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Every other month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with recent news from various mission fields.

In October, Missionary Todd Ohlmann and Board of Missions member Jeff Radichel visited Pastor Juan Olvera of the Confessional Lutheran Church (Iglesia Luterana Confesional, or ILC) in Juarez, Mexico. This was the first face-to-face visit to Mexico since 2018, due to various circumstances.

Todd Ohlmann, Pastor Juan Olvera, Jeff Radichel

The CLC’s relationship with Pastor Olvera began in October 2012. He had left the WELS-sponsored Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Church (Iglesia Evangélica Lutherana Confesional) earlier that year for doctrinal reasons. He established contact with Pastor Michael Roehl to learn more about the CLC’s doctrine and practice.

In January 2013, President Michael Eichstadt, Board of Doctrine Chairman Daniel Fleischer, and Pastor Roehl met with Pastor Olvera in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. The Board of Doctrine recommended fellowship between Pastor Olvera’s church and the CLC. The Coordinating Council approved the recommendation in April of that year. Since then, the CLC has provided a small subsidy to the ILC to help Pastor Olvera train a few pre-seminary students in Juarez and Torreon, and to support the work in the congregation and four preaching stations he serves.

Pastor Olvera has faced many challenges in the past few years. The three seminary students he had been training are no longer in the program for various reasons. He also has to work more than fifty hours per week to support his family, which limits his time for ministry.

Pastor Olvera and family

The Board of Missions is looking for ways to provide better support for Pastor Olvera and the ILC. Notably, the Board has recently approved money to provide chairs, a laptop, and a printer for the congregation in Juarez. Additionally, financial assistance has been approved to aid Pastor Olvera in obtaining a passport and visa, which would potentially enable him to participate in one of our local pastoral conferences in the United States.

Furthermore, the Board is considering sponsoring leadership seminars, the objective of which would be to identify and equip key leaders who can play a role in supporting the ministry. There is also an ongoing discussion of the possibility of raising the regular subsidy amount given to the ILC to enable Pastor Olvera to dedicate more of his time to the ministry.

In an area that is about 85% Roman Catholic, there is a great need for a confessional Lutheran presence. We pray that the Lord would strengthen and encourage our brothers and sisters in Mexico and bless their proclamation of the Gospel.

Robert Sauers is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Winter Haven, Florida, and a member of the CLC Board of Missions