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This month we want to tell you more about the “Thirst to Learn” program of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, recipients of a $100,000 grant from Lutheran Women in Mission (LWM) in the 2019–2021 biennium.

The Holy Spirit gave the disciples power to preach the Gospel in the languages of the people at Pentecost. Today He uses the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF) to translate books that explain Scripture to people around the world. LHF was created in 1992 by Rev. Robert Rahn to provide Christian printed materials to people in the former Soviet Union. These new Christians had a Russian Bible, but the hundreds of pages proved to be overwhelming. LHF took on the challenge of translating and publishing books such as Luther’s Small Catechism and A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories, which helped explain the Bible in all its richness, in the Russian language.

LHF continues to expand its mission of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to people in countries where the Gospel is not well known and provides books that encourage and strengthen the faith of established churches. Books are given free of charge to the churches and individuals who need them.

Africa has 1.2 billion people; over half of those souls are waiting to be introduced to their one true Savior, Jesus Christ. Islam has made huge inroads into the continent, with 500 million people bowing to Allah, while others continue to follow the traditions of their ancestors. However, Christianity has grown from only eight million in 1900 to over 631 million in 2000. With this phenomenal growth in Christianity, there is a great need for books and materials translated into the language of the people for use by children and their families.

Translations of A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories and Luther’s Small Catechism have been completed and distributed in places like Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan. The parents in these countries now have the resources they need to tell their children about Jesus and how God made the world. Missionaries and church leaders have used these books to teach Sunday school classes. Many African church bodies have thriving Lutheran schools, but teachers had no textbooks from which to teach their religion classes. However, once LHF gave them Bible story books in their own languages, the students could learn about their heavenly Father. They also are able to keep the brightly illustrated books, which are often the first books they own, and share them with their families. The same book which teaches about Jesus may also be the one that teaches the student to read.

Lutheran missionaries and church leaders in Africa have witnessed a “thirst to learn” about the Savior and have a need for easy-to-understand Lutheran books, printed in the languages of the people, to teach parents and children the Lutheran faith. With the money from this grant, the Lutheran Heritage Foundation will continue their mission of translating, publishing, distributing and introducing Lutheran materials throughout Africa to enhance the growth of the church.

Lutheran Women in Mission (LWM) is the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since 1942, LWM has focused on affirming each woman’s relationship with Christ, encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries and by supporting global missions. For more information on each month’s mission focus, visit Saint John’s Lutheran Women in Mission (Mission Guild) meets the first Tuesday of each month at 10:30 AM in Room 301. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.