Missionary from the Mid-South District of the LCMS

Kudos and God’s blessings to Katelyn Hiett from one of our sister congregations in the Mid-South District, Nashville North-South Circuit.  Katelyn is in the deaconess program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, and will be embarking on a mission to serve an orphanage in Ntshogweni, South Africa.  Katelyn works with Hands of Mercy, a recognized service organization of the LCMS, in Yambio, South Sudan, to encourage people with disabilities and “train them in marketable skills to provide for their livelihood.”  Katelyn has started a blog to chronicle her mission that begins in August.  We’ll be following Katelyn on this blog as well.  An excerpt from her first blog post introducing her new mission is below.  You can also find out more about Mid-South Missions here.

“Not by Might” says the Lord

It is quiet and dark outside and the early morning dew has yet to set in. The rest of America is still sleeping, but I am wide awake. I suppose that is what 36 plus hours in transit from the other side of the world will do to a body. I have returned, now for the third time from Yambio, South Sudan where I work as a missionary deaconess for Hands of Mercy. For those of you who maybe are not so familiar with Hands of Mercy, it is an outreach of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan to people with disabilities. My involvement began when I was sent to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN to begin my deaconess training. There I met Deaconess Pat Nuffer, founder of Hands of Mercy. Ever since it began in 2005, she has been going back and forth to Yambio to continue the church’s outreach to people with disabilities and to further strengthen Hands of Mercy as it moves toward self sustainability. It has been that goal which HOM has striven toward since its inception. As one might suspect, achieving it in a cultural context where war, disease, and poverty dominate is a bit of a challenge to say the least. It has taken quite a while and has been an uphill climb for Hands of Mercy to be in such good position to actually make this long time goal a reality.

Self sustainability is a buzz word among NGOs and non-profits working in the third world, and most especially in Africa. If anything is true, the way to self sustainability takes an almost inhuman measure of patience and perseverance. A measure I certainly have not attained to, but am learning well under the direction of Pat. This recent trip to Yambio brought to the fore the message God gave to Zerubbabel through the prophet Zechariah: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts (4:6).”

Read the entire post here:  four degrees north: “Not by Might” says the Lord.

Lutheran Missions in Africa

Here is an update from Reverend Fisk’s blog on the work of Rev. James May in Africa under the auspices of Lutherans in Africa.  African missions need our support as Christians on that continent suffer terrible persecutions including mass killings and genocide simply for being Christians.  Religious chaos runs rampant, and many parts of the country are under siege from proponents of the prosperity Gospel and Left Behind theology.  There are seminaries training pastors in Africa in the Sudan, Togo, and Sierra Leone.  All need our support.  There are also precious few Lutheran resources available to the people, including Bibles and hymnals.  Lutherans in Africa notes the following particular needs for these areas of Africa:

East Africa
ESV English catechisms with questions and answers
There are still many languages into which we have yet to translate the catechism but they do understand a good deal of English (at least among the educated).  LHF does not have permission to print the catechism into English

The Lutheran Study Bible
Few Lutheran pastors in Africa have even one biblical commentary.  It would be a great blessing for then to get a study bible with notes covering all of scripture.  How can they study and prepare good sermons without any resources for study?

Theological books for the mission library and research center.  Because books are so expensive to buy and ship over, most Lutheran pastors have no access to commentaries, dogmatic books, historical books, etc.  If you have new or used books that you could donate or if you would like to support shipping some books over, that would be very helpful.  We would like to offer a place to research and study in addition to our seminars.

West Africa (French speaking)
The new French hymnal published by Concordia
Very few of the Lutheran churches in French speaking West Africa have ever seen a Lutheran hymnal.  As a result most now only know praise songs and are unaware of rich Lutheran hymnody.  Now that a new hymnal has been produced in French we have been distributing these so Lutherans can see the difference between Lutheran hymns and praise songs.  The interest is very large after the recent conference held in Togo.

Togo Seminary
Clergy shirts
There are currently 22 students at the seminary in Togo.  It is not possible to get the clergy shirts in Togo and they would make great graduation gifts.  There will be a graduation class in June 18, 2011.  All sizes are needs.  The seminary students are all different heights.  The average would be around 5’8”.  The average neck size would be 16”.  Nevertheless all sizes are needed.  Please consider donating used or new clergy shirts.

Liturgical Stoles
If there is ladies’ group that could make stoles for them, that would be great. Red on one side green on the other.  They are expensive to buy but can be made for a much more reasonable price.

The Lutheran Heritage Foundation is sponsoring a hymnal for families project in Kenya.  They can produce a hymnal in Kenya for a cost of only $5 ($10 to publish it in the Kisii language)! The cost for producing Luther’s Small Catechism is the same.  A list of the cost for publishing some Lutheran resources in other parts of Africa can be found here:  LHF Missions, Adopt a Project.

Consider supporting these mission projects.  Information on each and where to send donations can be found by clicking on each link.