Our brethren in the Church of the Lutheran Confession in India (CLCI) have approximately five hundred congregations and preaching stations, with fifteen thousand members, served by over three hundred ordained pastors. Here is a brief glimpse at the work the Lord is doing through them.
CLC members support the work of our missions through their offerings to the CLC General Budget and through the CLC Mission Development Fund (MDF). This year we hope to assist the CLCI with the purchase of a new vehicle for their work MDF. Other projects funded through the MDF include India VBS, church roofing, purchase of bicycles, motorbikes for pastors and evangelists, Bibles, and more.
Orphanage – The CLCI operates an orphanage which currently cares for 35 children with the help of sponsors through Project KINSHIP. The goal of the orphanage, according to its administrators, is “to share the hope of Jesus with these children by caring for them” and “equipping them with Word and faith in the Lord.”
Seminary – Over the past fifteen years, 146 fully-trained pastors have graduated from the CLCI seminary, and all of them are now providing valuable services in various CLCI congregations. At present there are forty-two students in the seminary. Three pastors assist Pastor Jyothi Benjamin with teaching duties at the seminary. Sponsorships for seminary students through Project KINSHIP provide assistance for the training of these men for the work of the Lord in the bountiful harvest of souls in India.
CLCI VBS – The CLCI holds an annual one-week vacation Bible school. Last year 1,855 children participated in VBS, including 265 children from a non-Christian background. Joythi writes: “We thank all the CLC USA children and members who supported and prayed for this wonderful VBS program. Their sincere prayers and faithful support has been giving great success to the CLCI VBS ministry here in India. We pray that the Lord may use this CLCI VBS ministry to bring many into His kingdom and to call some into full-time Christian service.”
Outreach and Evangelism – The CLCI conducts tract evangelism, distributing hundreds of tracts in schools, colleges, hospitals, railway and bus stations. They also conduct public Gospel meetings in rural slums and tribal villages. Last year they conducted fourteen such meetings, with nearly 8,500 people hearing the Gospel.
Challenges – The CLCI has also faced increased challenges due to rising persecution. Joythi writes of one specific occurrence: “We have been facing many threats and dangers during these meetings and evangelism programs. At one tribal village, two young men rose up with knives, scolded us with loud voices, aggressively opposed, verbally abused and tried very hard to stop our CLCI prayer meeting. One young man damaged our camera. . . . Even though we are facing constant threats of dangerous incidents like this, we praise the Lord for the successful prayer meetings and outreaches and for His work, which is moving forward in several tribal areas during this year. All praise and glory goes to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Nathanael Mayhew is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye, MN and Faith Lutheran Church in New Ulm, MN, and a member of the Board of Missions of the CLC.