Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo...FEB 2020

I'm just a few hours away from my departing flight that will take me from St. Louis to Chicago. After a long layover in Chicago, I will hop on a 16+ hour flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and then one last flight to Lubumbashi, DRC where I am scheduled to arrive around 2:00 pm on Tuesday. After a quick afternoon and night of rest I'll head north to the central part of DRC to Manono. According to Pastor Yumba this will require two days of travel in a Land Rover 4X4 because the roads we will be traveling require a four-wheel-drive vehicle. While in Manono, we'll have a pastoral training seminar for CCLC pastors, elders, and evangelists that live and work in this part of DRC. We'll also have a graduation and ordination service for seven men who have completed Theological training at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Bible Institute.

We will also conduct a Christian marriage ceremony for these men and their wives. The DRC government requires a legal/government/secular marriage but doesn't recognize a Christian/church wedding. So, for many in the DRC, a Christian wedding ceremony is not even a thought that crosses their minds. The leaders of the CCLC want to encourage those souls that are entrusted to their care to begin thinking of the importance of having the Lord included in their wedding and in their marriage. So, as a way of setting an example, the leadership of the CCLC thought it important for these men and their wives to publically make their vows before God in a Christian worship service. This promises to be a joyful and exciting day that I am honored to be a part of.

The graduation and ordination service for these men will also be an exciting and God-honoring worship service. This first class of graduates is a long time coming. Since we first began working with Pastor Yumba and the CCLC we have been encouraging and helping them to establish a formal training program to prepare pastors and teachers and evangelists to faithfully proclaim the truths of God's saving word. Due to a variety of reasons this effort was slow in getting started. Finally, Pastor Yumba decided to just get started. They had no permanent meeting place and plans to build a facility were delayed and the instability of the former government made it extremely difficult for the CLC-USA to help. With nothing but the Bible and study materials provided by CLC missionaries in hand and seven men who were willing to leave their jobs and family and homes for months at a time to study, classes began. After some time the CLC Project Kinship began to sponsor the students to allow them to continue their training. Fast-forward about five years and here we are, ready to celebrate God's grace and mercy in providing seven faithful preachers and teachers of His word for the CCLC!

Following the seminar, wedding service, graduation/ordination service and two full days of visiting congregations and pastors in their home villages, I'll begin the long trip back to Lubumbashi where we'll basically do the same thing all over again (less the wedding service) with three pastors who live and work in this area. The seminar and graduation/ordination service will be held a the new CCLC headquarters and Bible Institute in Ntondo where I visited back in October and November. It will be great to see the progress that has been made over the past few months.

The reason I am heading back to DR Congo so soon is because I was issued a six-month, multi-entry visa last fall. That visa was difficult and expensive to get because it required a trip to Washington, DC to apply and be interviewed at the DRC Embassy. I had been denied a visa the last three times I had applied. Since we're not sure that I'll be able to get another visa and considering the expense, we figured it was wise to squeeze in another visit within the six-months that my visa is valid.

If all goes well and according to plans, I will be back home for about five days in mid-March before I head to Myanmar and Nepal.

Your prayers are requested and much appreciated!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

February 2020 - CLC Mission Opportunities Prayer List...

·         D.R. Congo – On February 23rd and March 1st graduation and ordination services will be held for the men who have completed theological training through the CCLC Holy Trinity Lutheran Bible Institute. These men will serve as pastors and evangelists of the Congregation Confessionnelle Lutheranienne Du Congo (CCLC). Give thanks to the Lord for providing for the training these men have received through the support of CLC Project Kinship. Ask the Lord to continue to bless their labors that many may be led to repent of their sins and to rejoice with us in the salvation that Jesus won for all people on the cross. 

·         Nepal – The Himalayan CLC of Nepal has purchased a small piece of land in a rural area west of Kathmandu with the intention of constructing a multi-purpose building that will serve as a home, HCLCN office, Bible Institute, library, and worship facility. The CLC Board of Missions has approved funding assistance for this project through the Mission Development Fund. Pray that our Lord will bless this project so that this facility will serve His kingdom for years to come as a place where many will be trained to be faithful preachers and teachers of His saving word! Pray also that God will move the hearts of His children here in the U.S. and also in Nepal to support this project with offerings of time, talent, and treasure.

·         Bangladesh and India Visitation – Pastor David Reim and Missionary Ohlmann have both returned home safely. Following a successful visit to Bangladesh, Missionary Ohlmann had his Indian visa revoked, was denied entry, and was deported at the airport in Chennai, India. Pastor Reim, who was traveling on a temporary visa, was allowed to enter India and spent three weeks attending the Joint Asia Pastoral Conference and working with the two church bodies that we are in fellowship with.  Thank the Lord for these opportunities to proclaim the Gospel. Pray for the political situation in India that is bringing hardship and persecution to Christians. Ask the Lord to protect His children in India and to give them strength and boldness to proclaim His word in the face of persecution. Petition the Lord, according to His will, to clear the way for Missionary Ohlmann to get a new visa that will allow him to begin visiting our brothers and sisters in India again. Pray for the many, many souls in India who do not yet believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that they may hear and believe God’s saving word.

·         Tanzania – Pastor Godson Mshana was recently involved in a motorcycle accident. His leg was injured and will spend the next couple of months at his son’s house in Arusha while he goes through rehab. Pray that the Lord will grant quick and complete healing so that Pastor Mshana will be able to return to his teaching duties at the Wartburg Lutheran Seminary.

·         Tanzania – The second year of classes have begun at the Wartburg Lutheran Seminary of the CLC-Tanzania. Six students from three districts of the CLC-Tanzania are attending classes through CLC Project Kinship sponsors. Pray that the Lord will bless these men and their families with everything needed as they spend their time preparing to be faithful preachers and teachers of God’s saving word. Pray also for the teachers and staff that the Lord will continue to give them the wisdom, strength, and guidance needed for the work they have been given.

·         Missionary Travels – Missionary Ohlmann will be leaving for several weeks of travel on Sunday, February 16th. He will spend three weeks in the D.R. Congo, two weeks in Myanmar, and two weeks in Nepal. Ask the Lord to grant safe and uneventful travels, good health, wisdom, patience, and love as he attends and preaches at two seminary graduation services, two ordination services, several churches, teaches and encourages several pastors and students, and conducts pastoral training and Gospel outreach seminars.