Missionary Orientation and Opening Worship
2 March 2015
On Monday, 30 adults and 32 children came to Saint Louis for the Spring missionary orientation. Missionaries called in September 2014 and January 2015 arrived for theological lectures by Rev. Dr. Detlev Schultz on missiology, familiarization with the International Center support staff, familiarization of international health insurance and evacuation insurance, training and fund raising. Later in the week, the new missionaries will be meeting with the regional directors for field specific training. The missionary orientation will continue for the next two weeks. The missionaries will literally serve the four corners of the earth.
In the morning session, the missionaries were introduced to one another and to the OIM staff. Not only is there a large number of adults, but more children attending. These missionary children may well be the next generation of missionaries for the church. The Lord has been answering the church’s prayer to send laborers into the harvest.
After the morning sessions, the new missionaries attended Matins in the International Center chapel.
Sermon by Rev. Dr. Edward Grimenstein, Associate Executive Director for the Office of International Mission
Our God has chooses to use the things of this world to bring His salvation into this world. We often call this the “means of grace.” He uses water to bring salvation, bread and wine to give us forgiveness, and words from flesh and blood people to bring His gospel. That is how our God has chosen to work in this world. And that brings us to our very large group here this morning.
Welcome to our Winter class of 2015; our missionaries, spouses, and children. We are very pleased to have you join us here for the next two weeks during orientation. When you started to think about becoming a missionary I am sure you have had many long talks, and late nights deliberating whether or not to take this leap and serve as a missionary in the international field. You have given up close ties to do this. You have been willing to leave people you care deeply about to meet a people you don’t even know yet. What an exciting time.
As you begin your missionary service, I would like to have you remember one thing. And this goes for all of us here at the International Center as well. I would like you pastors and businessmen to remember why you were willing to move on to new calls and new work you may know little about . . . . I would like you women to remember why you were willing to give up what is familiar, established, and working, and leave all of that behind for a life that leaves you with probably more questions than answers at this point . . . I would like you children to remember why you were willing to go along with your parents who probably sat you down one day on a couch or at the kitchen table and said “hey, guess what – we’re moving to another country!” You have also given up friends and schools to also be a part of this work, and you are a big part of this work. . . .I would like everyone here at the International Center to remember why it is you chose to work here, in this place, and not somewhere else.
I would like all of you to remember – why? Why did you do this? And if you can’t remember, or if you think you may forget sometime in the future, then go back to our passage in Isaiah 49 and remember when God says to you and to all of us, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel, I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” So, why did you do this? Because you know, you believe, and you confess, that your God is not satisfied with staying in one corner of the world. The world is His and all that is in it, and He desperately wants that world and her people to come back under His protective wing.
When Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died a perfect death, He could have done so just for the Jews. But He didn’t, because that would have been too light a thing. The gentiles should also benefit from His perfect life and His perfect death for them. When Jesus rose from the dead He could have just stopped with a promise that the Jews would also be resurrected from the dead. But that would have been too light a thing for our God who promises all of you a resurrection from the dead through your baptism into Christ. And it would have been too light a thing to restrain the Holy Spirit only to call back the tribes of Israel. Too light a thing for our God who is the Creator of all the heavens and all the earth, too light a thing for our God who demands that all of His creation be given a salvation that reaches to the end of the earth.
Our God does not do things lightly. And truly nothing bigger was ever done than His own sacrifice for our sins. All of you have a life in Christ that is so great no disease can stand against it no temptation can seize it, and not even death can separate that life in Christ away from you. So, as you head back to work in this building, or if you are getting ready to take a step into a new land, always remember why you do this. Because your God doesn’t do things lightly. Your God wants His salvation to go out to the ends of the earth. Christ is a light for all the nations, and Christ will see His gospel spread as He sees fit – to the end of the whole earth. Amen.
And now may the peace of our God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
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