NOTES FROM THE FIELD
In this series, thoseinvolved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.
The CLC Mission Helper Program was established by a CLC Convention resolution in 1996. The program was designed to offer opportunities for individual members of CLC congregations to volunteer their time and talents in foreign mission fields. The name of the program reflects the idea that volunteers would help our missionaries by doing the work that our missionaries just didn’t have time for.
During the first couple of years of the program, several individuals traveled on their own to serve in a variety of capacities in Asia and Africa, or else they accompanied our missionary or CLC representatives on visitations. A few individuals volunteered and traveled to India to help teach English to orphan children. Others traveled to Africa to help rehab a building for use as a seminary.
It was in 2000 that the idea of offering a pre-arranged group trip that would allow more individuals to participate arose. The first official group Mission Helper trip, in July of 2001, provided the opportunity for five individuals to assist our missionary in India for about four weeks. With the Lord’s blessings on this first trip, the Board of Missions gave approval to begin scheduling group trips to India every other year. This continued until 2010, when the decision was made to begin offering trips every year with a rotating schedule of destinations.
The CLC Mission Helper Program now organizes annual trips to East Africa, Nepal, and India.
Thought has been given to adding trips to Myanmar and Togo in coming years. The Mission Helper Program is now mostly focused on child evangelism efforts. This fits right in to the original purpose of the program. There are many children in foreign fields who have never heard of God’s plan of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Over the past twenty-three years, more than 140 individuals have participated in the CLC Mission Helper Program, traveling either as individuals or as part of a group trip. Since the first trip in 1997, more than twenty trips have been taken and blessed by our Lord. The Gospel has been proclaimed to thousands of children in India, Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
You can find more information at the Mission Helper website: www.MHT.LutheranMissions.org. The website describes the purpose of the program this way:
God’s LOVE for sinners like us is the reason for the CLC Mission Helper Program.
The main purpose of the CLC Mission Helper Program is, quite simply, to provide opportunities for members of the CLC to assist in carrying out our Savior’s Great Commission to teach and preach the Gospel and to be His witnesses throughout the world. Many things are accomplished when we make the effort to travel overseas to assist in the work that our brothers and sisters in Christ are doing in other parts of the world. Consider just a few examples:
1. The truth of God’s saving Word is taught as we share what we have been so blessed to learn.
2. A bond of brotherly love and concern is fostered in the hearts of the Mission Helpers and those we assist as we work together, side by side, to the glory of our Savior.
3. Mission Helpers use their God-given talents to serve our Savior as we serve others by teaching God’s Law and Gospel.
4. Mission Helpers return home to the U.S. with a fresh and first-hand appreciation for the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the privilege of being an ambassador of Jesus Christ.
There’s much more that could be written about the CLC Mission Helper Program, and there are many stories that could be told. Probably the best way to find out what the program is all about is to find those who have participated in the past and ask them about their trips. Or, you can find your way to one of the many Mission Helper Trip blogs that describe the trips in the volunteers’ own words.
What is the CLC Mission Helper Program all about? It’s all about the privilege of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ wherever our Lord provides the opportunity!
Todd Ohlmann is a full-time visiting missionary for the Church of the Lutheran Confession.