Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Monday, July 24, 2017
|Earthquake Refugee Camp in Rasuwa District|
Monday, June 5, 2017
|Church under construction|
|Pastors in training north of Port-au-Prince|
|Pastors in training south of Port-au-Prince|
|Church under construction|
|The view of Port-au-Prince from behind the church building|
|Orphans waiting to eat.|
|Back wall of the orphanage. Damaged by the earthquake seven years ago.|
|Cooking facilities for the orphanage|
|One meal a day being prepared for the orphans|
|One meal a day being prepared for the orphans|
Your prayers have been appreciated! Please ask the Lord to bless us with safe travel home.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
The Lord blessed us with a safe and uneventful trip from Atlanta to Port au Prince, Haiti. Our first day here went very well. We met with the two head pastors that we've been corresponding with for the past few years. We had some really good and frank discussions.
Tomorrow we'll meet another pastor who is affiliated with the group before we go to see the orphanage and then more meetings in the evening.
Friday morning and all day Saturday will be spent meeting with ten pastors who wish to officially organize a new Lutheran church body in Haiti. And more meeting/discussions will take place with the head pastors in the afternoon and evening on Friday.
We're looking forward to a busy and productive next few days. It is such a privilege to ne involved in this task of proclaiming God's saving word to those who seem so eager to learn and grow in their faith and understanding of God's word!
Monday, May 29, 2017
We have not yet established fellowship with this group, but they now refer to themselves as the CLC Haiti. They have adopted the CLC Statement of Faith and Purpose and would like to be officially registered with the Haitian government. At the most recent Board of Missions meetings held this past April, it was decided that a face to face visit needed to be conducted before things could progress any further with this group of pastors. It has been the policy of the Board of Missions to make every attempt to visit and verify all the information that has been exchanged via email before any recommendation for fellowship is made to the president of the CLC. While in Haiti we will discuss doctrine, see first hand the work that is being done, meet the people, and get to know the pastors. We have been asked on several occasions if we would provide on-going pastoral training, so we will also discuss how this might be possible. You might characterize this visit as "exploratory" as we seek to determine if the Lord has indeed opened another door of opportunity to assist in proclaiming His saving word.
On the way to Haiti, Joel and I will also have the opportunity to visit with Pastor Gantt and hopefully some of the members of Zion Lutheran Church (the CLC subsidized mission congregation in the Atlanta, GA area). We will both fly into Atlanta where we will be met by Pastor Gantt. We plan to spend the day discussing the work and looking at a church/parsonage property that the congregation is hoping to purchase.
Please keep us in your prayers asking the Lord to grant success to our visit as we trust His promise that His word will not return to Him void, but it will accomplish that for which He sent it.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Traveling, Packing, Moving, Preaching, Un-packing, Commuting, Organizing, and Uncooperative Computers...
I returned home from Nigeria on March 22nd and we closed on our new house the next day. I spent the next couple of days getting things ready for Bible Study and Worship Service here in St. Louis since I'm also serving as the vacancy pastor here at Faith Lutheran Church of West St. Louis County until our new pastor arrives. Then on Monday we moved to our new home in St. Charles, MO which is located about 20 minutes away from the church and parsonage in West St. Louis County where Beth and I and our family have lived for the past 19 years.
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of moving, cleaning, preaching, teaching, commuting, report writing, following up on emails from the visit to Togo and Nigeria, making plans for upcoming travels, and trying to un-pack while working out two offices with a computer that doesn't want to cooperate.
Just yesterday I returned from a visit to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. St. Paul is one of six Domestic Mission Congregations that receives subsidy from from the CLC Board of Missions budget. A few years ago the Board of Missions decided to make annual visits to the Domestic Mission Congregations a priority. This will now become one of my priorities as I make my visitation schedule each year. It was a privilege to serve as a guest preacher for Palm Sunday worship followed by a wonderful potluck dinner and an afternoon mission presentation. We wrapped up the afternoon with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges of working together to proclaim the Gospel. It was also a great opportunity to visit with and get to know Pastor David Reim and his wife Julie and all of the members of the congregation. Vernon is situated in a beautiful part of the Canada. If you are looking for a nice place to visit and great church to attend while visiting, put this on your list.
I will be home for Easter weekend and then off to the Detroit area for a visit with Mt. Zion Ev. Lutheran Church before the Board of Missions and Coordinating Council meetings that are scheduled to begin in Eau Claire, WI on the morning of Monday, April 24th.
My wife and I are planning a week of vacation in Arizona to celebrate our granddaughter's first birthday in early May. Then I'll be home for a few weeks before a visit to the CLC-Tanzania in late May and early June.
That about wraps things up until the CLC Mission Helpers and I leave for Nepal in early July.
There is a calendar on the left side of the blog that I plan to keep up to date.
Friday, March 10, 2017
I arrived Monday afternoon and was met at the Lagos airport by Mike Essien and Pastor Sunday of the local Nigeria-CLC. My flight was scheduled to arrive at 3:10 pm and with Mike's advice we had two plans in place. IF my flight arrived on time and I didn't have any trouble with immigration or customs officers upon arrival, then I should be able to be out of the airport by 4:30 or so we would head straight out of town for the 2.5 hour trip to Badagry where a seminar at the NCLC congregation was scheduled to begin at 9:00 am the next morning. If I wasn't able to get through immigration and customs quickly, then I would be out much later and I would spend the night in Lagos and we would need to head out very early in the morning to arrive at the seminar in time. By God's grace, I breezed right through the airport with no questions at all and I was out the door by 3:45 pm where Mike and Pastor Sunday were waiting. We had exchanged photos by email so we could find each other since it's been almost twenty years since the last time I saw Mike face to face the first time I visited Nigeria back in 1997 when I was still in seminary.
|Flag of Nigeria|
We had two days of evangelism seminars scheduled with Pastor Sunday from Lagos (who came with us) and the pastor of local NCLC congregation in Apa, along with some of the members of the congregation in Badagry. During the down time, I had the privilege of getting to know Mike Essien and Martin's wife Tina (who was an incredible host) as we spent hours discussing all kinds of interesting topics that included politics, local culture, family traditions, Boko Haram, church work, the history of Christianity in Nigeria, and most importantly, the history of NCLC and what challenges the current pastors and congregations face.
We made the trip back to Lagos today and I am checked into an motel near the airport with great air-conditioning and wifi. I'll get caught up on some work and email this evening, have a good meal at the motel restaraunt, do some laundry, talk to the family back home, and get a good night of sleep before a busy weekend and week to follow.
Tomorrow (Saturday 3/11) I fly from Lagos to Port Harcourt where all the pastors of the NCLC will be gathering on Sunday evening and Monday morning for their general pastoral conference that will begin on Monday and run through Thursday. I'm looking forward to meeting all the pastors and growing together in our faith and understanding of God's saving word as we also encourage one another in this blessed privilege of proclaiming the one thing needful!
If you'd like to read about the history of the joint effort of the NCLC and CLC that dates back to the early 1970's, you can find more information at: www.lutheranmissions.org/nation/nigeria/
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Mt. Horeb Lutherienne Bible Institute Graduation Service
05 MAR 2017
This certifies that ____________________has successfully completed a course of instruction in the Word of God and the Doctrines of the Church of the Lutheran Confession and has given public testimony of his agreement with these doctrines and is thus officially certified to serve as a Pastor and Evangelist.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
|From left to right...John, Charles, Pastor Kossi, Deborah, Moses, and Dominick|
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
My primary role closely reflects the priorities of our CLC foreign mission program. Namely, the training and on-going encouragement of pastors and students to be faithful preachers and teachers of God's saving word.
In Togo and Ghana, I am picking up where Missionary Matt Ude left off from the work that he picked up where Missionary David Koenig left off. We continue to water the seed that the Lord has used others to plant as we rely on His grace for the growth!
In addition to visiting and preaching at the six congregations of the "Mission Evangelique Lutherienne de Confession du Togo" or the CLC-Togo, a couple of exciting events have been scheduled to take place in Togo while I'm there.
Pastor Kossi has been working with five men since 2011 to train them to serve as pastors of the preaching stations/congregations that he has started outside of Lome. These men will complete their training and be ordained as Lutheran pastors in a special worship service while I am there. I will have the honor and privilege of preaching the sermon and presenting them with their ordination certificates while Pastor Kossi will preside over the rite of ordination. What a special time and opportunity to be on hand and participate in this big step that the Pastor Kossi and Missionary Ude have been working toward for these past several years. It has been four years since I have visited Togo and worked these men. I am eager to meet them again and begin this new phase of work. Praise the Lord for providing five more men to preach and proclaim the truth of His word in Togo.
Pastor Kossi has also been working hard to establish a full-time Bible Training School so that more men may be properly trained for the Gospel ministry. A few years back he left his full-time employment as a school master and teacher in a public elementary school to pursue this work full-time. In the past year or so he has secured everything that is necessary to register the school with the government. He is planning an official dedication service while I am there. Local and national government officials have been invited and will be on hand for the dedication of this new school. The CLC has recently provided financial assistance to register the school. Once this has been completed, Pastor Kossi will be able to continue to train future pastors without government interference or any other churches or school causing him problems. This has been a long time coming and it will be exciting to see this plan come to fruition.
For more information about our work in Togo, go to: www.lutheranmissions.org/nation/togo/