Missionary Monthly News
Pastor Tim and Beth Heiney: Visiting in July were the new Regional Director for West Africa for the Office of International Missions of the LCMS, the Director for Medical Missions for all of Africa and a professor at the French seminary in Togo. The professor met with leaders about theological education in Guinea and gave a seminar to local leaders. On September 1, they’ll be celebrating the huge festival of Tabaski all over the world. This is the remembrance of Abraham getting ready to sacrifice his son. There is a difference between Christians and other religions on which son it was. “We pray that millions can come to know about the true lesson of that event: not that Abraham was submissive, which of course he was, but that God provided the needed sacrifice by eventually giving His Son in our place! Glory to His Name.”
Greg and Sinuon Holz: In August 2014 a handful of street children were enrolled in school by Crossing Cambodia. This year they care for and enrolled 25 children from preschool through grade 5. “It is a huge testament to God’s provision that we’ve made it this far and get to see how these children are growing up and how He continues to work in their lives and the lives of their families. Sponsoring children to attend school has become the cornerstone of our ministry as it enables us to care for these children and seek out personal opportunities to share the Love of Christ with them daily. It is through these close relationships that we hope that one day they will come to know who Christ really is.” It has become a tradition to take the children on a trip. It originated as a “desperate attempt to bribe kids into staying in school….” This year they went to the beach in Sihanoukville for three days. “For many of the kids it was their first time to see the sea and they gleefully ate seafood and played on the sand. This trip is lots of fun, but it also is part of our ongoing mission to care for and love these children like a family. Because it is through the loving relationships and joyful memories that we have opportunities to share the Gospel message with these children!”
Kristen Lange: As the Wittenberg celebration of the Reformation continues, Kristin was blessed to have her parents, and grandparents visit. It continues to be busy at the International Lutheran Center. They are open six out of seven days of the week. Her parents and grandparents were able to give extra support by running the bookshop and make the center a welcoming place. Pastors have also come to help make it a welcoming place and to “Proclaim God’s Word in a daily chapel service and weekly Divine Service, we were able to welcome 950 guests in the month of July alone! Praise be to God, and may their encounters and the words of Salvation spoken here strengthen and lead them to eternal life in Christ!” While Kristen’s family was in Germany, she was surprised with a proposal by her boyfriend! Congratulations and God’s blessings to them!
Pastor Tim and Heidi Norton: Tim was ordained as a pastor on August 27. Pastor Zillinger and Maynard Buck attended and participated in the ordination. Blessings to Tim, his family and his ministry. In the Navajo ministry what began as a men’s retreat became a youth retreat. Tim and Rick McCafferty, serving in Anchorage, AK, hiked beneath the Navajo people’s sacred Hesperus Peak, just outside Durango, CO. “We expected men to come on this retreat, but just like everything in Native Ministry, you have to be flexible. Instead, we had four boys, aging from 10-17, one man and Rick and I” explained Tim. “It wasn’t what we planned for but God used it to His glory and great connections were made. We had some great conversations with the youth ad their dad! It was a mountain-top experience in every way! Between hiking, devotions, and candid conversations, these seven men experienced God in the beauty of their surroundings and in the inner workings of their hearts.” The boys really connected to the devotions around the campfire each night. We told the stories of David and Daniel, but as teenagers: how they dedicated their lives to God, meditated on God’s Word, and had faithful and reliable mentors to help guide them, but also how they had ‘giants’ to face just like they do – all important lessons for Native teen boys. Their dad, who joined us, really enjoyed it, as well. This trip emboldened him, and he was excited to get back and get more people to church!” This event is on the calendar for next year.
Joe and Viya Stoltenow: Viya and Joe welcomed Raymond “Ray” Joseph Stoltenow on July 20, 2017. We pray for God’s blessings on this young family. After opening their doors at Ray of Hope on July 3, they now have five streets kids who are eager to begin studying. Each day they are picked up at 8:00 am, taken to the center and given a bath and a fresh new outfit. After breakfast, they are prepped for the upcoming school year. They are taught Khmer and math. They are given some free time and then time to study the Bible and to learn about Jesus. Lunch is provided “by our fabulous cook, Mengliv, who also happens to be Viya’s mother.” After lunch one more lesson is given and then they are taken home, to the streets where they live. The school year has now begun for all five children and the teachers have complimented Joe and Viya on their polite behavior and willingness to sit and listen during class. Working with the kids on how to behave while at school was another major concept that we had to teach them from scratch……………So it makes us incredibly proud of them to hear that they are so well behaved during school.”
Doug and Tricia Stoner: Doug has been appointed the interim Europe Regional Leader for Pioneers from November until June 2018. The current regional director and his wife are taking a sabbatical to heal from Lyme’s Disease and to pray and consult with others for any ministry changes. Having worked with the current regional director for many years now and “I am excited they can have this time………The Regional Leader serves the Area Leaders like me in praying for the, providing ways to meet regularly as a team, visiting them, helping with recruiting and being a bridge to the international leadership of Pioneers. He also helps with any conflicts or problems that arise. I am also thankful that Tricia can be a part as she supports the Area ladies and will come with me on my visits. I will organize the weekly Skype calls with our Area Leaders, help lead the Regional Director’s support team, and be on the call with other Regional Leaders with the Pioneers international leadership team. We are looking forward to doing this and wit God’s grace, seeing His Church grow and multiply more on our continent.”
Sharron Wilen: Son & Reins Ranch staff will hold a fundraiser in Aurora in October at CO Community Church. They ask for prayers for “continued wisdom and guidance as we continue to journey through this ministry transition and as we consider God’s direction for the ministry, please pray that we are hearing Him rightly…that our hopes, dreams and vision for The Son and Reins Ranch please and serve Him well.
John and Jenn Wolf: John boarded a plane from Ghana to Burkina Faso. When he walked through the door he overheard African children playing and chattering in French. He had passed from one culture into another. He was greeted by LCMS missionaries to serve as the Area Director of West and Central Africa and the Mercy Coordinator for West Africa upon his arrival in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. “God has a way of using even bad things to His glory, and the origins of Lutheran church I Burkina Faso follows this path. During the civil wars of Liberia in late 1990’s the Lord called many of His children home, but he also called one man to leave the country and seek refuge in Burkina Faso. This Lutheran man stated to share the Gospel with others, and not long had a number of fellow believers. Realizing the need for an ordained pastor to shepherd this growing flock, he sought out a means for instruction. Learning about the newly formed French-speaking seminary in northern Togo, he visited, along with a few other men who would later attend. These men returned to Burkina Faso and have continued to grow the church to this day.” The following day John joined others to visit a local congregation. They followed a missionary on his motorcycle “on potholed pavement, then gravel roads, two-track, goat trails and finally footpaths to reach a large tree in the middle of a field where we were warmly greeted by waiting church members.” The members had just received catechisms in their tribal language from Lutheran Heritage Foundation and were eager for a catechism lesson from the missionary pastors. “…this congregation on its own has sprouted 14 other daughter congregations in the nearby countryside… It was amazing to see God’s handiwork to tell others about Jesus.”
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.