World Mission Souvenirs

Steve Petersen (Palm Bay, Florida USA)

About the presenter

Steve Petersen is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. He served parishes in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin for twenty years, then became an administrator for the ELS home and world outreach ministries. He was privileged to serve our world-wide fellowship as President of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference for two terms.


"Souvenir" is a late 18th century word from the French for "remember." We've all brought souvenirs home from our travels - post cards, sea shells, shot glasses. Objects like these summon images of people or places to the surface of our consciousness. Some of our most treasured souvenirs are not physical objects, but only simple recollections afloat in our memory waiting to be remembered.

I traveled for 20 years to world missions on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, collecting lots of souvenirs. For example, I brought home a necklace made of camel teeth. My wife Kathy succinctly expressed the difference between her sense of fashion and mine: "What were you thinking?"

For my grandchildren, I recorded notes about some of the objects I brought home, some of the people I met, and some of the places I visited. I began sharing those observations from mission travels through Evangelical Lutheran Synod's social media on July 11, 2023, and plan to post a new one every other Tuesday through 2024.

Why bother with this sort of thing? I hope my little vignettes will reveal surprising cultural and religious observations and prompt someone to think, "I never knew about that!" And then to think, "The world is a pretty big place, isn't it?" And then, "That big world is where missionaries are sharing the Gospel."

As time goes by, these posts, plus some supplemental photos and some longer pieces will be collected at Keep your eye on that site as it develops. If you find them interesting, please share!

View the souvenirs at


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Tom Kuster (Christ in Media Institute) 2023-10-20 10:59:04pm
A new one came out just today! Connect with these. They are interesting, fun, and uplifting.