Every other month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with recent news from various mission fields.
Imagine traveling to a foreign country, getting through immigration, and arriving at your hotel at the beginning of what you expect to be an extended stay. Then imagine being picked up by immigration eight hours later, taken back to the airport, told your visa has been canceled, and placed in a locked holding room for eight hours while arrangements are made to send you back home. Most of us probably couldn’t imagine such a scenario, but that’s exactly what happened to Missionary Peter Evensen at the beginning of February.
As he was returning to the US from India last June, Missionary Evensen was heavily questioned by Indian immigration as to what he was doing there. He believed they suspected him of doing mission work, which the pro-Hindu Indian government is trying to stop. As a result, the Board of Missions delayed Missionary Evensen’s return to India and discussed different visa options which would potentially make it easier for him to return. Ultimately, it was determined that applying for a different visa was not likely to work, so the decision was made to try to send him back on his tourist visa. At first, it looked as if he would be able to continue his work in India as he initially made it through immigration. Ultimately, however, he was sent back to the U.S.
The Board of Missions was then faced with the question of where to send Missionary Evensen. At a meeting in February of this year, it was determined the he would be sent to Togo, which is located in West Africa. One of the reasons for this decision is that Missionary Evensen speaks French, the official language of Togo. His main work will be with the Mount Horeb Lutheran Bible Institute working as an administrator and instructor. He will help Pastor Kossi with his translation work and with developing the pastoral training curriculum. He will also preach weekly at various congregations and preaching stations. He will take up correspondence courses with contacts in Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other areas where French is the official language. He will also assist Missionary Ohlmann as he continues to develop the Online Theological Studies website. It is also the hope of the Board of Missions that Missionary Evensen eventually will be able to make annual visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
Missionary Evensen arrived safely in Togo in early May. We pray that the Lord will bless his time in this new field.
Robert Sauers is pastor of Luther Memorial Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and a member of the CLC Board of Missions.