NOTES FROM THE FIELD
In this series, thoseinvolved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.
Following 2 Timothy 2:2, our focus overseas is training indigenous pastors. You help to establish and fund seminaries through your contributions to the Mission Development Fund. Your Kinship sponsorships fund the printing or purchase of materials and make a solid Biblical training affordable for the men who want to become pastors. Your contributions to the CLC General Fund support the work of your missionaries, the native pastors who teach at the seminaries, and help to fund continuing education for pastors around the world.
Over the past several years, the Board of Missions has, with the Board of Education and Publications, been developing a series of courses and a website called Online Theological Studies (OTS) found at onlinetheologicalstudies.org. Almost all the lessons have been written by Professor Emeritus David Lau. Since arriving in Togo in 2019, I have been editing and translating these lessons into French to use in the seminary here and around the world. We also use these lessons as correspondence courses with new contacts who are interested in being affiliated with the CLC.
Another important aspect of our work, especially in the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church (BELC) in India, is continuing education for current pastors. The BELC holds monthly district meetings in each of the twenty-five districts. When I was there, one of the pastors came up and shared how timely my training was. I was teaching on the fact that Jesus has both a human and a divine nature and how the two natures share attributes. The pastor said one of his catechism students had just asked him how we know that Jesus is God. In the study I had given several passages that clearly demonstrate that Jesus is God, which he could immediately use. At another training a pastor came up and excitedly told me that he had used the lessons I had given the previous month on prayer and the Lord’s Prayer as a series of sermons for his congregation, and how much they had appreciated the teaching.
The twenty-five districts and almost one thousand pastors in the BELC are a lot for the seven chairmen to oversee. The BELC has been conducting two-day Leaders’ Meetings three or more times per year. Two leaders from each district come to the BELC headquarters in Andhra Pradesh for additional training, encouragement, and fellowship so they can help oversee their districts. The BELC has been translating lessons from the OTS into Telugu and Tamil to use at these meetings. The goal is for these men to take this training back and teach the pastors in their districts.
I previously reported that we were going to begin seminary classes here in Togo in October 2021. That turned out to be overly optimistic. But now we have a firm roster of ten new seminary students, and classes officially began on March 21. I have just made ten books of the first several courses from the OTS and I am excited to start training these new men!
We used this delay to make further improvements to the facilities at the new center in Togo. We have added solar panels and battery storage so there is electricity, drilled a well, and added a small water tower so that we have running water at the land. We have also poured a concrete floor for the classroom under the roof. These are welcome additions to the classroom pavilion and the teacherage. Pastor Blewu has also started constructing two additional rooms for students who may wish to stay overnight.
Proverbs 9:9 says: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Thank you for your prayers and financial support that are doing just that in Togo, in India, and around the world.
We now have a firm roster of ten new seminary students,
and classes officially began on March 21.