Staff

Staff Introductions-

Robert J. Scudieri: President and Publisher

After graduating from Concordia Seminary, Robert Scudieri served as a Lutheran parish pastor for thirty eight years. For nearly two decades, he worked to advance the role of missions in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as the head of missions in North America. His life’s work founded many Korean, Indian, Chinese, Hispanic, African, Japanese, blind, deaf, Jewish, Pakistani and Hmong churches and joined them in the Synod.

Dr. Scudieri instituted selection, preparation and support procedures for church planters, beginning more than one thousand new churches. He was also blessed to play a role in the beginning of the Center for US Missions, the Transforming Churches Revitalization Ministry, Open Arms Daycare Centers, the Lutheran Society for Missiology, the Spirit of Naples Film Production Studios and Mission Nation Publishing Co.

In 1991, after a sabbatical as a Research Fellow at Yale Divinity School, he wrote the book, Apostolic Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Missionary–a book on missions used by various seminaries. His first novel, an autobiographical novel based on the life of the business and political leader LK Wood was published in January 2016. Dr. Scudieri founded Mission Nation Publishing Co to share books about missionaries to America. 

Bob was born and attended public school in Queens, New York. Today he lives in Florida with his wife and college sweetheart, Lynn. Together, they love spending their time with their two adult children and five beautiful grandchildren. 

Paul Bruns: Writer

Dr. Paul Bruns, and his wife Ruby, served as overseas missionaries for decades. Together, they shared the good news of God’s love and provided resources for local leaders. In retirement, Paul is pursuing a dream to produce the “Mission Bible Commentary.” A first of its kind, the commentary extracts mission meaning from God’s word. Paul hopes that leaders who speak English as a second language will use this resource to be better equipped with a deeper understanding of our Savior’s great commission.

Christine Schulden: Writer

Christine Schulden communicates from the heart. Her early love of media drew her into radio as a producer for Philadelphia’s sports talk station, later she became their traffic manager. With an appreciation for all things television related, Chris became a media buyer for a Philadelphia based agency where she honed her marketing skills and bought television and radio ad-space for many clients nationally. Chris has always been a novelist at heart, earning admission to the Institute For Children’s Literature at age 12. She’s been developing plots and creating characters ever since. She lives in New Jersey with her wonderful husband, their three amazing little ladies, two cats and several fish. Chris graduated from LaSalle University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, concentrating in journalism and public relations with a dual minor in art history and english literature.

Marilyn Feldhaus: Writer

Throughout Marilyn Feldhaus’ varied career, sharing God’s love has always been at the heart of her pursuits. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a BA in chemistry and then taught biology, math and science at an evangelical church-sponsored girls’ school in Swaziland, Africa. After returning to the United States in 1980, Marilyn became a Lutheran Deaconess and  worked for the Lutheran Mission Association in St. Louis, Missouri.  Her primary focus was on aging ministry to poor indigent residents of St. Louis.  

Following her marriage to David in 1985, Marilyn went back to school and became a special educator. Now retired from teaching, Marilyn’s current avocations include volunteering at a local food bank and the library. Returning to her deaconess roots, Marilyn also volunteers for hospice care. As a writer for Mission Nation Publishing, she works to share the stories of refugees and immigrant missionaries with Americans, and all who can learn from their faith and perseverance.

Hank and Mary Simon: Title

After 46 years of pastoral ministry, Rev. Hank Simon retired. He and his wife, Mary, who served faithfully by his side, moved to Fort Myers, Florida. The son of a pastor, Hank served on a college campus, assisted in an inner-city congregation, pastored a suburban congregation and led three international mission trips. He authored the biography of Gagan Garung, a missionary to America from Nepal.  

Mary is a successful writer of children’s books, bible stories and devotionals. Together, they enjoy music, reading and taking walks while admiring the beauty of nature. They love spending time with their children and grandsons.

John Gifford: Financial Records

John Gifford’s accounting expertise serves Mission Nation Publishing in his oversight role of the organization’s finances. John graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in engineering. After three years in the Army, he worked in the accounting departments of several large corporations. A member of partner church Peace Lutheran in Naples, John donates his time to manage Mission Nation Publishing’s financial records.

Beatrice Hoppe: Translator

A native of Uruguay, Beatriz Hoppe has been developing and implementing programs for Spanish-speaking people in the United States through Lutheran Hour Ministries for the last fifteen years. Before joining LHM, Beatriz was a Manager of Pilot Scheduling for TWA. Prior to that, she held several administrative positions in the Lutheran Church, both in the States and in Argentina. Also in Argentina, she met her husband, Héctor, who served as parish pastor and as professor at Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires. Beatriz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Professional Lay Worker degree from Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires. They have three adult children who, so far, have blessed them with seven grandchildren.

 

Sandy Gollenberg:

Marketing Director

Sandy Gollenberg has a degree in marketing from Boston College and a masters in business from the University of Connecticut. She has worked in several marketing jobs and brings a wealth of creativity, charm and charisma to Mission Nation Publishing.

 

Rev. Cliff Bira:

Project Director, Churches

Announcing the Mission Nation Project Director for Churches Rev. Cliff Bira

Mission Nation is excited to announce that Rev. Cliff Bira will serve as the Mission Nation Project Director for Churches. His role is to communicate the purpose of Mission Nation and introduce the Mission Nation Biography series to churches. Rev. Bira will identify churches interested in hosting a Mission Nation Book display or purchasing books in bulk at a discount for Confirmation classes, book group discussions or for the individual reading pleasure of parishioners. Rev. Bira will also be happy to discuss how your congregation can use a Thrivent grant to purchase books. If you are interested, please reach out to Rev. Bira at onthejourney.316@comcast.net
Rev. Bira’s background: Rev. Cliff Bira is married to his wife, Carolyn, a Director of Christian Education for 30 years. They have two grown and married daughters, Hannah & Bethany, and five grandchildren. Rev. Cliff Bira served as the Senior Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church from 1984-2021 and as Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Osceola, Iowa (1981-1984). Prior to retirement from parish ministry, he served four terms in the office of Circuit Visitor in the Michigan District. He also served his community through the Flushing Community Outreach Center, Bread for Life ministry to chronically hungry children, as the chairman of the City of Flushing Neighborhood Improvement Authority, as well as various joint Christian community outreach efforts as a pastoral leader among churches in the Flushing Community. He has also served as past president and a founding member of the Rotary Club of Flushing.
Rev. Bira attended the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (1972-1976) from which he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics. He received his Masters of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana (1978-1981).
 Rev. Bira has received additional training through the completion of both the Beeson Institute for Advanced Church Leadership and the Pastoral Leadership Institute. He has served as lead intercessor, mission coach, church planter assessor, coach mentor, and administrative cabinet member for the Center for U.S. Missions. His personal greatest passion is helping people to discover, develop, and live out their God-given Life Mission.

 

Natalie Valle:

Project Director, Schools

Natalie Valle lives in Marshall, Michigan, with her husband José, who is an internal medicine physician and former refugee from Castro’s Cuba. She is the daughter of the late Rev. Gilbert C. Meilaender, a fifty-one-year veteran of the Holy Ministry in the LCMS. She attended her church’s Lutheran grade school in Hobart, Indiana, and after attending Albion College in Albion, Michigan, she earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She worked in public health education until the birth of her first child, and for the next three decades, Natalie homeschooled her four children through high school. In 1993, she founded a homeschooling support group, Families Learning and Schooling at Home, and led the group until her youngest child’s graduation in 2018. Natalie and her family have been members of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Marshall since 1987.  She has served on the church’s Boards of Education and Outreach, as well as in Lutherans for Life, and over the past few years has worked to raise awareness of global Christian persecution in her congregation. Natalie and José have been married for forty-two years and have been blessed with four children and nine grandchildren.