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Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: The Lord’s Plan

We have some unfortunate tidings regarding the timing of our deployment to Sri Lanka. For a long time, we have been planning to leave for the field by the end of November or early December. The single reason for this plan was that Grace is due to give birth to our second child in January. It made sense to us and to our regional team for us to be overseas when the baby arrived. However, because of delays related to the securing of entry visas, we will be staying in the U. S. until after the birth.

The plans we make never take everything into account. What makes sense to us at one level might be irrational at another. Since accepting our vicarage assignment this Spring, we have realized more and more how little we know, how limited is the scope of our understanding. (This will only become more apparent when we’re immersed into a new culture.) But the one who appointed our family through His Church to be missionaries operates on a level above all others. His plans are perfect. He takes everything into account.

We thank God that He planned to restore us and all of creation even before He laid the earth’s foundations, by the Advent of His Son. Moreover, He graciously incorporated all of us into that plan, as short-sighted as we are. He is so far above us; His reason baffles us, but he gives us a part to play. He makes us members of Christ’s Church, and through this Church, brings the good news to the world. Praise the Lord that he has a plan. Thank him for giving each of us a part to play.

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

Funke News: Clothed

In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.Galatians 3:26–27

Early this month we journeyed up to Estes Park, and Julia experienced snow for the first time. She delighted in it, jumping right in immediately. Unfortunately, not having waterproof gear, she soon became wet and cold, crying “It hurts!” as if the snow had somehow betrayed her. The next day we went to a thrift store in Fort Collins and bought snow pants, snow boots and other gear for our kids. The next time they saw snow, they were well-clothed.

Later in the month, Julia put on another new piece of clothing: her baptism dress, as she received the blessing of baptism and was reminded that she is a beloved child of God who is clothed in Christ. We are so thankful this month as we trust God to not only provide for our physical needs, but also to clothe us in joy, strength and salvation and to help us share those gifts with others.

Upcoming

Here’s a look at what we have coming up. We have two more Sunday presentations, then we will spend two weeks with Linda’s side of the family in Dallas and two weeks with Eric’s side of the family in St. Louis. We will fly back to Tanzania January 16–18. We hope to see many of you in the coming weeks.

Fort Collins Visit

At the beginning of this month, Eric’s dad joined us out in Colorado to visit Eric’s grandparents and his aunt and uncle. During that time we also enjoyed the day in Estes Park and a walk around Sprague Lake, caught up with dear friends in the area, took a picture of our kids in Grandma and Grandpa’s tree (a family tradition) and worshiped and presented at Saint John’s Lutheran Church.

Indiana and Illinois

After flying back to St. Louis, we spent a few days regrouping and recovering from food poisoning (Eric), and then drove out to Valparaiso, Indiana. We stayed with Linda’s long time friend Margaret Felde and enjoyed a few days of showing our kids our alma mater, Valparaiso University, and catching up with deaconess sisters, mentors and friends in the area.

On November 10 we drove to Chicago. Over the next few days, we enjoyed catching up with Linda’s college roommate, visiting with the Byerly family, who hosted us for two nights, visiting with some of Linda’s deaconess sisters and worshipping and presenting at Luther Memorial in Chicago. Before we left, we were able to pick up some free robotics equipment for our school in Tanzania from First Lego League, run by Rev. Tim and Susan Eckert.

Baptism in St. Louis

Back in St. Louis, we finally had our FBI biometric fingerprints taken, so we are another step closer to getting U.S. citizenship for our kids! We also had some fun with sledding as we made the most of a St. Louis snow day, saw our niece’s choir sing in a tree lighting at a local community center, welcomed Linda’s side of the family to St. Louis and showed them around the St. Louis Arch and enjoyed a big family dinner the night before Julia’s baptism.

On November 18, surrounded by family and friends at Chapel of the Cross in St. Louis, we shared about our work in Tanzania and celebrated the baptism of our daughter Julia. Linda’s sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Cory Perkins, will serve as Julia’s godparents. God is doing amazing things in the life of this little girl, and we already see the light of Christ shining brightly in her.

Thanksgiving and Other Activities

We celebrated Thanksgiving with all of our Funke family. Even though Linda was sick with a fever, the time together was precious. That week we also had Funke family pictures taken and celebrated Eric’s brother’s birthday. On November 25 we had the joy of worshiping and sharing at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Illinois, and reconnecting with friends there. After so many full weeks, this week we have been trying to slow down a bit and care for our bodies before traveling again in December.

Meanwhile, Back in Tanzania …

The fourth class of women graduated from the “Right to Live With Albinism” program. Our friend Esther Mangesho was consecrated as a deaconess. Austin Reed’s mom and brother came out to visit, and the preschool/daycare center continues to grow. They have now added playground equipment, napping beds, cubbies and tables. Lastly, students at our school have started returning home as they finish their exams. We pray that the Christmas break will be refreshing for all.

In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric is teaching math and science at a secondary school while Linda works for the Department of Planning and Development. They work in the East of Lake Victoria Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. Follow their mission work at www.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Sent Out to Serve

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.Titus 1:9

If you happen to be in Eastern Uganda and drive by the Lutheran Theological College Uganda in December, you will notice a difference. Final exams are finished, students have traveled home to their various regions and the instructors who are there on a weekly basis are now in their own regions focused on the local ministry. It is now quiet at the seminary.

Yet, this is wonderful news! This means that men are now sent out. The second-year students are three semesters into their seminary training and the first-year students have successfully completed their first semester. We praise God for this!

During the closing worship service, Bishop Charles Bameka preached on Titus 1, and focused on verse nine. He encouraged the men that as they go home, reconnect with family, celebrate Christmas and, most importantly, participate in the ministry efforts in their regions, they hold firm to the trustworthy message they have been taught.

These are encouraging words to the seminary students. They know the work before them is challenging, yet they are empowered and strengthened by what they have learned at the seminary. They also know the Holy Spirit goes before them as they evangelize and teach. The men also know they are not alone in their efforts and are encouraged by the pastors and deans that guide and lead them.

We are thankful for these men, that they continue to answer the call as they are sent out to serve. We are grateful they get to put knowledge into practice during the Christmas break, and can also get rejuvenated for the upcoming semester after the new year. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to grow, learn and serve in the Lutheran Church of Uganda.

Home Service

Home service is the opportunity for missionaries to reconnect with sending congregations and to share about the ministry in Uganda with other congregations and groups. We are thankful for this opportunity to visit and reconnect with those who have stepped out in faith to support the Lord’s work in Uganda through our hands. We’re grateful to be your missionaries!

While on home service from December through February, we will share about the different aspects of the Lord’s work in Uganda, including our work at the seminary, a snapshot of daily ministry in the Lutheran Church of Uganda, and the people we get to walk alongside in life and ministry. In East Africa, greetings are very important. So we have many greetings to share with those that daily pray for us and continue to send us out. We are privileged to carry a message of encouragement and gratitude as we update on what the ongoing support from people means to us.

Mark and Megan Mantey serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as career missionaries in Uganda. Mark serves as the project manager for the seminary, and Megan is the seminary’s instructor of Christian education and counseling. You can follow their work at www.facebook.com/MissionMindedManteys.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: News from the Field

Rev. Dr. Wilfred Karsten, pastor of Holy Cross, Moline, Illinois, visited the Lutherans in Sri Lanka in late October. His work included a three-day workshop on hymnody and Christology of the early church.

Dr. Karsten has been travelling to Sri Lanka for the last twenty years, providing Lutherans there with continuing education in the areas of church music and theology. He has learned the Tamil alphabet, which enables him to help set sacred texts to music. We are encouraged and excited to know that we will be his partner in church music education in Sri Lanka.

The last twenty years have been filled with hardships and joys, turmoil and change for the Lutherans in Sri Lanka. Dr. Karsten has encouraged the CELC during some tough years. He shared that, just like Christians anywhere, these saints see good times and bad. Nevertheless, God blesses all of us with his word of promise. He is in control. Every power—of government, of nature, of sin—all are subject to His will. Thy will be done, Lord.

Dear friends, we are waiting for Sri Lanka to approve our visas. Once that happens, we will make our travel arrangements. We are just a few steps away!

We have enjoyed staying with family in Colorado this fall. We are soaking in the snow-covered mountains, warm-colored leaves and crisp air. Larson is nineteen months old and likes puzzles, spending time with cousins, reading books and, occasionally, yard work. He had the opportunity to meet his Uncle Panpan, who visited in October before heading home to China.

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

Funke News: Imagining

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.Ephesians 1:16-19a

This month, as we traveled around the US, our kids experienced so many opportunities to use their imaginations at children’s museums, at playgrounds and with costumes. We are regularly inspired by their imaginations and their ability to dream. We also have had the joy of not only telling people what God has been doing in Tanzania, but also imagining with them what the future of these ministries could look like with the right resources. Thank you to all who have welcomed us so warmly, and we look forward to reconnecting with more of you in the months ahead.

Houston, Texas

While we began this month in Dallas catching up with family and friends, on October 5 we drove down to my Aunt Janice’s house in the Houston area. On October 6 we had the joy of meeting the parents of fellow GLO missionaries Amber and Austin Reed and sharing with them in person all that God is doing through their daughter and son. On October 7 we worshiped and shared at St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress. The rest of the week we enjoyed time with family and friends, played at the Woodlands Children’s Museum and explored new playgrounds. Linda’s aunt and mother also treated us to a movie date night. On October 13 we checked into a hotel that Zion Lutheran graciously offered to us next to the church. On October 14 we enjoyed sharing at Zion Lutheran Church in Pasadena, and that afternoon we had the honor of speaking at their LWML Fall Rally. We thank God for this week filled with encouragement.

Dallas, Texas, and Spokane, Washington

On October 15 we returned to Dallas. Over the next two rainy weeks we explored many indoor play places and caught up with friends. We were thankful to meet with a preschool teacher at Messiah Lambs who gave us new ideas for homeschooling our kids. We also took the opportunity to have family pictures taken with Linda’s family. On October 18 we enjoyed worshiping with and sharing at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Plano. That evening we worshiped and shared at Umoja Church, a wonderful Swahili-speaking congregation. On October 23 Eric’s parents flew in for Michael’s birthday weekend. We loved showing them around the Dallas Arboretum. Linda’s sister was also able to get free tickets to the Dallas Zoo’s “Halloweekend.” Our kids, dressed as a fairy princess and astronaut, loved seeing all the animals at the zoo. On October 28 we reconnected with many friends as we shared at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Worth, and then returned home for Michael’s fifth birthday party. The next day we used some of our frequent flyer miles to fly to Spokane, Washington, to visit Linda’s grandparents, aunts and uncles. Each memory made with family is so precious to us.

US Citizenship Update

This month we finally received Linda’s Texas background check and our US homestudy. Therefore on October 26 we were able to send the I-600A, the first round of paperwork towards our kids’ US citizenship, to USCIS. Please pray that it will be processed quickly and that we can have the FBI fingerprints done while we on furlough. We have received $9,500 of the $18,000 needed to complete this process. If you would like to help us keep this process moving forward, you can make a secure online donation at globallutheranoutreach.com/blog/funkekidscitizenshipproject/. Please make sure to write your donation next to “Funke Kids Citizenship Project” so it goes to the right place. Or you can write a check to “Global Lutheran Outreach” and put “Funke Kids Citizenship Project” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Global Lutheran Outreach at 6709 Ficus Drive, Miramar, FL 33023.

Meanwhile, Back in Tanzania...

Our school just held a graduation ceremony, and our students are all preparing for their national exams. Please pray for these students as they take their exams in the coming month.

The three deaconesses that we sent to the Community Health Evangelism internship in Kenya have returned and are putting their experiences to work in the local community. In fact, another church in Mwanza has requested that they come and offer a CHE training there!

We are so thankful for our Tanzanian colleagues who continue to serve, and we look forward to being reunited with them in January.

In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric is teaching math and science at a secondary school while Linda works for the Department of Planning and Development. They work in the East of Lake Victoria Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. Follow their mission work at www.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: Missions Through Music

A visit we made early in September has profoundly impacted our vision of the upcoming missionary service in Sri Lanka.

Saint Paul's Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is a special congregation. For the last ten years, God has blessed their efforts as they developed a music conservatory, which grew from just a few students to over a hundred with twelve faculty. God is using the community’s need for music education as an opportunity for young people and their families to enter His house, hear the good news about Jesus and come to saving faith and the waters of Holy Baptism.

Seeing the conservatory and speaking with Pastor Sherrill and Pastor Frank, we were encouraged and renewed in our minds concerning the importance of our coming work in Sri Lanka. It’s never just about the music. The music serves the gospel.

The Holy Spirit uses music to send God’s word into human hearts where, by His grace, it takes root and flourishes. We look forward to sharing in these gifts with the saints in Sri Lanka soon!

Preparing for Deployment

We have the green light! This means God has provided the funds needed for us to deploy to the field. We’ll be in Colorado from now until we deploy, God willing, in November. Please pray that God would give speed to the visa process and bring us to Sri Lanka at the proper time.

We’re thankful for some time back home in Colorado. The other night we got to see Larson’s newest cousin, Josie, along with all of his other cousins, too! We will be seeing two of those cousins again in October when we visit Faith Lutheran in Carbondale, Colorado, to give a presentation. Their father, Joshua, is the new pastor at Faith.

In the last month, we’ve visited many of our wonderful Lutheran schools in Missouri and Kansas. The kids are smart and quick, but most importantly, they’re full of the joy of the gospel and they know where their hope lies. Thanks be to God for teachers and parents who raise up these children in the faith!

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

Funke News: Wonders

Those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.Psalm 65:8

This month we have spent time in Mwadui, Mwanza, Nairobi, Paris, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Dallas. It has been a remarkable journey, and we have only just begun our four months of travel. In each place we have seen the wonders of God—in worship, in the kindness of strangers, in encouragement and help of friends and family, in God’s creation, in the joy of our children and in good news to share.

Before we share all the details of this past month, remember that we are visiting Saint John’s on November 4. If you would like to come hear us talk about all that God is doing in our lives and in our corner of Tanzania, we will be presenting after the service, during the Bible study hour at 10:30 AM. We would love to see you there!!

Our last week in Tanzania before the start of furlough was an absolute whirlwind. On Monday (September 3) Julia and Linda were treated for schistosomiasis—a parasitic infection that they likely got from boating on Lake Victoria many months prior. On Tuesday night, Linda taught a last “Lessons in the Movies” class, teaching positive messages from the Chronicles of Narnia movies. On Wednesday, we hosted Jumuiya (Swahili Bible study) at our house. On Thursday, we celebrated the birthday of fellow GLO missionary, Austin Reed. During the whole week, Eric helped input grades and prepare reports for school, and then on Friday the school was closed for a two-week break. On Saturday, we packed while Dinnah or Amber and Austin played with our children. On Sunday, the school driver drove us to Mwanza. After staying with our friends the Pecks, on September 10 we began the long journey from Tanzania to Minnesota.

Our first leg from Mwanza to Nairobi went well, but the nine-hour layover in Nairobi felt exceptionally long, especially since our children did not sleep at all before our midnight flight. Thankfully our kids slept almost the entire way from Nairobi to Paris, and were very content to play with stickers, eat snacks, nap and watch videos from Paris to Minnesota. Somehow, in spite of being jet-lagged, we made it through the one-hour wait in the immigration line, transferred all our bags to our rental van, and drove to the home of Eric’s Uncle Don.

We stayed in Minneapolis for five days, which allowed us to do some jet-lag recovery, visit Eric’s aunt and two uncles in the area, catch up with friends from college and celebrate the birthday of Eric’s sister, Andrea, with her. Eric’s Uncle Don treated us to the Sea Life Aquarium, we picked apples and raspberries with Andrea at the Afton Apple Orchard and Eric’s Uncle Rob and Aunt Lois paid for us to visit the Crayola Experience. We treasured our time there.

We flew from Minneapolis to St. Louis on Saturday, September 15. Over the next ten days, we managed to squeeze in eleven medical appointments and finished our presentation. We had the joy of visiting Salem Lutheran Church in Blackjack on September 23. We also enjoyed precious time with Eric’s parents, brother, sister-in-law and our nieces and nephew, celebrated Linda’s birthday by taking our kids to a Cardinals game and visited Forest Park, the Science Center and the zoo. The time really flew by.

On Thursday, September 27, we drove the twelve hours to Dallas, where we were reunited with Linda’s parents, sister and brother-in-law. We took in all the sights at the State Fair of Texas on the 29th and then finished out the month by presenting at Linda’s home church, Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano. It has been really wonderful to reconnect with beloved friends and family.

Meanwhile, back in Tanzania, students are back from the break and preparing for national exams. Eric’s assistant, Sundi, is teaching all of Eric’s computer classes and just updated the e-learning program with new materials. Pre-Form 1 students have arrived to begin their three month course. Amber continues to spearhead the diocese’ day-care program, which is now up to ten children, while Austin helps the diocese design a youth center. The three deaconesses that we sent to the Community Health Evangelism six-week internship in Kenya are finishing up their classes and will soon return to Tanzania to share all that they have learned. We are so thankful for our colleagues in Tanzania and for all the wonders God is working through them.

In September of 2012, Eric Funke, grandson of Bill and Lola Funke, and his wife, Linda, followed God’s call to Tanzania. Eric is teaching math and science at a secondary school while Linda works for the Department of Planning and Development. They work in the East of Lake Victoria Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. Follow their mission work at www.afunketimeintanzania.blogspot.com, where you can also find photos and videos and make donations.

Mission-Minded Manteys: Daily Life of a Seminarian

The men studying at seminary come from all the regions where the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) is present, including refugees from South Sudan and Ethiopia. Although their personal stories and backgrounds vary, at seminary they form a close brotherhood as they worship, study and serve together.

The daily routine at the Lutheran Theological College Uganda (LTCU) allows the men to both learn more about God’s Word and practice their newfound knowledge. Each morning students start the day doing devotions with their roommate before other daily occurrences such as chores and breakfast.

Mondays through Fridays are spent in lectures from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Similar to Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod seminaries in the United States, LTCU classes center around Scripture, Lutheran doctrine and practicalities towards preaching, teaching and other duties that will help them be effective in sharing the Gospel in their home regions.

Most of the daily instructors are local LCU pastors who travel from their home regions for a few days a week to teach a class or two. The faculty members who are local, including us, Rev. Dr. Enoch Macben (Principal) and Rev. Peter Maganda (Dean of Students), have flexibility in their schedule for their various responsibilities. This also allows us opportunities to interact with students.

Each day there are Matins and Vespers, with a Confession and Absolution service on Wednesdays. Currently, the Year Two seminary students serve as the worship leaders for Matins and Vespers and an LCU pastor preaches. Some of the Year Two students also go to local congregations on the weekends to serve as worship leaders in the community for Lusoga and English speaking services.

We’re midway through the semester at the seminary. Mid-September brought extra teaching and tutoring opportunities and mid-term exams. Students balance wanting to do well on exams and being eager to go to their home regions for a break. While home, students get much needed family time and check in with the congregations that sent them to seminary and their regional dean. Many also do evangelism and worship leading during this time.

While the students are away, our pace in Jinja changes. It allows us to work on various mission projects, grade midterm exams and papers, prepare for the remaining semester and participate in the additional Lusoga language classes that are challenging to get to during the regular semester schedule.

Meanwhile, the Year Three students serving on vicarage are continuing to faithfully learn and serve. During the mid-semester break, various LCU pastors serving as LTCU faculty supervisors visited the vicars to observe and support them in their ministry. The faculty supervisors are part of the multilayer support system who represent the academic side of the vicarage process and visit the interning students once a semester. The vicars also have vicarage supervisors who are nearby LCU pastors who are available to meet with the students more often.

The LTCU faculty supervisors were able to meet with the students, encourage them in their learning process and answer questions that often come up in ministry. We’re thankful the vicars have a wonderful support system as they put theory from the seminary into practice while serving in their communities.

Mark and Megan Mantey serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as career missionaries in Uganda. Mark serves as the project manager for the seminary, and Megan is the seminary’s instructor of Christian education and counseling. You can follow their work at www.facebook.com/MissionMindedManteys.

Serving the Lord in Sri Lanka: God’s Grace through His People

One of the joys that we have experienced this month has been spending time with dear people who have been missionaries or have lives in other countries—people who we, all of a sudden, have something in common with.

These saints in Christ, who have faithfully served Him and believers in other countries, have become tremendous supporters in their advice and encouragement. By the grace of God, they willingly told their stories, relating example after example of the unwavering love and steadfast faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.

Rev. Larry Meinzen is one such individual. He grew up in India as the child of a missionary and then returned there to teach for fourteen years. He grew up speaking Tamil, a language we will become familiar with in Sri Lanka. He impressed on us the importance of practicing faith in the family, especially in the midst of a new and different culture. He said that God would give us opportunities through the Holy Spirit to practice the fruits of the Spirit, to work at love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control in the place we live and with those around us.

We thank God for the grace and love that he has shown us in placing fellow missionaries and mission-minded people in our lives as we prepare to follow Christi in Sri Lanka.

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at www.lcms.org/vanderhyde.

The Wolf Pack in Kenya: Gathering Resources

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:20–21

Recently a church leader from outside Kenya stopped by our field office. He was enroute to help his student get settled at the Matongo seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya. Upon graduation, this student will increase to seven the number of pastors in this young church body. That will be seven pastors serving 91 congregations—and growing! At present, however, resources are not sufficient for this student to complete even his first year of instruction.

Part of my work in walking alongside African churches involves seeking resources for efforts they wouldn’t be able to do themselves. In the case of the growing need to train men to become pastors, I’ve had a chance to write grant requests to ask for help from LCMS groups to support our mission work in Africa. After many hours of coordinating with our other missionaries for details, we learned that some of our requests were granted.

However, we still have many projects that require support for this year. As a way to share about our projects in Africa, over the last two years we have produced a catalog of the many ways that churches in Africa have asked for our help. The formation of our new project catalog has been a team effort by our African missionaries, as folks offered photographs, reviewed texts and provided updates on projects.

This year, we have many new projects, including opportunities to grow shepherd pastors, provide mercy in villages, strengthen relationships in new areas, help build new seminaries and help vulnerable children. Through online efforts—and when missionaries are stateside—we hope to share with churches and individuals how they can be part of the mission projects in Africa. But even with these efforts, God is able to do much more. Learn more at LCMSinAfrica.wordpress.com or missioncentral.us/missions/africa-projects/.

May the Lord provide far more abundantly than we ever imagine!

John Wolf is the Africa Region Project Manager for the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He and his family, with the support of LCMS churches like Saint John’s, are serving in Kenya. Please keep them in your prayers! We encourage you to follow their family blog, www.hereiamsendmesendme.blogspot.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mailing list and make donations.

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