Every other month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with recent news from various mission fields.
The CLC’s involvement in Togo began in September of 2001 when Missionary David Koenig began correspondence courses with Kossi Blewu. Kossi was a school teacher and a member of a Baptist church. Missionary Koenig visited with Kossi in March of 2002, and it was clear at that point that Kossi had come to a proper, Biblical understanding of the sacraments. Kossi continued training with Missionary Koenig during Koenig’s annual visits to Togo. Kossi also visited and attended classes at the Bible school in Nigeria while Missionary Koenig was living and teaching there. In December of 2008, Missionary Matthew Ude publicly ordained Kossi.
Following his ordination, Pastor Kossi began establishing preaching stations in and around Lome, Togo, as the Lord provided him opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. He was also working full-time as a teacher and school headmaster. In 2013, Pastor Kossi concluded that he could no longer continue with his secular employment due to the demands of the ministry. He quit his teaching job and began training men to serve as pastors of the preaching stations that were growing under his care. There are currently three congregations and six preaching stations in the Mission Eglise Evangelique Lutherienne au Togo (MELC).
In Feburary/March of 2017, Missionary Todd Ohlmann spent two weeks in Togo working with Pastor Kossi. During his visit, Missionary Ohlmann spent several days teaching and reviewing with four men who had been training in the newly established Mt. Horeb Lutheran Bible Institute. Missionary Ohlmann reports: “During our four-day review of the CLC Statement of Faith and Purpose, it was clear that they had a good understanding of our Biblical positions on some of the doctrines that separate us from others—such as Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Election, End Times, and Fellowship.” Missionary Ohlmann was then able to participate in the graduation service of these four men who are now serving as pastors, and one woman who is serving in women’s and children’s ministry. (You can read about the graduation ceremony in the September 2017 issue of the Spokesman).
Pastor Kossi has now begun training the next class of students. The new class includes six men ranging in age from 30-56. Kossi and Missionary Ohlmann talked at length about curriculum ideas and they are working on developing a more systematic approach to training. This is a positive step forward in the overall training program to prepare men for the pastoral ministry.
Pastor Kossi has also been taking care of thirty-nine children near his congregation in Lome. These are not orphans, but children who have lost their fathers and are living with their mothers with no additional financial assistance from other family members. The MELC is providing help with a weekly nutrition program, clothing, school supplies, and a weekly Bible school. The MELC has also just recently been approved by the Togo government to begin caring for orphans. Through KINSHIP sponsorship, they are now caring for six orphans.
Pastor Kossi has also established a charitable, humanitarian, agricultural organization (NGO) that has been officially recognized by the Togo government. This will allow him to receive aid money from foreign entities to purchase land, equipment, seed and livestock for the purpose of humanitarian and social causes. He may also qualify for some government grants for the project after he has acquired the land and can demonstrate that he has financial backing from donors. This may help the MELC meet some of their long-term financial needs.
Pastor Kossi has many plans and prayers for the church in Togo. He is constantly looking for new ways to do evangelism and has made training men for the pastoral ministry a top priority. Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless Pastor Kossi and the MELC.
Robert Sauers is pastor of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Morris, Minnesota, and a member of the CLC Board of Missions