Missionary Monthly News
Greg Holz-Cambodia: Greg writes that Crossing Cambodia has moved to a “new ministry space that meets our current need and will be saving us thousands of dollars.” Effective March 1, Sobley will now have full responsibility for managing the Street Children’s Ministry. A new vision plan for Crossing Cambodia has been written and the major focus will be “sustainability.” Pray for the move, the ministry and sustainability.
Pastor Tim and Beth Heiney – West Africa: Tim and Beth have added dentistry to their medical services. They take the portable equipment, a dentist, their local evangelist, a TV and a movie about Jesus to various local villages. After a few days of equipment failure, an election day and a local death, seven people were gathered for care. A crowd gathered to see the show – but they could not get power to the TV.” As the day began, it looked pretty hopeless, so we prayed, “God if you want these people to see the movie about your Son, you’re going to have to fix that cord.” After one man “jiggled a few things around (we’re still not sure what he did) suddenly that little red light came on and we were set.”
Praise God for answered prayers!
Pastor Joel and Clarion Fritsche – Dominican Republic: Meet new missionaries supported by SOTH Pastor Joel and Clarion Fritsche, LCMS missionaries in the Dominican Republic. Pastor Joel was called to Santa Domingo, the capitol city of about four million people, to be a church planter, to support the Dominican pastor and eventually begin a second church. He also serves as Director of the new LCMS seminary “that opened this year to prepare Dominicans and other men from Latin American to be pastors. The seminary is in Santiago, two hours away. So for the last years we have been living and working in both plans. That’s often the life of a missionary being mobile and on the go.” The Fritsches have three boys. Pray for them as they communicate the Good News of Jesus.
Pastor Tim and Heidi Norton – Navajo, NM: Since the fall confirmation retreat for the Navajo youth, a young woman a part of the Retreat was baptized in December. In January, four baptisms were celebrated at Shepherd of the Valley. Tim writes: “In early December, we received another visit from L.I.M. staff member Rick McCafferty and Clair Kee. They continue to help people on their healing journey through our new program, Sacred Grounds. The goal of Sacred Grounds is to create a safe place where abuse victims can share their stories and break the silence that so often envelopes victims and families. It draws on a number of Bible stories, including Nehemiah, where participants learn to face the damage done and the steps to rebuilding safety and trust, and Tamar, a lesson in listening and healthy responses to the stories shared. Then, the presenters share their own stories of abuse and encourage those attending to explore their own stories, reflecting on past wounds and hurts to which they still cling. In the end, the participants are asked the same question Jesus asked the man at the Pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to get well?” And it is explained that God is pursuing each and every one of them, just as He pursued Adam and Eve in the Garden. Twelve adults attended the sessions that took place Monday through Friday in Navajo and Crystal, New Mexico, with an average of 6-8 each night (not including the children). There were a number of returning participants from the Rick and Clair’s previous visits, as well as two newcomers who hold significant roles in their Native communities. We pray this will help to expand the reach of God’s healing as they go back to their daily lives and interact with others. Because confidentiality is important, I can’t share all the details, but I can give you a glimpse.” Heidi has begun a weekly Bible study, Fruitful Affliction, for the Navajo women who have suffered abuse for many years.
John and Jenn Wolf – South Africa: John visited a group of Lutherans in the Nakivale Refugee Camp in southern Uganda. Conflicts in South Sudan displaced this people group to southern Uganda. “For two years, they had worshiped under a thorny acacia tree within the camp. When they learned they could have a church roof if they made bricks, they quickly got to work, despite the approaching rainy season. The Lutheran Church of Uganda has lovingly taken in their Lutheran neighbors from South Sudan – an Ugandan pastor and vicar (only ones in this area) have made 35+ visits over the last couple years-preaching, baptizing, catechizing, donating items, and encouraging this congregation that has chosen the name ‘Alleluia Lutheran Church’ for the church building they completed in May 2017.”
Pastor George Naeem – United States: Biblical Orthodox Lutheran Ministry (BOLM) is now a recognized 501(c) (3) organization. In February, BOLM received approval of LCMS to be an official RSO (Registered Service Organization). This ministry’s mission statement is “Sharing Christ’s love with Arabic speaking people and Americans nationally and globally.” Pastor Naeem, through BOLM, spends countless hours leveraging the technology of the Internet to share Christ and address challenges to Christianity; through his patience and knowledge of both Christianity and the Muslim faith, he is able to guide many people to Christ.” In March 412 Bibles were distributed to new believers and potential converts. The Bibles were donated by a Church somewhere in the world.
Iantha Scheiwe – Hong Kong: Iantha writes, “One Friday morning in January I found myself stepping into lead an English class for a friend whose sons were sick with the flu and who was unable to teach that day. Prior to class starting, there was time to visit with the small group of students, Mandarin-speaking mothers in the community, and know more about them. In the back-and-forth, I had a chance to inform them that Church of All Nations recently began a Mandarin-language Sunday School class for young children. One mother responded with the questions, “can I go”? Having grown up always attending church, it is easy to forget that, for many people, church attendance is not natural, nor something that people will recognize as open to anyone in the community. Often times, we can project an image of being like a ‘club’ or ‘event’. I was reminded of mission partner Hannah Hester’s Newsletter that described her own experience of remembering that even though she and her teammates organize a Christmas event every year, the invitations must also continue to be shared very year. Chinese people, in particular, respond warmly to specific invitations but will disregard announcement of blanket invitations.” Pray for the Chinese people that they know they have a personal invitation every day to know more about Jesus. We look forward to seeing Iantha in May and hear about her ministry.
John and Jenn Wolf – South Africa: John writes, “Project 24 is an initiative started between the LCMS and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya to construct boarding centers for children who have lost one or both parents and would otherwise not receive a loving and safe environment near an ELCK church and school. Children at centers can be sponsored though the LCMS Christ’s Care for Children: Kenya program. The forum offers a chance for all those involve in the project to hear, assess, advise, and rejoice in the progress of the program. It was a pleasure to interact with on-site staff, site managers and site board members who provide for children’s needs. The LCMS program director for P24, Mr. John Kissinger Nyang’au, has used this last year emphasizing vocational training and team building skills for each of the five operational children’s centers. The consistent emphasis on responsibility, ownership, and accountability has resulted in team members helping each other, better use of resources, safer environments for children, and even higher academic achievements. Pride and joy were evident in the eyes of participants recounting the trials and lessons of this last year.
PRAY for all missionaries, that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of the peoples throughout the world to know and hear the love of Jesus and the path to eternal life. Also pray for the health and safety of all missionaries and their families.
MISSIONS/Missionary Support Ministry
All missionaries must raise their own living expenses. The funds are received from churches and individual donors. You or your small group may, at any time, give to a specific missionary by marking their name on “Other” on your Shepherd offering envelope. Consider individually or as a group adopting one of these missionaries. More information on the missionaries can be found on the church website, or contact Maynard Buck, Mission Ministry Leader.