The BELC has a two-year pastor training program at the Martin Luther Bible School. The BELC also conducts monthly training meetings in each district. Our missionaries travel to these meetings, as the schedule allows, and conduct training for the pastors. In addition, the BELC has begun a two-day leadership training seminar for the chairman of each district and one pastor that the chairman selects. This seminar takes place every two months at the Martin Luther Bible School and is meant to develop additional leaders in each district who will be able to help the current chairman and take over the leadership of the district when needed.
In December our newest Missionary, Pastor Peter Evensen, arrived in India to continue the work in the fertile fields of that part of the world. Missionary Koenig has also been in India, helping introduce Pastor Evensen to the leaders and walk him through the work and responsibilities he will be carrying out there.
They have visited fourteen of the twenty-two districts in the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church (BELC), as well as Martin Luther Bible School (MLBS). They have also visited the Church of the Lutheran Confessions of India (CLCI), where they taught classes to the seminary students and such pastors who were able to attend, and preached at several churches. There are currently forty-two students at the CLCI seminary. So many pastors attended that they moved from the cramped seminary classroom to the church sanctuary so no one would have to sit out in the hallway.
In addition, they visited fifty-four new BELC pastors in their homes and met their families. These are pastors that have either graduated from MLBS and have started serving a congregation or have joined our fellowship. The vast majority of these pastors preach in villages where is no other church. What an opportunity to shine the light of the Gospel to people who sit in darkness! There is so much work to be done!
Our newest missionary continues to work on learning Telugu, the native language of the majority of the pastors in the BELC and CLCI. Missionary Evensen says, “Being able to communicate with them in their own language, even a little, goes a long way to encourage the bonds we share in the Lord.”
Please remember our missionaries and the pastors of our overseas fields in your prayers. May the Lord sustain them and give them strength to carry on the work of faithfully proclaiming Jesus as the one and only Savior from sin and death. To Him alone be the glory.
Nathanael Mayhew is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and a member of the Board of Missions of the CLC.