Meet, Judy Ganz!
From: Madison, Wisconsin
Currently based: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
BWM Position: Executive Director (#bosslady)
Personal Explanation of Position: I have the privilege of helping to guide the mission of our church and working with our global partners in the service of our Lord. Pretty fortunate.
Fun Facts About Mission Work: I have learned to sleep in almost any position on an airplane. I have learned multiple ways to take a shower and use a bathroom! Although people live in many different contexts, I see similarities wherever I go in the hospitality that they provide, in the compassion they show, and in their passion to serve our Lord—a passion that can challenge our own church at home.
Camps Involvement: Since I grew up Lutheran, I did not attend Moravian camps, although my kids attended Chetek. I have helped at Camp Hope on a couple of occasions, doing a mission piece to their program. I am totally in love with Mt. Morris and have participated in many programs that were held there. I did help with a primary camp at Camp Van Es in Alberta. Love that camp too. And Laurel Ridge is great – we held a leadership summit there for our global partners. Something about camp environments that allow you to connect more easily with our beloved Creator!
Favorite Moravian Eats: When you talk about favorite Moravian eats, I certainly love sugar cake and lovefeast buns (my recipes!). But more I think of when I visit our Moravians in Honduras or Nicaragua and the first meal I have is always refried beans, fried ripe plantain, avocado, scrambled eggs, and some fried beef. Yum!
Dogs or Cats? I love most animals, both cats and dogs, although I currently have a cat who adjusts more easily to my travel schedule. And she’s very happy when I return home.
Mission Story: I began in mission for the Moravian Church back in 1973 when my family traveled to Costa Rica to learn Spanish, and later to Nicaragua, where we served for 5 ½ years. We were fortunate to live in Bluefields, within the creole culture, in Bilwaskarma among the Miskitus, and lastly in Managua with the Spanish culture. I was able to help in many ways in the church, and since my profession at that time was nursing, I taught both at the Thaeler Memorial nursing school in Bilwaskarma and at the Universidad Politecnica in Managua. I was amazed to be using my first nursing textbook, Fundamentals of Nursing, in the classes in Managua.
Two of our three children were born in Nicaragua. I learned to bake bread, soak vegetables in iodine, clean clothes on a washboard (before we got our ringer washer), and cook on a kerosene stove when we ran out of gas in Bilwaskarma (It had to be delivered from Puerto Cabezas). Chocolate chip cookies do not work well on a kerosene stove!
We learned to love the people of Nicaragua and enjoyed living among them. However in 1979, 3 weeks after the birth of our daughter, we were evacuated from Managua as the Sandinista revolution had begun. It was later determined that the Nicaraguan Church could continue without foreign missionaries, so we did not return, much to my disappointment. I always have said that part of my heart was left in Nicaragua.
Fortunately in 1994, I was elected to represent the Western District on the Board of World Mission. Subsequently I served as their first HIV AIDS coordinator, and more recently it has been a privilege to serve as their Executive Director. Much has changed in how we do mission since I first went to Nicaragua. But the basic premise of witnessing to and sharing God’s love continues to draw us beyond our doors, even to places very different from our own, in order to build relationships and be “Christ” to the other.