Monday, March 20, 2023

Sent to Tanzania...Mar 2023

Today (21 MAR 2023), I head to Tanzania for a short two-week trip. The main reason for the visit is to be there for the first couple of weeks that newly commissioned Missionary Bruce Naumann will be on site. He's certainly more than capable of getting there on his own and getting acquainted with his new surroundings, Tanzanian co-workers, and duties, but the Board of Missions and I thought it would be a good idea for me to be there to assist with the transition from me to him and to make sure everyone is on the same page moving forward. I also want to introduce him to a couple of people I have met over the years who will be helpful in some of the more practical logistics of getting settled in Arusha. There are also some really good places to eat (and a few to avoid) that I want to introduce him to!

I've been very involved with the restart of the seminary over the past six years, so it holds a special place in my heart. I am so thankful to the Lord for providing a resident missionary to Tanzania. I look forward to the Lord's blessings as Missionary Naumann assists them in taking the next steps in further developing the seminary and preparing the next generation of faithful preachers and teachers of God's saving word. Praise the Lord for providing a missionary with such tremendous gifts for this important work!

And...I'm excited to share Tanzania with my youngest daughter Lydia. When I first started this call, one of the things that Beth and I were excited about was the opportunity for our homeschooled kids to be able to travel with me. I've been at this for six years now, and unfortunately, it just hasn't worked out to this point. We had plans for Lydia to join me on a trip to Nepal a couple of years ago, but Covid had other plans. She's eager, packed, and excited, and so am I!

We'll fly from St. Louis to Denver to London to Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. We have a long layover in London, so we'll have the opportunity to get out of the airport and see a little bit of London. I used to fly through London a lot, but it's been several years since I've had a flight that routes through London. So, I am looking forward to spending a few hours showing Lydia some of my favorite sights. 

Once we arrive in Tanzania, we have a busy schedule waiting for us. We'll visit the Adonai Children's home, several independent Lutheran congregations/pastors to the West of Arusha who have expressed interest in joining the TZ-CLC, a newly formed TZ-CLC congregation in the Maasai lands near Lake Manyara, and we'll do outreach among the Hadzabe tribal peoples. We'll also have an opportunity to take in a day of sightseeing on a safari to Tarangire National Park. Pastor Jeremia's son Elisha owns a tourist/safari company and has offered to take Lydia, Missionary Naumann, and me on a one-day trip to see the big animals of Africa! It's going to be a busy couple of weeks!

Your prayers for safe and uneventful travels, wisdom and patience, and the Lord's promised blessings on the work He has sent us to do, and for Beth and family back home are requested and much appreciated as we trust in our Savior's love!

New Mission Field Video and YouTube Channel...

Over the next several months, Pastor Sam Rodebaugh and I plan to produce short introductory videos for each of the places around the world where our Savior has given us the privilege and opportunity to assist in spreading the truths of God's saving word. 

Here's the first video that features the work being done in Tanzania...

Thursday, March 16, 2023

March 2023 - CLC World Missions Prayer List

New CLC Missionary
(East Africa) – The 2008 CLC Convention passed a resolution to call a third foreign missionary to serve in East Africa when financially feasible. Fifteen years later, the Lord has provided for this need! Pastor Bruce Naumann was led to accept a divine call to serve as a resident Missionary to Tanzania. His primary responsibility will be assisting the TZ-CLC as they continue to develop the Wittenberg Lutheran Theological Seminary. He will be teaching several classes and helping to develop seminary curriculum that will be used for years to come to train faithful pastors and leaders. Missionary Naumann was commissioned on Sunday, March 12th, and will fly to Tanzania on March 25th. Once he arrives in Tanzania, he will have a few weeks to settle in before second-semester classes begin shortly after the Easter break. Following a one-month furlough in the U.S. this summer, he will be joined by his wife Paula when he returns to Tanzania in August for the beginning of the third semester. Thank the Lord for providing a faithful servant to take up this important work of training more workers for the harvest fields of East Africa and his faithful and willing wife! Ask for the Lord's blessings and wisdom as Missionary Naumann and Paula make final preparations to take up this new calling.

Myanmar (Southeast Asia) – For the past two years since the military coup d’é-tat, Myanmar has been struggling under the harsh rule of the military Junta. This has brought much pain, suffering, economic hardship, and uncertainty. Our brothers and sisters in Christ of the CLC-Myanmar (CLCM) in rural Chin State are struggling to provide for their families. Recent reports indicate that more than two million people have been displaced since the military coup in February of 2021. The CLC Board of Missions recently authorized additional Kinship humanitarian funds to assist the leaders of the CLCM in providing for basic needs to the more than 400 families suffering. 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 all their needs. Thank the Lord for moving the hearts of His children to give generously to the needs of others through their offerings to Kinship.

India (Southeast Asia)  – The Martin Lutheran Bible School (MLBS) of the BELC in India conducted a graduation service for twenty-seven pastors on March 15th. These pastors have all successfully completed two years of Biblical training covering Lutheran Doctrine, Luther's Small Catechism, Bible Interpretation, Preaching Law and Gospel, Lutheran Worship, and Evangelism. These pastors have now been assigned to BELC congregations. Their training will now transition from full-time classroom instruction to monthly pastoral training seminars as they continue to further their understanding of Scripture. Twenty-five students graduate from the MLBS every other year. Most of the MLBS students are married with children. Kinship sponsorship allows these men to continue supporting their families while at the seminary. Thank the Lord for these new pastors and ask the Lord to bless their preaching and teaching and their continuing education in God's word.

Togo (West Africa) – Pastor Kossi Blewu has been suffering from internal ulcers causing low blood pressure, weakness, and pain. He has recently been to hospital and has been told to get some much-needed rest along with medications. Pray for the Lord's blessings on the medical care Pastor Kossi is receiving, and allow him to get the necessary rest for complete healing.

Kenya (East Africa) – The CLC Bd of Missions (BoM) recently began sending the MDF Grant funds to assist with much-needed classroom repairs and construction at the Kinship-supported schools in Etago and Moi's Bridge. Construction has begun and is moving along quickly. 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. 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 (Central Africa) – The leaders of the Zambia-CLC continue the process of registering the church body. This is an important and necessary step as they continue to organize Gospel outreach in three different areas of the country in an orderly way. Having a registered church body will also allow Pastor Ibrahim, originally from Tanzania, to continue his work unimpeded. Pray for the Lord's blessing on this registration work and grant the leaders patient persistence.   

Bangladesh (Southeast Asia) – Pastor Monotosh reports that the Bangladesh Lutheran Church mission has completed the purchase of a small piece of land on the outskirts of Gopalganj. This land purchase was made possible through a CLC Mission Development Fund grant. The long-term plan is to build a multi-purpose building that will serve as a place of worship, home, and Bible school. Missionary Ohlmann is planning a visit to Bangladesh in early May. Thank the Lord for funding this land through the offerings given to the MDF. 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 as the BLCM continues to make plans to construct a building.

Tanzania (East Africa) – First-semester classes at the Wittenberg Lutheran Theological Seminary in Arusha will conclude on March 27th. Five students from Tanzania and two from the Kenya-LC are enrolled in the three-year seminary course. Three additional students have begun the one-year pre-seminary/evangelism course. The faculty and students are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Missionary Naumann. Ask for the Lord's blessings on these students and those called to teach and train them.

The Philippines (Southeast Asia) – Pastor Jordan Palangyos has completed the first introductory Online Theological Study course based on the CLC Statement of Faith and Purpose and continues regular correspondence with Missionary Ohlmann. Pastor Rob Sauers (Bd of Missions) and Missionary Ohlmann are scheduled to travel to Manilla in late April for an initial face-to-face visit with Pastor Palagyos and those he serves. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless this correspondence and lead to a God-pleasing unity of faith and teaching. Ask the Lord to provide opportunities and all that is necessary for Pastor Jordan to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Visiting Missionary Upcoming Travels – Missionary Ohlmann will travel to Tanzania, the Philippines, and Bangladesh over the next few months. He'll be back in the States for a couple of months to celebrate his youngest daughter's homeschool high-school graduation and to attend the CLC Pastoral conference before the Mission Helper Trip to Nepal at the end of June. Pray for the Lord's wisdom and blessings on the preparation for these trips and that the Lord will provide safe and uneventful travel and productive time spent in our Savior's harvest fields. Ask 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!

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.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

West Africa CLC Pastoral Conference Recap...

Tuesday February 28 - The West Africa CLC Pastoral Conference is off to a blessed start. With twenty pastors arriving safely yesterday (Monday, 2/27) afternoon and evening from Togo, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria, we started early with morning prayers, Psalms, and breakfast.

Following an opening devotion, review of the schedule, greeting, and encouragement from CLC President Wilke and Board of Missions Chairman Krafft, and the appointment of a conference chairman and secretary, we heard the first of six essays under the theme "Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness." The first essay was titled "What God Reveals About His Kingdom."
Following a lunch-break we gathered again for our second essay titled "What God Reveals About His Righteousness," delivered by Missionary Peter Evensen.

Missionary Peter Evensen 

Wednesday, March 1 - Day two of the West Africa CLC Pastoral Conference has begun as we expect another fruitful day in our Savior's word.
Pastor Sunday Akpan Udo led us in the singing of "Rock of Ages" and encouraged us with our Savior's words recorded in Matthew 18:1-4.
Today we will hear and be encouraged by God's saving Word through two essays delivered by Pastor Godwin Akpan (Seminary Dean from the Nigeria-CLC) and Pastor Kossi Blewu (MELC-Togo).
This evening we will gather for worship and the Lord's supper.

Pastor Mike Essien (Nigeria)

Pastor Joseph Kwiwalazu (Liberia)

Pastor Godwin Akpan Ukoh (Nigeria)

Pastor Sunday Akpan (Nigeria)

Pastor Kossi Blewu (Togo)

Pastor Samuel Cheneken (Liberia)

Thursday, March 2 - The third and final day of the West Africa CLC Pastoral Conference is about to begin. We're looking forward to essays delivered by Pastors Mike Essien (President of the Nigeria-CLC) and Joseph Kwiwalazu (Liberia-CLC). Pastor Samuel Cheneken (Liberia-CLC), our morning Chaplain, encouraged us in our work with the Word of God from Matthew 4:18-19 & 1 Peter 2:20-21.
Before we began today, we took a few group pictures.
Join us in thanking our Savior for the many blessings He has given to this conference and ask for His continued blessings on our travels home over the next few days.

Deborah and the ladies who took such good care of us.

Liberia Delegation

Nigeria Delegation

Togo Delegation

Group Picture of all delegates

Pastor Essien Michael (Nigeria)