August 2016 Missions Newsletter

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Divine Mercy Lutheran Churchbhoaug162Hudson Oaks, Texas, is served by Pastor Kyle Madson. Pastor Madson reports “Lots of initiative being shown from our Loving Life ladies. Also, the guys are really stepping forward with executing some of the tasks necessary to get to the “operational” stages of this long-in-the-works mercy ministry.”

 

Hope Lutheran Church – Cedar Park/Leander, Texas, is served by Brad Kerkow and Pastor Dan Ruiz.

Pastor Kerkow reports, “The main highlights for July were the Ordination and installation of Pastor Daniel Ruiz and the Theatre Bible School performance.”
1. A total of eleven pastors participated in bhoaug164the ordination service held on July 17th. The service was held at 7:00 p.m. to avoid the worst of the afternoon Texas heat – it was about 95° when the service started. Pastor David Thomson preached on 2 Timothy 4:1-8. Circuit Visitor Micah Ernst performed the rite of installation. A time of fellowship was enjoyed after the service along with Root Beer floats and appetizers.
2. Theatre Bible School was held from July 11 to 15 from 9:00a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day. Two plays were rehearsed throughout the week and performed at a big performance for parents and friends on Friday night. 42 children were enrolled in TBS. This was a big improvement over the 17 that attended in 2015 and was likely due to the postcard mailing. We had well over 120 people attend for the Friday night performance. Pastor Ruiz has been doing detailed follow up work with several prospect families.
3. On July 18 and 19 Pastors Kerkow and Ruiz sat down with Missions Counselor Larry Wentzlaff to do a new missionary orientation study and to do strategic planning. It was decided that Pastor Ruiz would focus primarily on Gospel Outreach and H2O youth group, and Pastor Kerkow would focus on preaching (3 Sundays/month), Bible Classes, confirmation, finances, worship, etc. this work division can be reassessed after 6 months if desired.
4. At the end of July, three of our youth along with Pastor Ruiz attended the LYA convention in Dallas.

 

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Special Guests from Chile Attend the ELS Convention

Chelsea Dietsche has conducted the English as Foreign Language program at Linares, Chile for five years.  She generally teaches English to 65 students each week, incorporating lessons from Luther’s Catechism in the classes.  This draws prospective members toward the congregation.  One need: funds for scholarships for students.   bwoaug16

Tim and Ellen Erickson have served in ELS South American missions since 1982, first in Peru and now in Chile.  Tim’s primary duties at present include training three Chilean men for ministry.  Ordinations are planned for 2017.  Tim also advises the “United in the Faith” Lutheran Church in Linares as it works to construct a new worship facility.  The congregation supports the project and will contribute labor to the effort, but contributions from ELS members are much appreciated!  Cross-stitch, the network of ELS Women’s Mission Societies, donated $5,000 toward building the church.

Supporting Orphans in Indiabwoaug162

Grace Lutheran Church (Madison, Wisconsin) conducted a garage sale and bake sale in July. The children from Grace ran a lemonade and cookie stand. They raised $42.00 and decided to send the money to Cross-Stitch for the orphanages in India. Thanks to these children for thinking of children so far away!

 

 

 

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August 2016 President’s Newsletter

Dear Fellow Workers in Christ’s Kingdom:

In this month of August another school year begins for our synod’s flagship of higher education, our beloved Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota. This year happens to mark the 90th anniversary of the key moment (April 15, 1926) when a group of ELS laymen and pastors gathered on the campus of Bethany to consider a very important question: Would it be practical to buy the college for an asking price of $90,000? It would not be until 1927 when the synod officially would take over the college by resolution, yet the dedication and prayerful foresight of those involved in that early decision cannot be overstated. What a blessing we have in being able to continue operating our own college, now offering over 20 majors for our students to pursue various walks of life with a solid Christian foundation. Bethany also serves as a mission arm, where a number of students each year having little religious background are brought into contact for the first time with the saving gospel of our Lord Jesus. Please pray for our college! Pray that God blesses our faithful teachers, administrators, and staff with another year of grace dedicated to promoting the “One Thing Needful.” And pray that many souls are touched with the life-giving Word of our Savior.

Blessings in Christ,

John A. Moldstad

Seoul Lutheran Theological Institute
Seoul Lutheran Theological Institute (SLTI; Seoul, Korea) is in session every Saturday and for week-long intensive courses when guest professors are teaching. Visiting professors include the Rev. John Vogt (WELS), formerly of Biblicum in Sweden and St. Sophia Seminary in Ukraine, as well as representatives of the ELS Board for World Outreach. The institute is directed by the Rev. Dr. Sung Gyu Choi (left), pictured with the three primary SLTI students: Vicar Jae Woong Kim, and two Korean-Chinese men who are preparing to reach out to their own demographic in Korea and greater Asia. To learn more or offer support: www.elsworldoutreach.org.

Home Mission Construction
Progress is being made on the church building for Hope Lutheran in Farmington, Minnesota. They have been choosing colors, ordering seating, etc. The congregation is planning a community open house in the new building on October 1, with their first worship service to be held in the space on October 2. A formal dedication is planned for October 30. You can find the congregation online at www.hope-farmington.com and www.facebook.com/hope.farmington.

Ordinations
Candidate of Theology Daniel Ruiz was ordained and installed as co-pastor at Hope Lutheran, Leander, Texas, on July 17, 2016. The Rev. David Thompson preached the sermon and the Rev. Micah Ernst, Circuit 10 Visitor, performed the rites of ordination and installation. Pastor Brad Kerkow also serves the mission congregation on the northwest side of Austin.
 
Candidate of Theology Andrew Soule was ordained at Rock Dell Lutheran Church on July 17, 2016, and installed as pastor of Rock Dell and Our Savior’s in Belview, Minnesota. The Rev. David Jay Webber preached the sermon, the Rev. Craig Ferkenstad served as liturgist, the Rev. Timothy Zenda served as lector, and the Rev. Timothy Hartwig performed the rites of ordination and installation.

Synod Handbook
The synod Handbook has been updated to reflect action taken at this year’s convention and now is available on the synod’s website. You can find it under Our Work Together – Administration – Handbook of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (els.org/download/administration/Handbook.html).

Part I Colloquy
The Rev. Steven Brockdorf, who serves as pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church in Hillsboro, Oregon, has now successfully completed Part I of his colloquy. Members of the Colloquy Committee are: the Rev. G. Obenberger, the Rev. G. Schmeling, the Rev. E. Ekhoff, the Rev. K. Anderson, the Rev. J. Petersen, R. Younge, A. Quist, and Pres. Moldstad. No date has been set yet for Part II.

Anniversary Offering Rollout in Your Congregation
How are your plans coming for your congregational offering rollout this fall? Would you like more help in planning? Call 507-344-7311! Or, if you lack materials, go to els.org/offering for most of the resources you will need to present this offering to your congregations.
 
If you did not receive your materials either at convention or by mail, please contact Pastor Dan Basel, committee chairman, at 507-344-7311. He will get you your materials ASAP. Also, Pastor Basel and other committee members have some preaching dates open. Don’t hesitate to call if you would like to include them in your offering presentation.
 
Remember, while materials help, no video and no pamphlet can replace sharing your enthusiastic support for this offering.

Upcoming Events: http://els.org/about/calendar/
August 2 – Board of Trustees
August 3 – Centennial Committee
August 3 – Synod Review Committee
August 4-5 – Board for Home Outreach
August 8-9 – Board of Regents
August 14 – Ordination of Jeffrey Hendrix in Ulen, MN
August 15-16 – Doctrine Committee
August 17 – Board for World Outreach
August 26 – ELS-WELS-CLC meeting in Mankato, MN
September 15-16 – Circuit Visitors’ Conference
September 20 – Missions Advancement Project, Inc.
September 26 – Bethany Lutheran College Women’s Auxiliary Day

 

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July 2016 President’s Newsletter

Dear Fellow Workers in Christ’s Kingdom:

Referencing Acts 2, this year’s synod convention essayist drew our attention to a “call for action.” In light of our synod-wide anniversary offering, Pastor Timothy Hartwig posed a thought-provoking question: “When Peter and the apostles proclaimed the truth that Jesus is the Messiah at Pentecost, those who heard were cut to the heart. They were convinced that they had crucified the very one for whom they were waiting. They believed and their faith caused them to ask, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ It is a good question for us to ask. What should we do? We have considered two threads: Home missions and Christian giving. What action is our belief calling us to take?” … May God bless us in our efforts to use our resources to share the message of salvation in Christ with many more souls throughout our land!

Blessings in Christ,

John A. Moldstad

A Brief Review of the 2016 Synod Convention
  • The theme chosen for the week was “Proclaim the Wonders God Has Done: Give Thanks to His Name!”
  • The essay focused on how the special thankoffering will be used by the Board for Home Outreach: to start new mission congregations and to fund the Vicar-in Mission project.
  • A new pictorial directory of synod congregations and pastors is being compiled.
  • A joint statement on “termination of fellowship” was approved as correct and biblical, enabling a further step forward in our formal discussions with members of the Church of the Lutheran Confession.
  • The synod resolved to continue informal meetings with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
  • Concerning a memorial on “closed Communion,” the synod reaffirmed its scriptural stand on this practice and asked the Circuit Visitors to discuss practical issues.
  • The Board of Regents were commended for the improvements in curriculum and methods of education (such as online learning) and asked to continue to prioritize the calling of ELS pastors as full-time religion professors.
  • The Board for World Outreach was encouraged to equip ELS members with a knowledge of Christian apologetics (how to defend the faith).
  • ELS congregations were urged to provide names of military personnel to www.lutheranmilitary.org.
  • The synod budget for congregational contributions was set at $760,000 for the year of 2017, with gifts over $735,000 to be allocated to the Board for Home Outreach.
  • Divine Mercy Lutheran of Hudson Oaks, Texas, and Peace Lutheran of Deshler, Ohio, were received into ELS membership. Pastor Michael Lilienthal, Pastor Christian Eisenbeis, and Dr. Gene Pfeifer (BLC) also were received as permanent members of the synod.
  • The Rev. Craig Ferkenstad was re-elected as the secretary of the synod.
Anniversary Thankoffering
A kick-off presentation was made during the 2016 Synod Convention for the Anniversary Thankoffering. As the committee reminds us, “In thankfulness and in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the 100th anniversary of our synod we seek to Proclaim the Wonders God Has Done!” Every congregation has or will soon receive packets of information for members. You can watch the video and learn more online: http://els.org/offering/
The total contributed by the close of the convention or indicated as an intention to give was $182,865! In addition, we have $37,500 in deferred gifts for the offering in hand. In the future, deferred gifts will only be reported annually. The offering continues until December, 2018.
Leroy Meyer Honored
The convention took time to recognize Mr. Leroy Meyer for 50 years of service on the Board of Trustees. As a token of appreciation, President Moldstad presented Leroy with a stained glass Chi Rho, the logo of the ELS. The art piece was done by Mrs. Campbell, a member of Saved By Grace Lutheran in Gresham, Oregon.
Convention Pages
On Wednesday, June 23, the young people serving as pages at our 99th ELS Convention were announced for the assembly. Pictured from right to left are: Austin Olsen, Greta Bloedel, Mizha Overn, James Van Kampen, Alexis Wharton, Sarah Strom, Sarah Schwartz, and Aaron Younge.
Ordination
Candidate of Theology Joshua Mayer was ordained and installed at Redeeming Grace Lutheran Church in Rogers, Minnesota on June 26, 2016. Dr. Michael Smith preached the sermon and the Rev. Erwin Ekhoff served as liturgist and performed the rite of ordination. May God bless his faithful servant!
Lutheran Youth Association Convention
The LYA Convention dates are set for July 28-31, 2016, and the location is the University of Texas at Dallas. Please check out our ELS webpage for details: <styleclass=” style_MainLink” style=”font-family: Arial; color: #d51e49; text-decoration: none;”>http://els.org/lya16/
July 6-7 – Seminary Pastors’ Institute, Mankato, MN
July 17 – Ordination of Daniel Ruiz in Leander, TX
July 17 – Ordination of Andrew Soule in Belview, MN
July 28-31 – LYA Convention, Dallas, TX
August 2 – Board of Trustees
August 3 – Centennial Committee
August 3 – Synod Review Committee
August 4-5 – Board for Home Outreach
August 8-9 – Board of Regents
August 14 – Ordination of Jeffrey Hendrix in Ulen, MN
August 15-16 – Doctrine Committee
August 17 – Board for World Outreach
August 26 – ELS-WELS-CLC meeting in Mankato, MN

 

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Missions Newsletter June 2016

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VBS in Czech Republic

Pastors Martin Vrsecky and Petr Krakora are preparing for this summer’s Vacation Bible School at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Plzen, Czech Republic.  For the past few years, volunteers from St. John’s Lutheran Church (WELS), Jefferson, WI, have staffed the VBS, which serves students from Martin Luther School (which hosts the session) and children from the congregation’s neighborhood.  It will be hard to top the 2015 VBS – when the Christian-rock band Koine participated – but the enrollment grows annually and no doubt God will bless the program again this year.  Thoughts of Faith has sponsored mission work in the Czech Republic for many years, and in 2009, the ELS Board for World Outreach assumed responsibility for mission-ministry in Czech Republic, Latvia and with the humanitarian ministry Gift of Life in Ukraine.

To learn more or to help sponsor, visit: www.tof.org or www.elsworldoutreach.org.

 

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Big News in Bell Gardens, California!

IMG_6513bChrist the King Lutheran Church, Bell Gardens, California and the Board for Home Outreach (BHO) jointly requested a Candidate of Theology be assigned to Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bell Gardens, California. The request was recently filled by the Seminary Assignment Committee.  They assigned Candidate of Theology, Matthew Behmer. The purpose for the BHO’s involvement is to help the congregation begin work in the Hispanic community of Bell Gardens and the surrounding communities. Upon his ordination and installation, Pastor Behmer will serve Christ the King as pastor, and conduct exploratory mission work in the community with the purpose of bringing together a Hispanic congregation. Candidate Behmer and his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Emma, had the opportunity to visit Bell Gardens and the congregation at Christ the King.

Ordination and installation are scheduled for November 27th. In the meantime, the Behmer family is relocating to Puebla, Mexico to attend the Puebla Language Institute. Both Candidate Behmer and Elizabeth will be involved in a full language immersion program. They will be residing with a local host family to help them learn the customs and traditions of a typical Hispanic family, and attend four to six hours of intense language study five days a week. Upon graduation they will have native fluency in the Spanish language. Once a core group gather from among the Hispanic community around Bell Gardens, Pastor Behmer will be conducting Divine Worship services and Bible Studies in Spanish. IMG_6588

Your prayers and support for this mission are requested. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod is truly blessed to have this opportunity and to have men such as Candidate Behmer to reach out and help reap God’s harvest from Bell Gardens, California and the surrounding communities.

 

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