Friday, October 18, 2019

Sent to West and Central Africa...

The Lord has provided good health, visas, the resources, and has called me into His service as a missionary, so...I'm heading back to West and Central Africa!

Specifically, I'll be visiting Togo, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I'll spend a little over a week in Togo working with Missionary Peter Evensen and the pastors and leaders of the Mission Evangelique Lutherienne de Confession du Togo (MELC-T). I'll arrive late on Saturday evening and then it's up bright and early on Sunday morning to preach and teach. While I'm there I'll have the opportunity to teach two different groups. I'll be teaching on-going pastoral training lessons to the pastors and then also to the students of the Mt. Horeb Lutheran Bible Institute. When not teaching I'll accompany Pastor Kossi and Missionary Evensen to the MELC land that is a few hours north of Lome'. This land was purchased with an MDF grant a few years ago. The land is currently being farmed as they raise funds to build a church and school.  

From Togo, I will fly to Lagos, Nigeria. With a population of 21 million and growing, Lagos is the largest city in all of Africa. Because of some sort of protest that was blocking traffic, the last time I was there it took me 1.5 hours to go 4 km to get from my hotel to the airport and I almost missed my flight home. I'll only be spending one night in Lagos and then I will fly to Akwa Ibom State to spend time with the pastors and leaders of the Nigeria-CLC at the headquarters and seminary in Efa. While I am there I will have meetings with the NCLC Board, the Seminary Faculty, the budget committee, the disciplinary committee, and the newly formed Children's Home committee. Because of the on-going security issues in Nigeria, I will be keeping a low profile while I'm there. I will be in Nigeria for a couple of weeks and will have the opportunity to preach in the two NCLC congregations and teach at the seminary. 

From Nigeria, I will fly from Lagos to Johannesburg, South Africa to Kigali, Rwanda, to Lubumbashi, The Democratic Republic of Congo where I will be met by Pastor Gaston Yumba Lumbala of the CCLC. This will be the first CLC visit to the CCLC since 2013. This will be my fourth visit to the DRC. Over the past 2 1/2 years, I have tried three times to visit but was denied a visa. No reason was given for the denial, but I have learned from others that they were denying all western visitors during the elections in late 2018. After twenty-one years of despotic rule, President Joseph Kabila agreed to open elections. Rumor has it that he did not want anyone from other countries to observe the election so that he could make sure the man of his choosing would replace him. Whatever the case may be, I was denied entry in 2017, 2018, and again in early 2019. With the advice of a few visa agencies, I made a trip to Washington, DC a few weeks ago and applied for a visa in person at the DRC embassy. The visa was granted in two days! So, the Lord has cleared the way for a long-awaited visit to our brothers and sisters of the CCLC.

Your prayers for safe and uneventful travel along with the blessings of the Holy Spirit on the preaching, teaching, and hearing of God's saving word are requested and very much appreciated. Please keep my wife and children in your prayers as well.

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