- Written by John Wolf, LCMS Africa Region Project Manager John Wolf, LCMS Africa Region Project Manager
- Created: January 03 2017 January 03 2017
In South Sudan, prior to June 2011, a small group of priests departed the Anglican church in that country to begin a small but growing Lutheran church body. Recently during his visit to Nairobi, John had the chance to meet with Rev. Nathaniel Bol, the leader of the South Sudan Evangelical Lutheran Church (SSELC). The SSELC is one of the many new and existing Lutheran church bodies John will get to work with in Africa.
As we become acquainted with our new surroundings we are also learning about the mission needs and project activities in Africa. In west and central Africa, John will work alongside many missionaries, including Rev. Gary Schulte, the LCMS director of that area. In his words, “there is a need for focus on healing the soul and healing the body” in an area of the world where people are under strains of disease, civil strife, and outside pressures.
Countries have a need to hear the Gospel in their own language, and there are Christian men and women who want to do so. One way is to equip men as pastors as they return to their home countries to teach others about their salvation through Christ. The Center for Theological Studies (CLET) in Togo currently supports seminary students from eight countries and continues to grow. West Africa has also experienced bouts of malaria, ebola, and dingy fever. LCMS medical and mercy missions in partnership with partner Lutheran churches and local medical organizations provide an opportunity to witness and heal both body and soul.
In eastern and southern Africa, John will “walk closely with partner churches and new churches in ways that they request,” per Rev. Shauen Trump, the LCMS director for that area. Each church has its own culture, context and unique circumstances. Some are well-developed churches with over seven million members and growing, like the Lutheran church in Ethiopia. Some are very small and just beginning, like the Lutheran church in South Sudan, and are eager to do things to reach out to their communities in ways they feel will spread the gospel.
The needs in Africa are great and varied, and it is an honor to meet and work alongside current and future pastors and congregations who are reaching and teaching those in unreached areas about Jesus Christ, just like Rev. Bol. Thank you for your continued prayers and support, and may God bless you as we remember the birth of our Savior during this Christmas season.
This was unexpected, but my first project was to design and install a fire escape for our home. The welders were excellent craftsmen (and very gracious when I made mistakes speaking Swahili).
Our other home project is trying to get our shamba (“farm” in Swahili) going. We are growing greens that we need to feed the family, and hopefully soon we will have a few chickens running around for eggs!
Getting to the mission field requires many resources, and we are humbled and thankful for the many prayers and support we have received from amazing folks wanting to help spread the Gospel in Africa. If you are not already, would you prayerfully consider partnering with the work of the LCMS in Africa through on-going support?
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.