3 February 2015
After arriving at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, we went to the Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS). Once on campus, we went to the Lutheran Confessions class taught by Dr. Fred Baue. This is Dr. Baue’s second time teaching at the MYS seminary. His first teaching stint lasted six months. This time Dr. Baue will remain for four months teaching the Lutheran Confessions and English. He also will be composing some liturgical music. The Global Seminary Initiative (GSI) helps send professors to teach at seminaries around the world. It also helps provide books for the class room.
The Lutheran Confessions class makes use of Concordia Publishing House’s Readers Edition — Pocket Edition of the Book of Concord. The EECMY church subscribes to the unaltered Augsburg Confession and Luther’s catechisms. Until recently, the church body did not have the entire Book of Concord in Amharic. At the MYS seminary, in the Lutheran Confessions class, Dr. Baue uses the entire Book of Concord.
Dr. Daniel Brege came to Ethiopia for the first time to teach the Psalms at MYS. Today will be the first day he teaches. Prior to his teaching, we met in the Dean of Theology Office to print copies of his syllabus and assign the class room. Rev. Shauen Trump, East Africa Area Facilitator or the Office of International Mission, helps oversee the LCMS’ work in Ethiopia.
After meeting with people we took a coffee break at the MYS Cafe. Coffee is a must in Ethiopia and facilitates discussion and friendship. Over coffee we planned the rest of our day.
LCMS U has managed to reach Ethiopia — at least the LCMS U shirt has made it to Ethiopia. Looking to a very good visit in Ethiopia this week.
On Saturday, 30 January 2015, the Association of Lutheran Mission Agencies (ALMA) held a mini-conference on “Facing New Realities: Lutheran Mission in the 21st Century.” ALMA began in 1996 with 10 mission societies; today, ALMA consists of approximately 65 mission societies. The mini-conference began around 1 PM and finished at 4 PM. Dr. Douglas Rutt from Lutheran Hour Ministries served as the moderator. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations presented on behalf of OIM. Rev. Jeffrey Thormodson presented on behalf of the Lutheran Society for Missiology.
Dr. Collver presented on OIM’s strategic plan and how that engages mission in the 21st century. He also discussed the recent CCM opinion regarding the Board for International Mission (BIM) role as the only sending agency of the Synod. Collver indicated to ALMA that the CCM opinion had little effect on mission societies in general. If the mission society wished to send a rostered worker of the Synod they would need to work with the BIM. He also indicated that BIM / OIM would like to work with the mission societies to increase each other’s capacity and to promote the Gospel of Jesus to the world.
Rev. Jeffry Thormodson presented on how mission societies bring innovation and new ideas to the mission field and are able to respond to the changing landscape more quickly than larger organizations. Mission societies also are able to work with groups too small or isolated for larger groups such as the Synod. He indicated how the Internet and social media have changed the world and how we do mission.
Rev. Berhard Seter, Chairman of the BIM, and Butch Almstedt, Vice-Chairman of the BIM, attended the meeting to discuss how the BIM would implement polices based upon the CCM opinion that the BIM is the sole sending agency of the Synod so that mission societies could work collaboratively with BIM / OIM. The OIM’s Regional Directors attended and participated in the Q & A. Over all this was a very good opportunity for the mission societies and OIM to get tougher to discuss how to cooperate.
President Matthew Harrison and Dr. David Erber, OIM Area Director for West Africa
31 January 2015
The Board for International Mission (BIM) honored Rev. Dr. David Erber, OIM Area Director for West Africa, for the 28th anniversary of his arrival in Nigeria. Dr. Erber was in Saint Louis first for the Office of International Mission Regional Directors’ meeting, the ALMA conference, and the BIM meeting, where he spoke how the Gospel of Jesus was being shared in Africa by the LCMS. Yesterday, while attending the ALMA meeting, Dr. Erber mentioned that his wife sent him an email, “Happy Anniversary.” Everyone, of course, assumed he spoke of his wedding anniversary to his wife, Joyce. David explained, “Not my wedding anniversary, but my 28th anniversary from when I deployed to Nigeria as a missionary.” The BIM wanted to honor Dr. Erber for his service.
President Matthew Harrison, Dr. David Erber, Rev. Bernie Seter, Chairman of the BIM
The BIM heard that Dr. Erber wished he could own a copy of the Concordia Commentary Series. With the help of Dr. Bruce Kintz and Concordia Publishing House, the BIM was able to present Dr. Erber with the entire Concordia Commentary Series. Congratulations to Dr. Erber and his wife Joyce for their many years of faithful service in the mission field!
Dr. Erber presents to the BIM about challenges and opportunities in West Africa.
30 January 2015
The Board for International Mission (BIM) held its meeting at Concordia Publishing House, which also hosted the Office of International Mission (OIM) Regional Directors earlier in the week. Rev. Bernie Setter, chairman of the BIM, called the meeting to order and held a devotion on Matthew 4:18-25, highlighting the missionary task of all Christians. After President Harrison gave his report on the state of the synod, the BIM entered executive session to discuss candidates to be called for missionary service. After prayer and deliberation, the BIM issued 16 calls or appointments as career or GEOs to serve in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America, with the potential to consider more on Saturday. The Office of International Mission staff and the Regional Directors are contacting the candidates to inform them of their call to serve the mission field. Call documents will be sent in the near future. After issuing the calls the BIM sang the Doxology. We thank the Lord of sending laborers into the ripe harvest field.
Mr. John Edson, secretary of the BIM, speaks during the BIM.
Pictured (left to right): Rev. Tony Booker — Eurasia Regional Director, Deaconess Grace Rao — Director of Deaconess Ministry, Rev. Andris Kraulins — Board Member from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, and Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver — Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations.
During the Regional Directors’ meeting held at Concordia Publishing House, Rev. Andris Kraulins visited from Latvia and met with the regional directors, in particular Rev. Tony Booker, Eurasia Regional Director.
Rev. Andris Kraulins a board member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, an LCMS partner church, and dean (circuit counselor) of the district of Jurmala visiting LCMS international center, St. Louis, January 25-27. Rev. Kraulins, who studied theology at Luther Academy, gave a presentation at IC, discussed the conservative church of Latvia in times of challenge. The presentation was informative and interesting and the audience received it well. At IC he was able to meet and have a brief talk with Rev. Bart Day, interim chief missions officer, Rev. Dr. Ray Hartwig, secretary of the synod, Rev. Larry Vogel of CTCR, associated executive director of CTCR. Later he was interviewed by KFUO, followed by a visit to CPH, where he was invited by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, director of church relations, and assistant to the president to meet all the regional directors of office of international mission. Here too, Rev. Kraulins talked about the Latvian church its structure and the challenges. Also, he brought the greetings from Archbishop, and the congregation at large.
Prior to his visit, he was at CTSFW who participated at the Lenten workshop, and the exegetical symposia, Jan. 18-21. At the seminary he had an opportunity to meet Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, Rev. Dr. Masaki and Rev. Dr. Detlev Shulz. Subsequently, he was invited by ONM to attend the Life Ministry Conference and participated in March for Life at Washington DC, Jan.21-24.
Rev. Kraulins is here to strengthen the church partnership and is interested in building the theological educational needs for pastors, and diaconal workers. LCMS welcomes Rev. Kraulins and looks forward to support and assist our Latvian partner church to reach out in mercy and compassion to those in need, motivated by Christ and His Gospel according to the Lutheran confession of the faith.
On Wednesday 28 January, the Regional Directors’ meeting concluded with budget and strategic planning. After the conclusion of the Regional Directors’ meeting, the RDs along with OIM staff attended the ALMA Conference on Thursday and Friday.
Concordia Publishing House hosted the Regional Directors’ meeting. A special thanks to Dr. Bruce Kintz and the staff of CPH for providing the Regional Directors with one of the most productive and peaceful from hustle and bustle meetings that they have had in recent memory. The close relationships that the Regional Directors have forged with CPH and the partnership between CPH and OIM have been and continues to be a blessing for the international mission efforts of the church. We are looking forward to many other joint ventures in the future for the benefit of the mission field.