Saturday, November 18, 2023

Bangladesh - November 2023

I always ask the Lord and request prayers for safe and "uneventful" travels. You see, I've had my fair share of "eventful" journeys that have caused some disruption and frustration over the years. Imagine a bus breaking down on the side of the road for several hours, resulting in a late arrival, throwing off the whole schedule, and not having the time to teach all the lessons I had prepared! It's kind of a domino effect of disruptions that can drive a guy crazy. I consider myself to be someone who usually takes things in stride, but I prefer to stay in control of the situation whenever possible. Thus, the reason for my prayer for "uneventful" travels.

On the other hand, there is also a desire to have a rather "eventful" trip when it comes to work that the Lord has given me to do. In fact, I feel some pressure sometimes to produce some amazing events to share with the folks back home. There have been times when I have returned from a trip to some seemingly exotic place on the other side of the world, and people seem disappointed if I don't have some amazing stories to tell. But oftentimes, that's the way it goes. I come, I teach, I preach, I visit, and I go home. Sounds rather uneventful and uninspiring, doesn't it? 

I was giving this some thought as I was wrapping up my time here in Bangladesh and preparing to write this blog post. I arrived here about two weeks ago to the news that the opposition political party in the north of the country was closing down roads, and all transportation in and out of the region had been shut down. My flight from Dhaka to Saidpur was canceled, and so were our plans to visit BLCM congregations and preaching stations in that area. That meant an unexpected overnight in Dhaka and a different flight to Jessore the next day. No big deal, we were able to schedule a couple outreach seminars in the Jessore district instead. The rest of the trip and schedule were rather uneventful and have gone off without a hitch. We have been blessed with the opportunity to conduct uneventful two-day outreach and Lutheran Theology seminars in three separate locations, and we just concluded an uneventful five-day pastor and church worker training seminar yesterday. Today (Saturday, Nov. 18), we enjoyed an uneventful "church worker excursion" to the Sundarban Mangrove Forests and Tiger Reserve in southwest Bangladesh in the Ganges River Delta on Bay of Bengal. I'll preach for worship services tomorrow. We'll visit a couple preaching stations on Monday. And Tuesday, we'll visit one more preaching station on my way back to Dhaka to catch an early morning flight to Kathmandu, Nepal, on Wednesday morning. From a practical, earthly standpoint, it was an uneventful visit to Bangladesh. Prayers answered!

All of this got me thinking about that word - "uneventful." When you think about what God has accomplished through the "foolishness" preached and taught through His saving Word in my own sinful heart and the sinful hearts of men, women, children, and even infants throughout the world and throughout the years since the fall into sin, "uneventful" would have to be one of the last words you would use to describe it. Just think, our Savior, because of nothing other than His undeserved love and mercy, gave forgiveness, salvation, life, and an eternal home in Heaven to this cold, dead, sinful, wretched heart. He accomplished this through nothing more and nothing less than the Gospel in His Word and Baptism. And what gives this word and sacrament its power is the greatest event that ever took place...namely, the sacrificial suffering and death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ! Sometimes, in my quiet moments, I am just overwhelmed with awe and joy by the "events" that have taken place in history and in my own life, which have called me out of the darkness of unbelief and death and into the marvelous light of my Savior. The idea that I should called a child of God and have the privilege of preaching, teaching, and sharing the foolishness of the cross, which is the power of God for salvation with so many people around the world, is amazing, to say the least. It is truly humbling to realize that our Savior can use a bumbling, low IQ, sinful, wretched fool like me to bring Jesus (the Way, the Truth, and the Life) to others! What a privilege to serve Him!

I have decided to modify my prayers a bit. Going forward, I will still pray for "uneventful" travels, but I also intend to thank the Lord for all the eventful outcomes of His love and mercy in my life and the lives of so many around the world!!

If all goes as planned, I will fly to Nepal on Wednesday, where I will meet Raju, and the two of us will travel to a district in the west to visit an HCLCN congregation that was affected by the recent earthquake. 

Please pray for uneventful travels and an eventful visit to Nepal over the next few weeks. 

And please keep Beth, her dad (who went on hospice care last week), and all our family in your prayers. Thank you!

Here are a few pictures and a couple of videos of some of the "events" that have taken place over the past couple of weeks here in Bangladesh...

BLCM Preaching Station in the Jessore District - Outreach Seminar with New Christians

Apostle's Creed Seminar at St. Thomas Lutheran Church

St. Thomas Lutheran Church

St. Thomas Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church in Gopalganj

Immanuel Lutheran Church
Pastor Monotosh and the BLCM Pastor and Church Worker Training Seminar

Student Books

BLCM Pastor and Church Leader Training Seminar 

My daily commute to and from the BLCM Church Worker Training Seminar in Gopalganj

BLCM Training Seminar

Pastor Monotosh Addressing the Seminar Participants

Pastor Monotosh, His Wife Elizabeth, and the Seminar Attendees

Rather loud and "eventful" Diwali celebration that lasted until 2 or 3:00 am and began again at 5:00 am the first five nights I was in Gopalganj

Hindu Temple across the street from my hotel

Hindu Idol in the temple across from my hotel in Gopalganj

Boarding the boat that took us to the Sundarban Mangrove Forests

Entrance to the Sundarban Mangrove Forest Preserve
Armed ranger to protect us from Tigers...we saw paw prints but no tigers :(

Trekking through the World's Largest Mangrove Forest

Thursday, November 2, 2023

November 2023 - CLC Missions Prayer List


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

India (Southeast Asia) – Pastor Prem Kumar, a long-time pastor and leader of the CLC-India, lost his battle with kidney disease and was taken to be the Lord. He leaves behind a wife, two young children, and a large congregation of believers he has faithfully served for many years. Thank the Lord for providing this faithful servant for the work of His Kingdom and the harvest of souls in India. Pray for the Lord's comfort and assurance for his wife, children, family, congregation, and all those in the CLCI who mourn his passing and rejoice in his victory over the grave through faith in Jesus Christ.

Kate Sauers (USA) – Kate is the wife of Board of Missions member Pastor Rob Sauers. She was diagnosed with ALK-positive large-cell lymphoma cancer in late September. She has received two rounds of chemotherapy so far, and doctors report that she has responded well. Thank the Lord for blessing the treatments thus far and ask for His continued blessings on the remainder of the treatments she is scheduled to receive. Continue to Pray for courage, comfort, hope, strength, and trust in our Savior's love and plans for their family.

Liberia (West Africa) – Pastor Joseph's sister recently went to be with the Lord following a battle with liver cancer. With a presidential runoff taking place on November 14th, there is a lot of uncertainty and instability in Liberia right now. Pastor John Hein continues treatments for a rare and very aggressive form of thymic cancer. He will have more scans scheduled for November. Pray for the Lord's comfort as Pastor Joseph and his family mourn the loss of his sister and rejoice in victory over the grave through faith in Jesus. Ask the Lord to direct the affairs of the Liberian elections this month so that peace may prevail and good government may serve His purpose. Pray for the Lord's hand of healing upon our brother, Pastor John Hein, so that the treatments he is receiving will rid his body of cancer. Pray for good results from the scans so Pastor Hein can begin planning for a visit to Liberia in January.

Missionary Evensen (Togo, West Africa) – Missionary Evensen recently had a kidney stone block his only kidney. Pray that he will have no further complications, as necessary surgical treatments may not be readily available. Ask the Lord to provide a quick and complete recovery so he can return to the work he has been called to.

Mexico – Bd of Missions member Jeff Radichel and Missionary Ohlmann recently visited Pastor Olvera, his family, and our brothers and sisters in Christ of the Iglesia Luterana Confessional Mexico. They discussed future plans for Gospel outreach and leadership training for lay leaders in one congregation and three preaching stations in Mexico. Thank the Lord for this opportunity to fellowship together around His Word. Pray for the Lord's blessings and provision as these new plans develop so that many more may be reached with God's saving word.

Missionary Bruce Naumann (Tanzania-East Africa) – Missionary Naumann, along with his wife Paula, are getting more accustomed to their new home in Tanzania. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at the seminary, he has also begun taking a more active role in correspondence and training pastors in Kenya and Uganda. They will be returning to the States for a one-month furlough in December. You can keep updated on things happening in Tanzania at Ask for the Lord's blessings as Missionary Naumann and Paula continue to adjust to life in Africa. Pray for our Savior's abundant blessings on the work of training pastors, teachers, and leaders in Tanzania.

Missionary Ohlmann – Missionary Ohlmann is currently traveling and working in Asia until the middle of December. He will spend a few days in Tokyo, visiting a congregation once in fellowship with the CLC. From there, he will spend approx. six weeks working with the pastors and leaders of the Bangladesh Lutheran Church Mission (BLCM) and the Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession of Nepal (HCLCN). While in Bangladesh and Nepal, he will visit several congregations and preaching stations, conduct Pastoral Training Seminars, and be privileged to attend the Himalayan Bible Institute graduation. Pray for all that is necessary for these trips to be planned and take place. Ask the Lord to be with and bless his wife, Beth, her father, and their family while he is away. Pray for the Lord's love, wisdom, patience, and zeal during these visits that His name be glorified as the truth of His saving word is proclaimed and pastors are trained. You can read reports and see pictures from his travels at

Mission Development Fund – CLC president Mike Wilke writes: "When the convention approved the calling of our third foreign missionary, it determined that the funding of that missionary would come fully from the MDF for the first year. The cost of funding that missionary is about $80,000 and has impacted other planned MDF projects. Currently, the balance of the MDF is enough to cover the cost of our third foreign missionary for the rest of this fiscal year and a few other essential projects, but without additional funds, we will not be able to fund other planned projects. We have already put a hold on all other projects, including funding Bibles and other Christian literature, church-building assistance, and many planned outreach projects. Pray that the members of the CLC will remember this work in their prayers and their offerings so that we might continue to carry out the work the LORD has set before us and which we have decided to do as a church body."

Tanzania (East Africa) – Pastor Paulo Kiara, who serves in the Tanga district of the Tanzania-CLC, is recovering from abdominal surgery. A Kinship grant was provided to assist with the cost of the life-saving surgery. Pray for a speedy and complete recovery. On November 19th, three evangelism students will graduate from the one-year program at the Wittenberg Lutheran Theological Seminary. Two of these students will continue their training in the three-year seminary program. Missionary Naumann and the seminary faculty have several prospects for new enrollments in the next academic year, which begins in January. Praise and thank the Lord for these students and their dedication to preparing for the public ministry. Pray for the students, their families, and the teaching staff at the seminary, asking the Lord to continue to provide all that is necessary for this work to continue.

Myanmar (Southeast Asia) – Our brothers and sisters in Christ of the CLC-Myanmar continue to struggle under the oppressive rule of the military junta. Pastor Kham continues to heal from the injuries he received. His wife, Haui, has been released from jail, and their debt has been paid through the compassionate offerings of God's children. Continue to pray for strength and courage for Haui as she deals with the emotional and physical trauma of her arrest. Pray for the children Pastor Kham and Haui care for as they live in constant fear of military attack and now also the fear of losing those who love and care for them. Continue to Pray for justice and peace for all the people of Myanmar. Pray especially for our brothers and sisters in Christ that our Savior will give them strength, comfort, 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 and prayers.

The Philippines (Southeast Asia) – Pastor Andrew Schaller (CLC Bd of Doctrine Secretary) continues the colloquy with Pastor Jordan Palangyos and the Lutheran Autonomous Mission in the Philippines (LAMP) via email correspondence. 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 continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Pakistan – Pastor Tim Daub continues to teach online video Bible lessons to two groups 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 in 2024. With the upcoming elections in Pakistan and due to safety concerns surrounding it, there is some uncertainty about when this trip will occur. 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.

Bangladesh (Southeast Asia) – Missionary Ohlmann will be in Bangladesh for the first three weeks of November. He will work with Pastor Monotosh to visit several congregations and preaching stations, and they will conduct a five-day pastoral training seminar. Ask our Savior to continue to bless both the preaching and learning of God's word in Bangladesh and to provide all that is necessary for the ministry of the BLCM.

Nepal (Southeast Asia) – Pastor Raju continues to train men to be faithful preachers of God's saving word. The students recently braved flooded rivers and landslides to attend a one-week training seminar at the HCLC-Nepa headquarters. They are preparing for Missionary Ohlmann's visit in late November and for the graduation of several Himalayan Lutheran Bible Institute students. Thank the Lord for keeping all the students safe in their treacherous travels and blessing their lessons in His Word. Pray for the Lord's blessings on the work and preparation for the upcoming missionary visit. Ask the Lord to provide all that is necessary so that His word will be spread among the many idol worshippers of Nepal and that many will be led by the Spirit to repent and trust in their Savior Jesus.

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