Every other month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with recent news from various mission fields.
On Monday, December 28th, the Lord in His grace and mercy delivered His servant Pastor Charles Edwards from his earthly pilgrimage to his home in heaven. Pastor Edwards unexpectedly suffered a massive stroke and passed away later in the day. He was sixty-four years old and is survived by five children, a brother, two sisters, and the many souls he served with the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Edwards was the only theologically trained pastor of the National Lutheran Church of Myanmar in Yangon. Charles founded and supported this confessional Lutheran church body with the pension he received after taking an early retirement from the Myanmar National Railway. The Lord first introduced the CLC to Pastor Edwards in 2009. After a few missionary visits and much correspondence, the CLC declared fellowship with Pastor Edwards and the NLC-Myanmar in 2014. Pastor Edwards served one congregation in Yangon and several rural and urban preaching stations. He also worked with several orphanages to provide Bible instruction, tutoring, and school supplies for more than 300 children. These are sad and uncertain times for the NLC-Myanmar and for Pastor Edwards’s family. Please pray for Pastor Edwards’s five children: Sam (28), Anna (25), John Mark (21), Hope (19), and Faith (13), along with his brother and sisters, and the many souls that were blessed and nurtured by his faithful preaching and teaching of God’s saving word.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
Construction Finally Begins in Nepal
Upon graduation from Immanuel Lutheran Seminary in 2015, it was Raju Bhitrakoti’s plan to return to Nepal to start a Bible institute to train pastors and teachers to faithfully proclaim the truths of God’s saving Word. These plans were delayed by more than a year because of the earthquake that hit Nepal in April of the same year. After several months of directing recovery efforts, Raju began part-time classes in a temporary facility. Over the past few years, much time has been spent in the search for a suitable building in the Kathmandu valley that could serve as classrooms, worship facility, library, dormitory, and home for Raju and his growing family. With real estate prices in the Kathmandu area just too expensive, it became clear that the Lord had other plans. Eventually a piece of land was purchased in a more rural area of Nepal where land and construction prices are much more affordable. While all of these plans and apparent setbacks were happening, Raju and his family were evicted from the apartment they were renting. The reason for their eviction was that they were singing Christian songs in their home, and this was forbidden by the Hindu landlord. For the past eighteen months, Raju and his family have been living in his parents’ home along with his brother and the orphaned children they care for. After an earthquake and recovery efforts, years of searching, an eviction, and delays because of COVID and the monsoon season, the Lord has blessed the ground-breaking and early stages of construction. If all goes as planned, they hope to move into the residential portion of the building by August. This will be none too soon, as Raju and his wife are expecting their second child in April. Praise and thank the Lord for His blessing and provision in the construction of this multi-purpose building. This building project is being partially funded through a grant from the CLC Mission Development Fund (MDF).
“Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.” (Psalm 28:6–7)
Todd Ohlmann is a full-time visiting missionary for the Church of the Lutheran Confession.