This morning, President Matthew C. Harrison and the Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, director of Regional Operations for the Office of International Mission, sent the following letter to all LCMS missionaries. We offer it here in the hope that you will keep the Strohschein family as well as all of the missionaries and Office of International Mission staff who worked alongside Ed in your prayers. More details will follow in an upcoming Reporter Online story.
In times like these, we, the Church, feel the miles between us profoundly. We wish we could be with you now, in the same room or at the same table, to share with you the news that the Lord has, in His infinite wisdom, seen fit to draw Ed Strohschein, business manager for the LCMS Asia Pacific region, to Himself following a marked battle with cancer.
We grieve with Ed’s wife, Shauna, and his son, John. We pray for both of them and for all his family. And we hurt with you, feeling the loss of our brother in Christ whose love of church and of God’s people was always evident.
Ed has finished his course in the faith, and a robust course it was! Ed was the son of missionaries who was born in the Philippines, went to school in the United States and returned to Asia in 1999 to serve his Lord and his church, anxious to share with those around him the good news of Christ’s grace and forgiveness. Using his keen business sense, Ed kept tabs on all things administrative and financial in that region, even assisting in the expansion of LCMS mission presence throughout the region.
And so we mourn, knowing that Ed now rests from his labors (and they were many!) and especially from a difficult past few months, even as we take joy in the promises of Christ: that we will receive Ed back on the final day and that we will spend eternity with him.
Know that each of you missionaries and your families are in our daily prayers too. The loss of a friend, a coworker, a fellow brother in Christ is trying and thorny. We will continue to check in with you, to pray for you, to ask our Lord to give you courage and faith to meet the days ahead. But we also encourage you to be in touch with us—if you would find it helpful—so that we can pray for your specific needs and can care for you as you seek to live in the joyful expectation of eternal life with Ed and with all who have departed the faith. Please remember that Ellie Corrow, missionary care coordinator, is eager to assist you in any way she can as well.
In times like these, we, the Church, feel the miles between us profoundly. We wish we could be with you now, in the same room or at the same table, to remember Ed, to comfort one another in our grief, to share in the consolation of Christ’s love and His promises. But we also know that in Christ and regardless of miles, we are already knit together into His family, His church, and that because He lives, Ed lives too.
Pastor Matt Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, director of Regional Operation, Office of International Mission
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Dr. Quill Recovery Update
For Immediate Release
April 23, 2014
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CTS)—In this season as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, it is with thanksgiving to the God of all mercy and comfort that we are able to announce that the Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill has been discharged from the hospital. His road to recovery will continue in Adelaide, Australia. While a date has yet to be set for Dr. Quill’s return to the United States, we pray for his continued recovery and look forward to his homecoming.
Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, and The Office of International Mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod continue to give thanks for the marvelous care, both physical and spiritual, that the Quill family is receiving. We further encourage all to keep the Quill’s and those providing care for them in your prayers.
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Location:N Seminary Ter,Clayton,United States
The proximity of Earth Day (4/22) and Easter Sunday (4/20) on this year’s calendar is interesting.
Several years after it was invented, our family went out to see a local observance of Earth Day on a patch of South Dakota prairie outside our community. We found a group of ill-kempt people in primitive circumstances, determined to save the earth with their tin foil solar ovens and crude makeshift looms. It was quite the vivid picture of the paucity of human efforts to address what they believed to be a truly big issue.
We know, of course, that this world suffers from something far more serious than carbon emissions. God’s creation suffers right along with humankind since the fall into sin, which resulted in the first “earth day” recorded in Genesis 3. It wasn’t pretty: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake….In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (vv. 17, 19). Paul adds, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:22). Of course, the earth is still the Lord’s (Ps. 24:1) and we are its stewards, and we are to be concerned about proper care and treatment of God’s creation. But well-intentioned human efforts to save it will always be too little.
And the same is even more true where mankind’s far more serious problem is concerned, i.e., the Eden emissions that pollute our every day on this earth. Because of our sinfulness, the earth day announced to Adam in Genesis 3 awaits us all: “…till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (v. 19). Meager human efforts to make amends are easily brushed aside by death’s power.
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). Thanks to His incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection and the power of His Spirit working faith in our lives, when our own earth day comes (and it will come soon), what safety and comfort we will find in knowing “…that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (vv. 21, 38-39). What’s more, this earth also will “be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).
The resurrection of Christ puts everything, including Earth Day, into proper perspective.
Adelaide, Australia, April 11, 2014
The Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTS) and Director of Theological Education for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Office of International Mission (OIM), remains in the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia, where he underwent surgery for a brain aneurism on April 3.
Quill’s condition has improved over the past several days. He has been released from the Intensive Care Unit and is now being cared for in the Neurology Ward. While he remains in serious condition, his condition is slowly improving.
Although the physicians have yet to provide a prognosis regarding Quill’s ultimate recovery, they have indicated that he is in the category of a more positive outcome for people who have suffered such an aneurysm. While physical therapy has begun, it is likely that Dr. Quill will remain in Australia for some time in preparation for his return to the United States.
Annette and Kati, Quill’s wife and daughter, are in Adelaide, lending invaluable emotional support. OIM staff and pastors from the Lutheran Church of Australia will remain with the Quill’s throughout the recovery period to provide spiritual and logistical support. The CTS community is also actively engaged in supporting and caring for the Quill family during this challenging time.
Updates on Dr. Quill’s recovery will be provided as information becomes available. Please keep Tim, his family, and his medical and pastoral care teams in your prayers.
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The following sermon, which was delivered today (April 9, 2014) in chapel at the LCMS International Center, is adapted from a sermon written by Chaplain William Weedon. The sermon is one of many included in a Lenten series published by Concordia Publishing House (CPH) in 2009 titled Sacred Head, Now Wounded. Find this resource (which includes a CD) here.
How many the wounds we inflicted upon our Savior in His Passion, suffering and death! And yet of all the wounds that our Lord received, none so struck, so terrorized and so weighed on Him as the one we ponder this morning. We did not inflict this one. It came from His Father — the wound of abandonment.
From out of the unspeakable depth of His agony on the cross, our Lord cries the words of Psalm 22:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The great Lutheran preacher, O.P. Kretzmann, ponders this cry of agony:
“Suddenly on a Friday afternoon a man was forsaken of God, cut off from the land of the living and the dead, utterly and ultimately alone. … The sudden emptiness in those shadowed eyes … . It was then, much more than afterward, that he died. … You see, this is sin. … It is not merely a matter of murder and adultery and gossip. … Something to do or not to do! … It is always loneliness. … It is cutting yourself off from God. … It is deliberate turning away from truth, from goodness, from heaven. … You see, this is redemption. … All this He took into Himself alone there in the dark. … He became sin for us” (The Pilgrim, CPH 1944, p. 47).
People loved by God, as all the sin of the world is laid upon the Lamb of God, as He owns it as His very own, He experiences in Himself what every one of those sins demands: “Leave me alone, God! Go away! Leave me be!” This is the bitterest dregs of the cup that He will drain down for us in its entirety. He will taste hell. He will taste it for us all. He will know the loneliness so profound that its pain is unutterable for us. How can we begin to understand what it was like for Him in that moment — the eternal Word who had delighted in the Father’s presence before the ages came to be; the eternal Word who took on flesh from the Virgin without ever leaving the presence of His Father; the Word made flesh who lived among us constantly as all men were meant to live: conscious of His Father’s never-failing love and the presence of His guiding hand. And all of this is now withdrawn, and He is alone. All alone.
People joke about hell, saying, “Well, at least I’ll have a lot of company there.” Wrong. Utterly wrong. Think of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. In that story, the rich man is all alone. Lazarus has angels for company and Abraham to whom he is so close that he lays his head in his bosom. The rich man hungers and thirsts for a human touch.
“Send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.”
But no visit relieves the terror of his solitude. He is alone. All alone. And will be alone forever. You ponder that and you will begin to understand the reality of hell. You ponder that and you will see its true terror. You ponder that and you will bow in love before the Savior whose love for you was so great that He chose to enter that Himself and to endure it in your place that you might be set free from it forever. Never alone. Never again.
Because He endured the wound of abandonment that our every sin demands of God, because He drained the cup down to this, its last and bitterest dregs, you can look to your Savior and pray with the confidence of being heard.
Do you see it now? You will never have to know what He went through in those darkest hours. Not that you won’t suffer. No, He flat out tells you that you will. But you will never have to face life or suffering or death alone. He has made sure of it. He will be with you. He will walk with you every step of the way, and so hell itself is undone, death destroyed, sin forgiven. Your Savior, your Shepherd, He attends you through the valley of the shadow of death so that you fear no evil, for you are not alone, but He is with you. His rod and His staff, they comfort you. He brings you out from that darkest of valleys into the sunshine and the bright light of the day that never ends in the Kingdom of your Father.
Let’s let O.P. Kretzmann have the final words on this meditation on the wound of abandonment:
“Above His ‘Eli, Eli’ was the sound of tearing veils, of falling walls, of the glad crying of those who now had a home again after the long loneliness of sin. … They would continue to wander, groping, stumbling, falling, in all the black ways which man will walk when they turn away from God. … But there was a way back now, beyond Jerusalem and beyond thought and hope to the place where the open arms of the cross had become the gates of heaven” (The Pilgrim, p. 47).
LCMS International Center chaplain