In this world of acronyms (letters) we often hear of many of them and many times struggle trying to remember what they really stand for. In our government one that we are more familiar with is the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or the FHA (Federal Housing Authority). We could go on and on.
It seems that in our own CLC (Church of the Lutheran Confession) we also have many that are used. Like the CC (Coordinating Council), the CEF (Church Extension Fund), ILC (Immanuel Lutheran College), the MBM (Ministry by Mail), and the VTM (Video Tape Ministry). Here too, I guess, the list could go on and on.
But in this article I would like to familiarize you with the MDF (Mission Development Fund). Although all of the programs, committees etc. are very much needed, the present need in the MDF is currently very great (as of 3/20/96 we are approximately $7,000 in the red).
Some years back the CLC Convention voted to set up a fund called the MDF for special mission purposes. Many times needs and opportunities come up when funds from the general Mission Budget are not available. The purpose of the fund would then be for these needs to be taken from the MDF.
For the most part the fund has been used primarily for our foreign missions in Nigeria, India, and most recently in Thailand. The use of these funds has been almost endless. They have been used for many, many things: autos for our missionaries in Nigeria, travel and travel expenses for missionaries and their families, repairs and maintenance on the home and classrooms in Nigeria, water wells, electrical wiring, etc. Once again the list could go on and on. Most recently a van for the missionary and the Bible training school in Nigeria was purchased at a cost of $12,000.
Our biggest expenditure by far has been the two-year exploratory which Pastor Bohde and his wife and family have been carrying out in Thailand. In the 1994 Convention it was voted unanimously to do this exploratory. This was done after a visit by Missionary Bohde and President Fleischer. The Mission Board strongly recommended this exploration, but due to the budget constraints had no way of funding this venture. The Convention voted that we fund this project from the MDF.
The two-year estimated cost was to be approximately $50,000. For many unforeseen reasons, the expense and costs have far exceeded the early projections. With four months remaining in this first two-year period, the costs have run nearly $70,000, and we expect the expenses including travel etc. will run approximately an additional $18,000 to Convention time. Any way you look at it, it is a lot of money.
There is also lots of opportunity to spread God’s saving Word to many, many people who have never heard of their Savior. Many have never heard the word JESUS.
Pastor Bohde has nearly completed his initial language study. During his very busy schedule he has been holding weekly church services and Bible classes. I believe at the present time the average attendance has been around 15. A few have been Americans, but mostly Thai people. He is presently exploring three areas, most all in remote areas where he will plan to preach and teach when he returns (the Lord willing) after the Convention in June. It is in these areas where he will be ministering to souls who have never heard the name of Jesus.
I think you can see the quandary that the Mission Board has faced, and continues to struggle with — a lack of funds in the MDF. What can we do?
Begin by praying that God will give us the needed funds to continue. Pray also for our foreign missionaries and their famlies. Both Pastor Bohde in Thailand and Pastor Paul Gurgel in Nigeria. Along with your prayers, open up your pocketbooks and give to the MDF as the Lord has prospered you. It shouldn’t be necessary to go into all the wonderful gifts and blessings that the Lord has bestowed on each of us.
Our gifts to the MDF should not take away from our giving to our local congregations, or our other mission and special fund gifts. The gift of love to the MDF should be our gift to those who have never heard His name.
Pray also for our CLC Convention this coming June. We will certainly have struggles as we try to learn what God will have us in the CLC do as we set our course for the years ahead. Regardless of the letters MDF, CLC, ILC, CEF or the many others, we know and can be assured that God will bless each of them.
— Don Ohlmann CLC Board of Missions