ in the world and not just in our own locale."

The Hansons have passed their love for global mission onto their three sons. Says Hanson, "all have grown up understanding the importance of world connections."

In fact, their middle son, Peter, showed such a strong interest in global mission that he studied in Tanzania during college. He then worked for three years as a youth director before attending Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. He returned to Tanzania for his seminary internship. After serving seven years as an ELCA parish pastor in Vermont, Peter, along with his wife and son, headed to Senegal, where Peter serves with the ELCA Global Mission.

"Lynn often says we taught our kids to 'pursue your dreams and the world is your home' and unfortunately, they believed us!" he jokes. "We have our kids spread out all over the world. All we have to do is be near a major airport!"