Monday, October 22, 2018 West Africa

It's time to hit the road again. I woke early this morning with plenty on my mind even though my flight to Lome, Togo doesn't leave until 7:15 this evening. The flight will take me from St. Louis to Atlanta to Paris to Togo. I'm a bit worried this morning that these trips are becoming so routine that I'm going to forget something. I used to make list after list of things to get ready and things to do before I was ready to leave. This trip feels different for some reason. I am packed and ready and to go but it doesn't really seem like I put in the usual effort to get to this point. Thankfully the Lord's faithfulness in all things will provide all the calm and confidence needed to board the plane this evening.

It seems like it's been awhile since I've made a trip. The last overseas trip was in July with the Mission Helper Trip to Tanzania. So I have been in the U.S. for almost three months. But those three months have been spent traveling and preaching and giving mission presentations and attending meetings and pastoral conference. I have had the privilege of preaching at and meeting with eight different CLC congregations. All in all I traveled over 5,600 miles here in the States.

While in West Africa I will be visiting Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria over the next five weeks. If you want a quick summary of my agenda you can read the first few paragraphs of my last blog post. I always look forward to being with my brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world. It is such encouragement to see the Lord at work in the hearts of so many as they serve Him with such selfless dedication and zeal.

Please keep Beth and my family in your prayers while I'm away. I am so thankful to the Lord for the love and support Beth has for me and this important work that the Lord has given us the privilege of being a part of.

Friday, October 19, 2018

CLC Mission Opportunities Prayer List - 18 OCT 2018

1.    West Africa Visitation – I will be leaving for West Africa on Monday, October 22nd. Please pray for safe and uneventful travels. Your prayers are also requested for Beth and my family while I'm away for the next several weeks.

2.    Togo, West Africa – While in Togo, I will be working with Pastor Kossi Blewu and the other pastors and students of the Mission Evangelique de Confession du Togo (MELC). I am scheduled to spend fourteen days teaching pastoral training seminars and visiting congregations. I will also compile reports for the Kinship committee concerning the orphans, Bible students, and the Children In Need projects.

3.    Nigeria, West Africa – Following the visit to Togo, I will travel to Nigeria to host the West Africa CLC Pastoral Conference in Badagry, Nigeria. Following the conference, I'll travel with Martin Essien and the pastors of the NCLC to the Efa area in Akwa Ibom State where the NCLC Bible Institute, Children’s Home, Headquarters, and most of the congregations are located. While in the Efa area I will conduct meetings with the various boards of the NCLC, visit congregations and pastors, and compile reports for the Kinship committee concerning the orphans and seminary students being sponsored. I am also scheduled to meet with the newly formed NCLC Children’s Home Board to consider future needs for the home and the children they care for.

4.    West Africa CLC Pastoral Conference – It has been several years since the CLC affiliated church bodies of West Africa have been able to gather for a conference. Through offerings to the CLC-Mission Development Fund (MDF) a conference is being funded for November 5-9 at Badagry, Nigeria. Forty pastors, students, and evangelists from Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana, and Liberia will encourage each other in the Word and the Gospel ministry under the theme: “The One Thing Needed.” They will consider essays and encouragement on the inerrancy of Scripture and the sufficiency of God’s word in preaching, counseling, evangelism, and church order. Essays will be delivered by Pastors Kossi Blewu (Togo), Joseph Kiwalazu (Liberia), Bassey Udofa (Nigeria), Edwin Ukoh (Nigeria), Essien Michael (Nigeria), and me (USA). Please pray for the Lord’s blessings on this conference that all of these men will grow in their understanding of God’s saving word and that they will be encouraged in the blessed privilege of proclaiming the truths of God’s saving word! Pray also for safe travels as many of these men will be traveling from far distances in less than desirable conditions.

5.    Tanzania – the CLC Board of Missions recently approved MDF grants for books and dormitory construction and repairs along with funding for transportation to allow the CLC-Tanzania to continue to make preparations for classes to begin in January at the newly established Wartburg Lutheran Seminary in Arusha, Tanzania. There are currently twelve men from four districts who are planning to study God’s word as they prepare for the ministry. I plan to visit Tanzania in January. Pray for both students and teachers that the Lord will bless this effort and that He will provide all that is necessary for this important work to go forward. 

6.    Myanmar – Pastor Kham continues to suffer from an unknown illness that is causing clumps of hair to fall out. Pray that the doctors will find a cause and a cure and that this is not a symptom of a much more serious health problem.

7.    Nepal – Pastoral training classes have recently begun with ten men in the Dang district. This district is located in a rather dangerous area west of Kathmandu. The dangers involve travel on roads that are very susceptible to landslides. Many individuals have been killed on these roads in the past few years since the earthquake. Pastor Raju and his father plan to make the 30+ hour bus ride to Dang for one week of training each month. Pray for safe travels and for the Lord’s blessings on the classes so that these men will become faithful preachers and teachers of the truths of God’s saving word.

8.    Mexico – Two men who were studying for the ministry recently died rather unexpectedly. One suffered a massive heart-attack at the age of thirty-nine. The other student was mistakenly killed by the drug cartel. The CLC Board of Missions and others in the CLC have sent monetary help for funeral costs and to assist the widow and children of one of the men. The other man was not married. Pray for their families and for those they were serving with the Gospel. Pray also for Pastor Olvera that he will not be discouraged in his work of proclaiming the Gospel and training men for the ministry.

9.    Zambia – Pastor Ibrahim has recently moved from Lusaka to Livingstone. The main pastor in the Livingstone area died rather suddenly over a year ago and the congregation is in need of more training and pastoral care. He will also be able to spend more time working to prepare men in the area to serve as faithful preachers and teachers of God’s saving Word in area preaching stations. The congregations in the Livingstone area are working together to purchase land and to build and structure that could be used for a church, Bible Institute, and apartment for Pastor Ibrahim.

10.  Missionary to India – Progress is being made on applying for a new visa for our missionary to return to India. Pray that the Lord will bless this process so that he can return to India as soon as possible to continue to the work of training and encouraging the men who are working as and training to be faithful preachers and teachers of God’s saving word.

11.  D.R. Congo – It has been more than a few years since our missionaries have been able to visit D.R. Congo. Recently, my visa application was denied. With an MDF Bible Institute building project underway and two new contacts it is important that a visit take place soon. Pray that the Lord will clear whatever obstacles are currently preventing a visit.

12.  CLC Online Theological Studies – continue to pray for the following individuals who are studying God’s word through email correspondence courses as they train to be faithful preachers and teachers of God’s saving word:
1.    Pastor Idahosa Eghosa (Senegal, Africa)
2.    Pastor Jacques Pondi Lumiangu (D.R. Congo, Africa)
3.    Pastor Evariste Kendi Ilunga (D.R. Congo, Africa)
4.    Pastor Monotosh Banjaree (Bangladesh, SE Asia)
5.    Pastor Liberty Atawa (Zimbabwe, Africa)
6.    Samuel Benson Edwards (Myanmar, Asia)
7.    Ivan Edwards (Myanmar, Asia)
8.    Evangelist Eliewaha Mshana (Tanzania, Africa)