The mission work of the CLC in Europe is different from our work in other countries of the world. We have no indigenous church body with whom we are in fellowship. We have contacts with several individuals who, for various reasons, have left their previous fellowships or are in the process of leaving. In the past few years the CLC has sponsored two free conferences to try to determine whether these are men who are in agreement with us in doctrine, or who may be brought to a correct understanding of Scripture’s teachings. A free conference is a meeting of interested persons who gather to read and discuss papers presented on various topics. Retired missionary Dave Koenig, who has arranged these conferences in the past, conducted personal visits with many of the men this year in lieu of another conference.
Last fall I had the opportunity to attend the second of these free conferences. It was held in Gebenhain, Germany. It was interesting on many respects, one of which was the language barrier. Although there were French and German translators present who did a capable job of keeping the group up to speed with the discussion, I couldn’t shake the feeling of missing out on some of the nuances which are very often present in oral discussions.
Another interesting side of the conference was the opportunity to meet some of the men with whom we have contact there. Two contacts with whom we are in fellowship are David Weiss and Jean-Pierre Blanchard.
David Weiss is a member of Messiah, Eau Claire. He is a German national, approximately 26 years old and is planning to attend ILC this January. His aim is to take some college and seminary courses so that he may return to Germany better equipped to interact with those interested in learning what the CLC has to offer. He also hopes, Lord willing, to begin his own congregation. David was our English-German translator.
Jean-Pierre Blanchard is about 65 years old and is retired from secular work. He does outreach and ministry in the Paris area. He has had some success in reaching out through his website.
Unfortunately, space allows us to mention here some of the other men in Europe only by name. Philipp Volff, a friend of Pastor Blanchard, acted as our English-French translator at the conference. Pastor Steinbrecher, Pastor Mueller, Pastor Voigt, and Pastor Drechsler are among the more than one dozen men scattered over Europe (and one in Russia) with whom the Lord has brought us into contact. These men see the problems in their former churches and have reached out to us for information on what Scripture has to say on a variety of doctrines. We give thanks to the Lord for having given us the opportunity to proclaim His Word. Time will tell whether the Lord will grant visible fruits from this labor.
Joel Krafft serves on the CLC Board of Missions. He is a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Dallas, Texas.