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Story Magazine

Fall 2012

Graduate Preaching Fellowship recipient Kirsten Laderach reflects on her journey

by Kirsten Laderach, M.Div. '11

India, South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Jordan ... all thanks to the Graduate Preaching Fellowship.

Would I do it again? Absolutely!

Strands of paradox, irony, ambiguity and cacophony ran through all my travels. So much was indirect, culturally-based and even difficult to understand. There would also be times of overwhelming grace, care and friendship. I witnessed the kind of hate that terrifies and experienced the kind of hospitality that soothes, grounds and expands. I had my heart broken and stitched back together. I understood God to be present with us, through us and even in spite of us and at times I wondered where God was. This year, God let me wrestle.

I did some things you might expect--visited the Taj Mahal, watched a sunset from Table Mountain in Cape Town and walked the Palm Sunday procession into the Old City of Jerusalem. I also did much I never could have imagined. I was blessed by an elephant (honest)! I listened to one of the best sermons I have ever heard about Jesus by a Hindu Swami. I rode a donkey to the "end of the world," and on a bus from Jerusalem to Ramallah. I met a women's empowerment trainer and ended up speaking at a workshop that same afternoon.

What a year! What a blessing!

For more on Kirsten Laderach's travels and ministry, visit To learn more about Luther Seminary's Graduate Preaching Fellowship, visit

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