Saturday, October 22, 2022

Sent to...Nigeria, DR Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia

It's crunch time...with, seemingly too many things to do, lists a mile long, and this always nagging feeling that I am going to forget something, I guess I'm almost ready to go. Two days from now (Monday, October 24th), I will set off on the longest trip I've taken to date. Thanks to the pandemic, I'm now trying to make up for lost time and visit as many places as I can before the end of the year. I'm heading to Africa, and if all goes as planned, I will return home just a few days before Christmas. I'll be gone for just under eight weeks!

My first stop will be Nigeria. I fly into Lagos and then hop on a flight on a regional airline to fly to Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, where I'll have the privilege of meeting and working with the leaders and pastors of the Nigeria-CLC and the faculty of the seminary.

D.R. Congo
 I'll then fly to Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. My flight itinerary will take me through Lomé, Togo, where I will meet up with Missionary Evensen, and we will then travel together to Kinshasa, where we will spend about a week with Pastor Jacques Lumiangu with whom we have been corresponding since early 2017. Pastor Lumiangu has completed several Online Theological Studies with Missionary Evensen and, recently, the colloquy exam. President Eichstadt has appointed Missionary Evensen and me to complete the final face-to-face doctrinal review and make a recommendation concerning a requested declaration of fellowship. 

I will then fly to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, where I will be working with the pastors and leaders of the TZ-CLC. We will visit several districts of the TZ-CLC in Maasai lands, hold a three-day pastoral conference, meet with the seminary students, and attend the commencement service for the one-year pre-seminary students. I am also looking forward to working with Pastor Nolting for a couple of weeks while I am in Arusha. The Bd of Missions has asked Pastor Nolting to serve as a guest lecturer for two weeks each year. This will be his first (of hopefully many) visits, so I will have the privilege of introducing him to the seminary, faculty, some of my favorite places around Arusha, and the wonderful people of the CLC-TZ. 

Zambia Flag
After three weeks in Tanzania, I will fly from Arusha to Lusaka, Zambia. I have a crazy flight itinerary to Zambia. It's only 1200 miles, but I will take four different flights. I will fly on a regional airline from Kilimanjaro to Dar Es Salam to Zanzibar to Harare to Lusaka. I will then spend one night at my favorite hostel in Lusaka. The next day Pastor Ibrahim and I will travel about 300 miles to the north by bus, where we will meet up with Pastor Yumba from the D.R. Congo. We will spend five days in Kitwe, Zambia, working with the Zambia-CLC pastors and leaders of the Copper Belt District. We'll have a two-day pastor training seminar and will spend time working on a Z-CLC constitution and church registration. 

The three of us (Pastors Yumba, Ibrahim, and me) will then travel about sixty miles to the north to cross the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo and then a couple more hours to the north to the city of Lubumbashi, where Yumba lives. This is also where the 
Congregation Confessionnelle Lutheranienne Du Congo (CCLC) has its headquarters.  I will spend a little over two weeks working with the pastors and leaders of the CCLC. Pastor Yumba speaks French and Congolese Swahili, and a little English. We communicate through a translator and with the help of Pastor Ibrahim, who speaks excellent English and Swahili. While in the D.R.C., We'll hold a four-day pastoral training seminar at the seminary in Tondo, which is located about an hour south of Lubumbashi. More than forty CCLC pastors and church leaders from the Lomami, Tanganika, and Katanga districts will join the fifteen seminary students at the seminary to attend a four-day Bible training seminar. We'll also travel several hours to the north to conduct an outreach seminar in Kolwezi. 

Pastor Ibrahim and I will then cross back over the border to Zambia, spend the night in Kitwe, and then ride the bus back to Lusaka for a two-day pastor training seminary with the pastors and leaders of the Z-CLC before I start the long trip home.

It's going to be a busy eight weeks with lots of air and bus travel along with a hectic schedule of meetings, evangelism, and pastoral training seminars. 

I'm excited to get back to see and work alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ in these places that I haven't been able to regularly visit for the past couple of years. 

Please pray for uneventful travels, safety, patience, and wisdom as I make my way through many airports, bus stands, cities, towns, and villages. Ask the Lord to provide me with the strength and stamina for the journey and the wisdom, patience, and love for the work He has prepared for me. Please also pray for my amazing wife and family while I am gone. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

October 2022 CLC World Missions Prayer List

"…pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified..." 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Liberia/Pastor John Hein - our part-time visiting missionary to Liberia, has been diagnosed with some very serious health issues. Pray that the Lord will provide complete healing through the medical treatments that he will undergo. Thank our Savior for His perfect love and the power of His Holy Word to strengthen, encourage, and comfort Pastor Hein, his wife Janelle, his children and friends, and all those he has been called to serve in the U.S. and Liberia. Ask the Lord, that during these uncertain times, He would send an extra measure of His Holy Spirit to encourage and comfort with the Good News of our Savior's cross and the empty tomb where He demonstrated His sure and certain love and plans for His children.

Kenya – The Kinship supported school in Etago recently lost a few teachers and their school headmaster, who had been serving in that capacity for twelve years. Ask the Lord to provide new and faithful teachers and leaders for the school and to grant wisdom and faithfulness to the leaders of the Kenya-CLC during these challenging times. The CLC Bd of Missions (BoM) recently approved MDF grants to do some much-needed classroom repairs and construction at both schools. Give thanks to the Lord for the privilege of assisting our brothers and sisters in Christ in training so many young souls through the two schools supported through Kinship. Pray for the Lord’s continued blessings upon the teachers, students, and staffs of St. David’s Kinship School and Emmaus Millimani School as they grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Zambia – The Zambia-CLC has recently faced some troubles with other ministries in the Livingstone area who are jealous of the ZCLC outreach efforts with the Mission Helpers this past July. False reports were filed with the government about the registration of the Z-CLC and Pastor Ibrahim’s immigration status. These issues are being worked through by Pastor Ibrahim and the leaders of the ZCLC. Pastor Ibrahim reports several new contacts and a few prospective students for the Martin Luther Bible School. Pray that the Lord would grant Pastor Ibrahim an extra measure of patience and wisdom as he continues to confront those who wish him and the ministry harm. Thank the Lord for the opportunity to be a part of these efforts to faithfully proclaim the Good News of Jesus in Zambia.

Nepal – The heavy rains have again caused damage to parts of Nepal where the Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession is at work spreading the Gospel. No church buildings were destroyed, but road damage and infrastructure have made travel and outreach efforts difficult in recent weeks. Pastor Raju reports that things are being cleaned up and repaired and expects things to be back to normal soon. Thank the Lord for His many and continued blessings on the evangelism efforts of the HCLC-Nepal and the work of training more faithful preachers and teachers of God’s saving word to take the Gospel to the unreached areas of this predominantly Hindu/Buddhist nation.

Togo/Missionary Evensen – Missionary Evensen returned to Togo in late August. He continues teaching pastoral training classes at the Bible School along with translation (French) and editing courses and lessons for the Online Theological Studies website. He recently finished the colloquy correspondence with Pastor Jacques Pondi Lumiangu in Kinshasa, DR Congo. He will meet Missionary Ohlmann in Kinshasa on November 1st to finish this long-awaited colloquy. The main congregation in Lomé is facing some challenges with their land and church building and is being forced to relocate. The CLC BoM recently approved an MDF grant to purchase a small piece of land so they can build a church. This will allow the congregation and Bible School to have a permanent location rather than face the uncertainty of leasing land. Pray for the Lord’s continued blessings on Evensen’s labors to teach God’s word as he trains more faithful preachers, teachers, and church leaders in Togo and other French-speaking countries. Thank the Lord for His provision of suitable land to build and church and Bible School to teach and preach God’s saving word!

India – Leaders of the BELC and CLCI both continue to report many opportunities to proclaim the Gospel, even amid the ongoing threats and dangers of persecution in this Hindu-dominated nation. The Board of Missions continues to consider ways to schedule a visit. Pray that the Lord will continue to grant boldness, confidence, love, and wisdom to His faithful servants as they unashamedly preach Christ crucified in this predominantly Hindu nation. Pray also for the teachers and students of CLCI seminary and the BELC Bible Institute that many more men will be equipped to preach and teach God’s saving word.

Tanzania – The Wittenberg Lutheran Theological Seminary students in Arusha are scheduled to complete their first-year pre-seminary course at the end of November. During this pre-seminary year of instruction, they have studied basic theology, Bible History, and English. The faculty will evaluate each student at the conclusion of this pre-seminary year of classes. Some students will receive an Evangelist certificate and be assigned to a congregation. Students who demonstrate the necessary gifts and commitment will move on to the three-year seminary program to prepare for ordination and a call into the pastoral ministry. In November, Pastor Paul Nolting is scheduled to spend a couple of weeks in Tanzania teaching in the seminary. Missionary Ohlmann will be spending three weeks in Tanzania in November. Ask for the Lord’s blessings on these students and those called to teach and train them. Pray that the Lord would grant safe and uneventful travel for Pastor Nolting and His blessings on the lessons he will teach.

Pakistan – Pastor Tim Daub continues to teach online video Bible lessons to a group of Christians who are eager to start a Lutheran church in Pakistan. The Board of Missions has authorized Missionary Ohlmann to accompany Pastor Daub on a visit to Pakistan when the time comes. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless the teaching and learning of His word. Thank our Savior for this opportunity and the technology to proclaim the truth of His word in such a way.

Nigeria – Classes continue with six students at Immanuel Lutheran Seminary in Efa, Nigeria. The CLC Board of Missions has recently approved and sent an MDF grant for repairs and improvements to the seminary classrooms, library, office, and dormitories. Missionary Ohlmann will be visiting Nigeria in October and bringing nearly fifty books for the seminary library to replace those damaged and destroyed by water damage due to roof damage. Ask the Lord to provide the necessary wisdom and resources for the proposed projects. Pray also for the Lord’s continued blessings on training pastors and preaching the Gospel in Nigeria.

Bangladesh –Pastor Monotosh continues to spread the Gospel in new areas of Bangladesh. He recently reported that several adults, children, and infants were baptized and received into membership of the Bangladesh Lutheran Church Mission (BLCM). The Board of Missions recently approved a grant from the Mission Development Fund to assist the BLCM in purchasing a piece of land where they would eventually construct a building that would be used for a church headquarters, worship facility, and Bible School for training pastors and church leaders. Over the past few years, they have had to move several times because of persecution. Ask the Lord to continue to bless both the preaching and hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the BLCM. Pray for the Lord’s wisdom and provision in their search and plans for a permanent building to conduct the work He has given to the BLCM.

Myanmar – Our brothers and sisters in Christ in Myanmar, especially in Chin State, continue to struggle under the harsh rule of the military Junta, which has brought much pain, suffering, economic hardship, and uncertainty. Recent reports indicate that more than two million people have been displaced since the military coup in February of 2021. Pray for justice and peace for all the people of Myanmar. Pray especially for our brothers and sisters in Christ that the Lord will grant them strength, courage, and boldness during these difficult times and that He will provide for their needs.

D.R. Congo – Due to the pandemic, it has been a couple of years since the pastors and leaders of the CCLC have gathered for their annual conference. They are planning a conference and pastoral training seminar during the three weeks when Missionary Ohlmann will visit in early December. The conference will be held at the recently built CCLC headquarters and seminary building in the southern part of the DRC. Forty pastors, evangelists, and leaders will attend this four-day conference. An MDF grant provides the finances for travel and meals for the conference. Ask for the Lord’s blessings on this conference and safe travels for all those who will travel long and difficult roads to attend.

The Philippines – Correspondence continues with an independent Lutheran pastor in the Philippines. This Pastor recently completed the first introductory Online Theological Study based on the CLC Statement of Faith and Purpose. Missionary Ohlmann and a Board of Missions member are planning an initial face-to-face visit. Pray that the Lord would continue to bless this correspondence and that it will lead to a God-pleasing unity of faith and teaching. Ask the Lord to provide all that is necessary for Pastor Jordan to continue proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Upcoming Missionary Visits – On Monday, October 24th, Missionary Ohlmann will leave for an eight-week visitation trip to Africa. He will spend time in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia. He will return a few days before Christmas. In early 2023 he is tentatively planning visits to Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and possibly Myanmar. Pray for the Lord’s blessings this last week of preparation and that the Lord will provide safe and uneventful travel. Ask for the Lord to be with, protect, and provide for Missionary Ohlmann’s family while he is away. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness in blessing the truths of His saving Word taught throughout the world!

Mexico – It has been a few years since a visit was made to our brothers and sisters in Mexico. Missionary Ohlmann is hoping to find a Spanish speaker to accompany him on a visit sometime in 2023. Ask the Lord to continue to bless Pastor Olvera’s efforts to proclaim the Gospel in Mexico and to train others to join him in this work.

Ongoing Opportunitiesplease continue to pray for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, who, by God’s grace, are dedicated to proclaiming the truths of God’s saving word for the salvation of souls as they trust the promise of our Savior that His Word will not return to Him void but will accomplish that for which He sent it.

That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Psalm 67:2