Thursday, May 25, 2023

May 2023 - CLC World Missions Prayer List

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

The Philippines (Southeast Asia) – Pastor Rob Sauers (CLC Bd of Missions) and Missionary Ohlmann recently spent a week in the Philippines to visit Pastor Jordan Palangyos and those he serves. During the visit, they got to know Pastor Palangyos and discussed the ministry of the Lutheran Autonomous Mission of the Philippines (LAMP). They also led informational meetings with several LAMP church leaders and evangelists in two different locations. Pastor Palangyos is an independent Lutheran pastor who serves two congregations and a few preaching stations in the mountains north of Manila. He has been working independently since 2008 when he followed God's Word and his conscience and withdrew from the Lutheran Church of the Philippines. Over the past couple of years, he 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. They will now begin the official colloquy process after President Wilke appoints a CLC representative to work with Missionary Ohlmann. Pray that the Lord will bless the colloquy and that this will 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!


Tanzania and Missionary Naumann (East Africa) – Missionary Naumann recently reported that the first four weeks of classes at the Wittenberg Lutheran Theological Seminary in Arusha have gone well. He is impressed with the dedication of the seven students and their sincere desire to study and learn God's Word. He has also been active in the ministry at the local congregation in the Arusha area. He has started a Sunday School program for the children of the congregation. You can keep updated on things happening in Tanzania on his blog at: seminary/evangelism course. Ask for the Lord's continued blessings on these students and those called to teach and train them.


Bangladesh (Southeast Asia) – Missionary Ohlmann recently returned from a visit to Bangladesh. He was able to visit and share the Gospel at eleven Bangladesh Lutheran Church Mission (BLCM) congregations and preaching stations. He also conducted a four-day pastor and church leader training seminar for sixteen BLCM pastors and church leaders. He also had the opportunity to tour the BLCM land that was recently purchased with a partial grant from CLC Mission Development Fund. You can read his report from the visit at: Thank the Lord for His abundant blessings on the Gospel ministry as pastors and evangelists are being trained in the truth of God's saving word, as many are being led from Hinduism and Islam to saving faith in Jesus Christ. 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.


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 sent additional Kinship humanitarian funds to assist the leaders of the CLCM in providing basic needs to the more than 400 families suffering in March. Continue to 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) – Immanuel Lutheran Seminary of the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLCI) will graduate seventeen men on June 15th. These graduates have all successfully completed four years of Biblical seminary training. They will be assigned to both newly established and existing CLCI congregations. Seventeen students graduate from the seminary each year; most go on to serve new congregations. Kinship sponsorship allows these men to continue supporting their families while at the seminary. Thank the Lord for these new, faithful, and well-trained pastors, and ask the Lord to bless their preaching and teaching of His saving Word.


Togo and Missionary Evensen (West Africa) – Missionary Evensen will return to the U.S. in June for some rest, furlough, and to attend the CLC General Pastoral Conference. Pray that the Lord will grant him safe and uneventful travels back to the U.S., and pray for God's blessings on the time of fellowship and growth during the conference.  


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.  

CLC Mission Helper Trip to Nepal (Southeast Asia) – The 2023 CLC Mission Helpers to Nepal are counting down the days until their June 26th departure. This trip will provide eleven CLC volunteers and two trip leaders the opportunity and privilege of proclaiming God's saving word to an estimated 1500 children. Some of these children will be members Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession (HCLCN) congregations, but most are not. For many of the children, this will be the first time they have heard a clear and Biblical presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ as the one who died and rose from the dead for their sins! Please pray that the Lord would give love, compassion, patience, wisdom, and safety to the Mission Helpers and to those they go to serve as the Gospel is proclaimed to children in Nepal. Pray also for the pastors and church leaders who have spent much time and effort preparing for this Gospel outreach opportunity. You can follow along with the Mission Helpers at:


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

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Bangladesh May 2023

I've been home for a few days, and I'm not anywhere near caught up on sleep or over the jet lag, but duty calls. There are emails to answer, reports to be written, trips to be planned, and the car needs an oil change, the grass needs to be mowed, and there's a lengthy list of things to do before we celebrate Lydia's homeschool high-school graduation in about a week and a half. It's going to be a wonderfully busy next few weeks before the CLC Mission Helper Trip to Nepal at the end of June! 

The visit to Bangladesh was a whirlwind of activity. Pastor Monotosh Banarjee knows how to plan and pack a lot into a two-week visit. It started right off with a Saturday morning pick-up from Dhaka airport at 7:30 AM. My flight from the Philippines (via Bangkok) had arrived at 1:45 AM, so I was able to catch a few hours of rest before Pastor Banarjee arrived. We traveled by rented vehicle and driver from Dhaka to Jashore, where we would spend the next few days visiting Bangladesh Lutheran Church Mission (BLCM) congregations, preaching stations, and outreach efforts. From there, we traveled to Gopalgonj, where Pastor B. and his family live and also where the BLCM is headquartered. From Gopalgonj, we traveled several hours each day for the next few days to visit more BLCM ministry efforts. Our typical day began with a 7:30 AM departure, and we would return to Gopalgonj sometime in the evening. During my first six days in Bangladesh, we visited and shared the Gospel at eleven different congregations, preaching stations, outreach efforts in homes, and two schools. Attendance ranged from eleven to fifty. I had four different sermons prepared, each one with a clear presentation of God's Law to show us our sins and a need for a Savior, and the Good News of Jesus to reveal our Savior. I preached on the raising of Lazarus, Jesus' "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" statement, the healing of the centurion's servant, and the parable of the mustard seed. Many of the members of the BLCM are new to the Christian faith and have been raised in either the Hindu or Muslim religion. It is such a joy to proclaim the simple and saving truths of God's saving word to these new believers and those who come to listen but have not yet been led to faith. In one location where there is a newly established BLCM congregation, there were four prominent men from the village who were in attendance and listening intently. As we were walking back to the road from the congregation, Pastor B. explained to me that those men were Muslim, and this was the first time they had come to hear what was being taught. The seed of God's word has been scattered; pray that the Holy Spirit causes it to sprout and produce fruit! 

One of the interesting and incredible things that I noticed with this visit is just how many BLCM members were former unbelievers. Pastor B. just casually points to this individual or that when we're waiting for things to begin, and in a rather matter-of-fact way, tells me that he or she is a former Hindu or Muslim. He's not saying it in a boastful way, but in such a way that you can see that he just considers this to be normal. Praise the Lord for each and every soul, in this predominately Muslim nation, who is called out of the darkness of unbelief and into the marvelous light of our Savior's forgiveness, life, and salvation!

Here are a few pictures of the evangelism efforts described above:

The second week of this visit was the BLCM Pastoral Theological Training Seminar held in Dhaka. We had sixteen BLCM pastors and leaders in attendance for this 3.5-day seminar. Like the week before, Pastor B. packed as much into each day as he could. We began each day at 6:30 AM for morning prayers/devotion. Following breakfast, we began training at 8:30 AM and ended the day with evening prayers/devotion at 6:45 PM followed by our evening meal. These were long (and hot...106 degrees) but fruitful days spent in the Word. I taught about 7 hours each day, and Monotosh used about an hour each day to discuss BLCM matters and lessons on important theological terms. The lessons I taught were a part of the Online Theological Studies curriculum that retired ILC professor David Lau has been working on for us. I taught lessons on Hermeneutics/Biblical Interpretation. With the language barrier, the need for translation, and lots of questions being asked and answered, I was only able to get through seven of the eleven lessons. This is OK because Pastor B. is going to finish the course with these men next month and then go through it all again later in the year. These lessons are so foundational to a proper understanding of Scripture and thus the preaching and teaching of it. Monotosh continues to stress the importance of thorough training for these men so that the ministry and future of BLCM is built upon the firm foundation of God's saving Word with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. With this goal in mind, we (the CLC) are working together with the BLCM to develop a solid curriculum for training faithful preachers and teachers of God's Word. This is really the focus of our work together with the BLCM. It is such a privilege to work together with these dedicated servants of the Lord who demonstrate a genuine eagerness and dedication to this training with no concern for their own personal advancement in this world. In fact, their pursuits in learning God's word will most likely bring them more earthly hardship than the material comforts of this world. Praise the Lord for the love of our Savior in the hearts of these faithful servants of our Savior.

Here are a few pictures and a video from the Theological Training Seminar:

The other item on my agenda for this visit was to see the BLCM land that was recently purchased with a partial grant from the CLC Mission Development Fund. We also discussed their plans to build a multipurpose building that will serve as a place of worship, a Bible training center for pastors and church leaders, and a home for Pastor Banarjee and his family. No plans have yet been drawn up, but they are tentatively planning to build a four-story building with each level serving a different purpose. This building will be a wonderful blessing to the BLCM as they continue to develop a look forward to the day when they can begin a more thorough pastoral training program. This will also be a great blessing for Pastor Banarjee and his family. Over the past few years that we have been working with the BLCM, Pastor B., and his family have had to move several times because Muslim neighbors complained to landlords because they didn't like the Christian singing and ministry that was going on. They look forward to the day when they will be able to move into a home that is owned by the government registered and approved BLCM and will thus have no interference to their Christian activities. 

Here's a short video of the BLCM land:


Friday, May 5, 2023

Remembering with Thanksgiving Those Who Faithfully Labored Before Us...

Retired missionary, personal mentor, and hero Dave Koenig recently shared the following. This man's memory and knowledge base is a blessing from the Lord. And yet his zeal for the Gospel and love for the lost is most inspiring!

From Missionary Dave Koenig...

Tradition has had June 29th as St. Peter and St. Paul's Day. It is thought that on June 29th Paul was beheaded in Rome after his second imprisonment, though we can't say for sure. June 29th among many has now become the Day of the Christian Martyr.  

In joy we have our Missionary Naumann serving now in Tanzania. It is good to look back to see the sacrifices that were made to come to this point. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. 

Still, Still Though Dead They Speak 

Martin Luther wrote hymn 259 to celebrate two men who proclaimed their faith and were killed by Christ's enemies. The Word they spoke and their witness lives on -

...Still, still, tho'dead, they speak, And trumpet tongued proclaim
To many a wakening land, The one availing Name. 

We have been gifted by God with the privilege to work in Tanzania on the east coast of Africa where missionaries have also given their lives that the people might hear the truth of God. The history of Lutheran mission work there goes back over 150 years when the mission societies sent out the missionaries. The nineteenth century was the century of the many Lutheran mission societies at work the world over. It was not the work of Lutheran princes or states sending in the 1900′s, but of believers gathering together and sending. It is like today when a group of people support a mission helper. One such society back then was the Leipzig Society, founded in 1836.

It is a fact that Leipzig sent men literally to their death in the cause of the kingdom. This reminds us of when Stephen died for proclaiming his faith. 

The first five missionaries from the Leipzig Mission were: Emil Mueller, Gerhard Althaus, Robert Fassman, Albin Boehme and Thedore Passler. These names mean nothing to us today, but they were brave and trusting in the Lord to go to Africa at a time when dangers were all around from wild animals, diseases and unbelieving natives. Arriving at Mombasa on July 12, 1893 the Lord used them to reach the natives in what was at that time German East Africa, present day Tanzania. The native people worshiped spirits and gods of the villages. They listened to what we would call witch doctors. In August the missionaries arrived at Moshi, an area where we work today. One of the villages where they went to work was Machame where we also have members. Back in the 1890′s the opposition was from the natives who did not want to change from the old gods to the Living God. A Machame language grammar and dictionary were developed so that the Gospel could be in the language of the people. And a Machame hymnal of 30 hymns was developed for that tribal people.The people lived together in their tribes and fought each other as well as foreigners. 

Two new Leipzig missionaries, Ewald Ovir and Karl Segebrock arrived in 1895 and proceeded westwards from Machame to see about work among the Wameru. On Oct. 20, 1896 these two servants of God were killed by the natives. One has to wonder why God took them after so short a stay in the field. In the city of Arusha, the area where we now have a seminary today, there is the restored old Boma (fort) of the Germans from that time when the Germans ruled.  It has been turned into a museum. In one room of the old fort is the history of the German rule pictured on the walls. At one point one can read the report from the natives of what happened that night long ago. As Ewald is dying from eighteen spears, he is saying, ‘why are you killing us…we came to bring you the Gospel…to tell you how you can go to heaven through Christ.’  The Lord had Ewald die as our Lord did with love on his lips.  As Stephen had mirrored his Lord with “Lord do not hold this sin against them…” so Ewald mirrored his Lord's words. And there is more to the story of how God was, is and will be in triumphant. One of the youths who attacked and killed the two missionaries on that dreadful/triumphant night was baptized in 1965. Though an aged man at the time, he was sought out by the Lord, who is at work always His wonder of conversion to perform. 

Ewald and Karl are praising the Lord in heaven with some later comers that they had met on earth, at least one of whom was one of their killers, baptized seventy years later.  The Word of God bears fruit, accomplishing what God wills. To Him belongs all glory. 

Today in Tanzania there is a great struggle going on between our Christian religion and the false religion of Islam. The old native religions are not practiced much anymore. The devil tries another approach then of bringing in a religion that tries to rival our Christian faith. When Paul preached on the island of Cyprus there was a Jewish false prophet, a certain magician who was trying to win the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus, to his wicked ways. Paul was trying to win Sergius to the Christian faith. The result finally was "the proconsul believed." Acts. 13:12 So today our brothers in the faith in Tanzania are seeking to win the people from any influence of Islam. Pray that soul by soul believes just as Sergius Paulus did "astonished at the teaching of the Lord." 13:12 The love of God in Christ for wicked men continues and is proclaimed and is astonishing. 

It is that Word of God that will grow and multiply in hearts and souls. Pray for this where once Ewald and Karl spoke.

This article has been slightly edited, re-formatted, and annotated with hyperlinks.