our CLC Board of Missions updates us with the latest news from various mission fields.
On Wednesday, March 29th, 2017, twenty-one students graduated from the Martin Luther Bible School (MLBS) in Andhra Pradesh State, India. The Bible School is run by our brethren in the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church (BELC) in India and supported through offerings to the CLC general budget. These new pastors will now serve as overseers of congregations in the BELC. Thank the Lord that He has sent out more laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2).
Missionary Peter Evensen attended the graduation and addressed the students. He wrote, “The MLBS graduation program consisted of a welcome address by Rajamani, pastoral counseling address by Moses, Sampath, and Bhaskar. I gave the convocation address based on Paul’s words to the Ephesian elders and pastors in Acts 20:28-32. I reminded them that their study of God’s Word was just beginning and that they need to ‘pay attention to themselves’ by studying God’s Word first for themselves to be built up so that they can encourage and preach to others. The warning Paul gives of false teachers and teaching also applies to us. This is another reason to study God’s Word: so that we know the truth and can recognize error. I encouraged them with the fact that it is the Holy Spirit who made them overseers and will give them the gifts they need to carry out His work. D. Paul then read a number of encouraging Bible passages and led each graduate in his pledge and ordination, as the chairmen and I laid hands on each new pastor.”
The MLBS offers a two year program with courses that are similar to those taught at our own Immanuel Lutheran Seminary in Eau Claire.
Regarding the courses studied, Missionary Evensen writes: “They go through an introduction to the Bible, study the Gospels, Acts and Paul’s missionary journeys, as well as church history, an overview of the Old Testament, Homiletics, distinguishing between Law and Gospel, Christian Doctrine, Lutheran Confessions, an overview of the Epistles of Paul, the General Epistles and Revelation, the Church Year and Liturgical Service, Luther’s Small Catechism, church administration, conduct and character of pastors, and the doctrinal position of the BELC.”
Classes are held four days a week, Monday through Thursday, and on Saturday the students go with a BELC pastor to make a home visit on a member in one of the BELC congregations. Pastor D. Paul is the main instructor at the Bible School, but several other pastors assist in this work. Pastors Ashirvadham, Bhasker, Rajamani and Sampath each teach several days a month.
On April 1st a new batch of twenty-four students began the two-year program at MLBS in preparation to become pastors with the BELC. Missionary Evensen concludes, “Pray that God will be with these incoming students and help them diligently hear and study His Word.”
Note: Missionary Evensen recently had surgery on his knee to repair the meniscus, which was completely torn. He has been slowly recovering for the past few weeks, but has several more weeks or months before he is fully rehabilitated. He is resuming his regular schedule of traveling and teaching among our fellow believers in the BELC, but appreciates our prayers.
Nathanael Mayhew is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and a member of the Board of Missions of the CLC.