NOTES FROM THE FIELD
In this series, thoseinvolved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.
As we approach Christmas, we remember that it is always the season of giving, especially giving of the Word of God to all. The Lord Himself said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Our small church body seeks to go forward in this. All four of the Gospels end with the idea of the forward movement of the Word of life.
In German, the word vorwärts means “forward.” This is what we in our church body seek to do, to go forward with the Word of Life. Below you have the timeline which indicates increasing efforts. No names mentioned; it is His Work and we are His unworthy servants. To God alone belongs the glory.
• 1960 – When the CLC began, we found ourselves with a mission in Japan. Though in 1974 they withdrew from us, we would be delighted to again work in Japan.
• 1974 – In Nigeria we began our African mission effort, which has expanded throughout the dark continent since then. We bring the Light of Christ.
• 1983 – We began to work in India with what came to be called the Church of the Lutheran Confession of India (CLCI). It began in Andhra Pradesh State and expanded. It is as of 2020 our second-largest mission with around twelve thousand souls served by over five hundred pastors in twelve districts.
• 1984 – We began work in India’s Tamil Nadu State. We continue with an ever-growing fellowship of brethren in the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church (BELC). This is, as of 2020, our largest mission, with over 36,000 souls served by nearly eight hundred pastors.
• 1998 – After the disastrous civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we began work there. After some years, the original leader withdrew from us. This did not deter those still in fellowship from expanding the work even over the border into Zambia.
• 1999 – This year saw us begin work in northern Thailand. This work lasted until 2005. Now the potential exists for a resumption of outreach there.
• 2000 – This was a very eventful year seeing us begin work in Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.
• 2001 – Togo work began and has since expanded, with an outreach to Benin.
• 2007 – Nepal work began this year and has continued to expand from its nucleus.
• 2008 – Myanmar work began in the Yangon area as well as in Chin State.
• 2009 – While there had been earlier outreach attempts from Kenya to Uganda, it was in this year that the effort in those areas became full-fledged.
• 2010 – This year we recognized not only the two efforts from different directions into Zambia, but also outreach into Malawi.
• 2012 – This year saw work in Mexico, which continues in two areas.
• 2015 – Visits began to Liberia, which became a full mission effort. And from Liberia there is now outreach to Guinea.
• 2019 – Groundwork has already been done in Laos and Vietnam, which may give us an opportunity to enter those countries, as well as to re-enter Thailand. Teaching meetings with pastors have steadily expanded in these countries over several years.
• 2020 – This year has seen fellowship established with a pastor and the small Lutheran church body he leads in Bangladesh. Contacts continue with a congregation in Zanzibar as well as email correspondence and online courses with individuals in ten other countries. And the year is not yet concluded!
Only the Lord knows how He will lead us to more forward movement with His precious Word to souls in great need. In prayer remember how we with our overseas brethren are contending against Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism to bring the Light of Life in Christ’s forgiveness gained on the cross. So vorwärts! It is not just a word, but a call to action under the leadership of our Master, the Christ.
David Koenig has served as a foreign missionary in Africa, India, and elsewhere. Though officially retired, he continues to be active in the synod’s mission endeavors.