The Board of Missions reported to this past summer’s convention that “the need for additional workers in foreign fields continues to grow.” After a pause due to COVID-related travel restrictions in countries across the globe, the Board has resumed calling for a third foreign missionary.
With the many contacts we’ve received and the opportunities we have to assist with training men for the work of ministry overseas, the question is, “Where should we send another missionary?” After prayerful consideration of the needs in our various fields, we have determined to call a man primarily to work with the CLC-Tanzania.
Our relationship with Lutheran churches in Tanzania goes back to April 2000. Missionary David Koenig met with Pastor Angowi of the Lutheran Church in East Africa (LCEA). After instruction and doctrinal discussions, the CLC declared fellowship with the LCEA in June 2002. A seminary opened in May 2003. In 2004, a second Tanzanian church body formed out of the LCEA, the Church of the Lutheran Confession in East Africa (CLCEA). While these church bodies were distinct from each other, an understanding was reached that both bodies would work together with one another and with the CLC. In 2008, the seminary graduated its first class of eight men for the pastoral ministry.
However, in February 2010, fellowship was broken with Pastor Angowi and the LCEA over their working with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. While many pastors and congregations of the LCEA joined the CLCEA, the seminary was closed and ownership of the seminary property was disputed. In 2010, the CLCEA reorganized into the CLC-Tanzania.
It took some time for the CLC-Tanzania to start a new Bible Institute for training pastors. The Wartburg Lutheran Theological Seminary began classes in 2019, and the first class of five students graduated in November 2021. The school currently has ten students. Classes are currently taught by a faculty of three elderly pastors, two living near the seminary, and one traveling from a distance to teach a few days a week. While this schedule of teaching is working, this is not a good long-term solution.
The main work of the Third Foreign Missionary would be to serve in the seminary as an instructor to the students and to train up men of the next generation as seminary instructors. The work would also involve assisting pastors and congregations as they reach out with the Gospel in new areas. The call may also involve annual trips to other East African countries where the CLC is currently working (Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia).
We pray that the Lord of the Church would lead a man to accept this call so that our brothers and sisters in the CLC-Tanzania would be encouraged in their efforts to spread the Gospel, being firmly grounded in the Word of Truth.