NOTES FROM THE FIELD
In this series, thoseinvolved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.
[The following is a report from Pastor Jyothi Benjamin on the adult instruction course that is widely used in the Church of the Lutheran Confession in India (CLCI). The report is in Pastor Benjamin’s own words, lightly edited for clarity]
Long, long ago, King David asked God one question:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and
the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalms 8:4)
Why is the Lord mindful of human beings rather than animals? What is the difference between the human beings and animals? People have many things in common with animals. They breathe the same air. They eat similar food. They have many of the same needs. But people are different from animals. The Apostle Paul answered this question: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Through the CLCI Bible correspondence course, many of the non-Christians have been learning more about who they are, where they came from, why they are here, where they are going, and, finally, knowing that Jesus is their only Savior. As we read from 2 Timothy 3:15, the Bible says that the Word of God will make a person wise about salvation.
As you know, there has been lot of opposition to the public Gospel proclamation in India. We should not be discouraged about the situation. A good study of God’s Word is the most profitable study in a person’s life. The more we study, the more we want to study. We are thrilled and excited to inform you that many have received Jesus by taking God’s word through our CLCI Bible Correspondence Course. Over 25 years, through the blessings of our Lord, our CLCI Bible Correspondence Course has been moving very well. As you know, now we have an advantage of the fast-increasing literacy rate in India. We are happy to inform you that this correspondence course is another wonderful way of spreading the Word of God to build up our CLCI Church without having any outside pressure from the opponents. Of course, this correspondence course requires intensive study on the part of the learner. Matthew 4:4 says we live spiritually by the Word of God. We don’t have anyone else to go to for life when we turn from God. (John 6:66-68). Correspondence courses will require self-discipline on the student’s part. Printed copies of the correspondence course are used to provide instruction to students via mail. Distance learning allows the student the flexibility of working at his own pace, therefore, the amount of time it takes to complete the course will depend largely on the time and determination of the student.
We have been instructing hundreds of people in the basics of the Christian faith in conjunction with this CLCI Bible Correspondence Course. The reading and writing assignments are designed to help the learner expand his knowledge base in theological studies as well as to help the learner continue on a path of spiritual growth. In this CLCI Bible Correspondence course, we have been using the wonderful lessons in Learn from Me, prepared by honorable beloved brother Rev. Bertram Justus Naumann, CLC, USA. We are grateful to Rev. Bert Naumann, now with the Lord, for his inspiring and wonderful contribution in preparing these valuable lessons.
In conjunction with the CLCI Seminary main course, the seminary also has been offering this free Bible Correspondence course. We have been sending this CLCI correspondence course since 1993 to the inquirers. For this, we place advertisements in newspapers, annual calendars, telephone directories, yellow pages, and so forth. This CLCI Bible Correspondence Course is totally free of cost. Since 1993, during these twenty-five long years, many hundreds of Indian students have taken this CLCI Bible Correspondence Course and completed the course successfully and received certificates. We have been receiving good response from other churches also and are welcoming brothers and sisters from those churches also to join in these free courses. We send the lessons and questions through mail, they go through and answer the papers, we correct the answers to all these lessons, finally give them the certificate of completion and a free gift of Bible bag and a small cash gift. During the year 2017-18, a total of fifteen students have taken this CLCI Bible Correspondence course, and out of these, ten students have graduated and been blessed by receiving their certificates of completion, through the hands of our beloved missionary Rev. Peter Evensen. Now this year, fourteen students have joined so far.
We are happy that many of our Hindu and Muslim friends are also taking this Bible correspondence course from us. We will not give out any information about them to anyone. Everything will be held strictly confidential. No information provided will be made available to anyone else. These people are silently receiving Christ as their Savior. We are praying that through them, someday their entire families could come to Christ. There won’t be any outside pressure for them to take this course. If one person from a family is converted, he could guide the entire family in his own manner. In this way this Bible Correspondence Course is prompting souls to trust Christ. Through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit has been working in them through this “invisible way.”
It is our sincere hope and prayer that through this CLCI Bible Correspondence Course, the CLCI will continue to grow in the future. We are praying our Almighty living God Christ Jesus for His grace to grant us courage and strength to carry on His blessed work. With the continued prayers from all of you through our Lord’s blessings, we the Church of the Lutheran Confession of India hope to achieve greater success in our attempt to bring about all-around improvement to the CLCI Mission work through this correspondence course mission. May the Lord bless this Bible Correspondence study of His Word.
Pastor Jyothi Benjamin is the Chairman of the CLCI. His home is in Nidubrolu, Andhra Pradesh State, India.