Read letters from Elisabeth Cook
Nov 2014 - Movements of Transformation
October 2014 - A Full Circle
September 2014 - Roads to and From UBL
Spring 2014 - Uncharted Waters
For older letters, contact Mission Connections
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 154
Mission co-worker in Costa Rica since 1990
Serving with the Latin American Biblical University (UBL)
Contact: Elisabeth Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eli will next be in the US in 2018. Email her to extend an invitation to your congregation or organization.
About Elisabeth Cook's ministry
The Latin American Biblical University (UBL) is an ecumenical institution that prepares students for pastoral ministry and other types of church service. Recognized as a leading center for theological education in Latin America and the Caribbean, it grants associate’s, bachelor's, and master's degrees in biblical sciences and theological sciences, plus the Instituto Biblico Pastoral (IBP) program, a non-degree course of study that offers training for lay persons throughout Latin America. UBL strives to deliver theological education to populations with limited opportunity for academic study, such as underprivileged people, women and indigenous peoples. UBL has invited Elisabeth Cook to help the school accomplish its ambitious mission by teaching biblical studies and serving as academic dean. In addition to her teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities as academic dean, she is responsible for the development of UBL’s online program, a project that seeks to make theological and biblical education accessible to more students throughout the region.
Costa Rica borders the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Nicaragua to the north, and Panama to the south. It has one of the highest life expectancies in Central America. Tourism and commerce are Costa Rica’s main industries, accounting for 68 percent of its GDP. It has a growing technology/computer chip industry, and its main agricultural products include bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef. In spite of its long commitment to social welfare and education, Costa Rica is increasingly dealing with critical issues including poverty, debates over widespread immigration from Nicaragua due to extreme poverty in that country, drug trafficking, sexual tourism, and domestic violence. Although Costa Rica has some of the most favorable economic indices in Central America, the percentage of the population living in poverty has increased significantly in recent years. About three-quarters of Costa Ricans are Roman Catholic and approximately 15 percent are Protestant.
About Elisabeth Cook
As a the daughter of missionary parents who served in Latin America, Elisabeth was quite literally at home when she began mission service in Costa Rica. From the time she was a child, she felt a desire to respond to the problems of poverty and oppression she saw around her.
“I was made aware from the time I was very young of social and economic injustice, and the vital importance of mission, sharing the good news in word and deed, both at home and around the world,” she says. “I have felt a call to be a part of the ministry of sharing God’s love in concrete ways by making my gifts and skills available to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners.”
Elisabeth values academic excellence, but she sees her role as much more than imparting knowledge to students. She seeks to help UBL to prepare leaders from partner churches to participate actively in the quest for reconciliation and justice.
“I seek to facilitate tools and methods for leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to read the Bible contextually and do theology from the perspective of their diverse contexts.”
While Elisabeth enjoys administrative duties, her first love is teaching the Bible. “When I taught my first class at UBL, after getting my MA degree, I felt I had come home to where I should be and to what God had been calling me to do.”
Elisabeth is both a careful interpreter of scripture and a vigilant observer of the social context that surrounds her. “I am continually challenged by the need to be aware of the complex reality we live in and the multiple forms that injustice and exclusion take in these contexts,” she says. “I strive to learn continually from those I work with and among, to hear the diversity of voices, and to develop abilities for critical thinking both for myself and for the students with whom I work.”
Justice and human dignity, Elisabeth says, “are deepest longings for the people of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially those who have long been socially marginalized, and excluded.” Discrimination and prejudice, she shares, are forms of violence that are often justified legally and even biblically in our communities and congregations. God’s call to fullness of life is for all.
Elisabeth graduated from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She received a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s in Old Testament studies from UBL. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Biblical Studies at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. Her dissertation focuses on issues of gender, religious piety, and exclusion in the book of Ezra.
Birthday: October 29