Friday, June 6, 2008


Greetings from 1183 Big Bend Rd,

It's good to be home. My body clock is not quite convinced that I'm back in the US central time zone yet but none-the-less it sure is good to be back home with Beth and the kids and I am looking forward to seeing everyone at church on Sunday.

Thank to everyone for your prayers and thoughtfulness. Hopefully I will get to see lots of you in the near future.

In Christ,
Pastor O.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Late in Chicago

Greetings from O'Hare airport in Chicago,

After four days of travel from Kathmandu to New Delhi to Chennai to London with no delayed flights, here I sit, just a short one hour flight from St. Louis and my flight is delayed by 2 hours. And so I wait. It will be good to be home. Thank you everyone for your prayers!

In Christ,
Pastor O.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Seven Hours in Chennai


I am back at Pastor Ude's flat here in Chennai. We had uneventful travel from Kathmandu to Chennai, via a 24 hour layover in New Delhi. We arrived here in Chennai around 10:30 pm and finally got to Pastor Ude's flat around 11:30 pm. Tonight I had a chance to talk to Beth and the kids and my nephew back in Nebraska who accidentally got four fingers in a table saw this past week. He had surgery in Omaha and is home recovering now. Please pray that he regains full use of his fingers.

My flight leaves in less than 7 hours so I had better try to get some sleep before I leave for the airport at 5:00 am. I fly to London, then to Chicago, and then finally home on Thursday evening. It will be good to get home!

In Christ,
Pastor O.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A fruitful day in the Word

Greetings again from Kathmandu, Nepal....

We just concluded an 8 hour day of studying the basic doctrines of the Scriptures with eight pastors here in Nepal. It was a fruitful and exciting day as we spent our time bowing before the authority of God's Word. These are truly sincere and dedicated men and it was humbling to sit with them and discuss the importance of God's word and the privilege we have been given as shepherd's in His Kingdom. More information will be coming soon.

Tomorrow we will get up early (3:30 am) to go see the Himalayan Mountains at sunrise. I will get pictures from Pastor Ude's camera and hopefully will be able to post them sometime tomorrow during our layover in New Delhi. It's 5:30 pm here on Sunday evening so that means it is 6:45 am back home. So I am praying that the Lord will bless your worship services in a few hours.

In Christ, Pastor Ohlmann

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Back to Kathmandu

Greetings from Kathmandu again,

It seems like a long time since the last time I posted. This is probably because a lot has happened in the past few days.

Little did we know when we planned this trip to Nepal that we would be here to witness history. On May 28th the newly elected Congressional Assembly voted almost unanimously to declare Nepal a democratic republic. What this means is that the reigning king (who assassinated his father, mother, and brother in bloody fashion in the royal palace back in 1999) has 15 days to vacate the palace and the current 230 year old hindu monarchy has come to an end. The nation of Nepal has been under monarchy rule for more than 450 years. As you can imagine...the people of Nepal are elated and the celebrations went on in the streets all night long all over Nepal. May 28th has been declared a national holiday and will be celebrated like we celebrate Independence Day. Hopefully this declaration also brings an end to the violence that has dominated this nation for the past ten years. Bomb blasts and killing have been common place for the past 10 years. The pastors we have been working with are also hopeful that the new government will keep its promises of freedom of religion. Before 1952 there were no Christian churches in Nepal. Between 1952 and the late 70's there were only underground churches. According to a 2007 survey it is now estimated that there are around 2,700 Christians churches in Nepal. Until 2006 the nation of Nepal was the only nation in the world to have Hinduism as the official and national religion. Now Nepal has no official or national religion. The most recent census reports that the population of Nepal is 30,000,000. Statistics tell us that less than 1% of the population is Christian and with many areas and villages of Nepal still with out Christians witness...the fields are white for harvest. Just as Paul prayed for open doors to preach the Gospel so too do we pray for open doors.

We arrived last Tuesday afternoon and left early Wednesday morning for a three day trip into the hills and mountains that are West of Kathmandu. Pastor JB is originally from this part of Nepal and knows many people there. There are eight other pastors in Nepal that have been working with Pastor JB over the years. You can tell that these men all have a great deal of respect for Pastor JB and his sons. Pastor JB first heard about his Savior when he picked up a small tract that had been thrown into the streets by a soldier to had taken them away from someone who was trying to hand them out. At that time it was illegal to openly evangelize in Nepal. JB was brought to faith through the Word of God and it cost him dearly with his family as he has been ostracized from his father now for many years. This family has endured many hardships such as being arrested and detained as they have tried to proclaim the Gospel. But the Lord has been faithful and given them the strength and courage to carry on.

We had the privilege of meeting and visiting with four pastors who Pastor JB works with. Two of these pastors he baptized years ago when they were brought to faith. While the distance to these places was not far, the amount of time it takes to travel there was very long. We probably averaged about 30-40 KM/hour as we wound our way up and down mountain roads that seem to have been built for one way traffic but somehow they manage two way traffic with all sort of vehicles, including very large lorries (trucks) making their way through. We visited the cities of Hetauda, Bharatpur, and Butwol. We attended and taught at special church services that were arranged since we would be there and we also visited and taught at a couple of house churches. My impression of the four pastors we met is that they are very sincere in serving the Lord and have truly humbled themselves before the Word with a great desire to increase their knowledge and understanding of it. It was a joy to meet and visit with them.

The trip was grueling, long, and sometime frustrating as we sat for long periods of times as traffic was brought to a stand still in the middle of no where for no apparent reason. But the beauty of these mountains is breath taking. Rajan (pastor JB's youngest son) kept telling us that we hadn't even seen mountains yet. He tells us that here in Nepal mountains have snow on them year around and not just at the top. Picture in your mind the pictures you have seen of Mt. Everest. These are what they call mountains. What we refer to as the Rocky Mountains, are just very big hills. Way back in these "hills", straight up it seems, are villages that are only accessible on foot. Pastor JB and his sons have made trips back into these hills to spread the Gospel. While pastor JB says that his work is now encouraging and training pastors due to his age, his son Rajan has a real burden to take the Gospel to these unreached areas of Nepal. (The picture shows the "hills" that Rajan was explaining to me. The real Himalayan Mountains tower above the ridge you can see but with the haze and clouds we were unable to see "real" mountains.)

Here in Nepal worship services are held on Saturdays since this is the one day of the week when businesses are closed. So we attended the worship service where Pastor JB and his sons serve. There were about 85 in attendance. I was given the privilege of preaching for the service. This afternoon Raju and Rajan took us to see some sights around Kathmandu and we did a little gift shopping for my family.

Tomorrow we will meet from 8 to 4 with Pastor JB, his sons Raju and Rajan, and the other eight pastors they are associated with. Pastor Ude and I will lead them through a series of presentations that will outline the faith and doctrine of the CLC along with our history and the mission work of our body. Following this presentation all of these pastors will meet for a few hours to discuss what they have heard and what their next step will be. Pastor JB and his sons have already decided to initiate the beginning of a Lutheran Church body in Nepal and are confident that these other eight pastors are committed to this as well. Pastor JB and his sons have a very sincere desire to build a church body founded upon a strong Scriptural/doctrinal foundation. They have witnessed the problems of other congregations and church bodies in Nepal who have not had thorough theological training and they intend to avoid this pit fall by seeking this training from the CLC and then spreading it through out Nepal. They really have thought this all through and have set God pleasing goals. We await the Lord's direction and leading in this as in all things. What a privilege it is to be in the Lord's service!

Just one more full day in Kathmandu. On Tuesday morning we are planning to get up and leave the hotel by 4:00 am so we can drive to a point an hour or so East of Kathmandu to watch the sunrise over the real Himalayan Mountains and hopefully we will be able to see Mt. Everest if it is clear. Then we will head back to Kathmandu in time to catch our flight back to India at 2:00 pm.

Please pray for these men and their God pleasing goals.

In Christ,
Pastor Ohlmann

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Made it to Nepal

Greetings from Kathmandu,
Just wanted to let everyone know that we made it safely to Nepal. We exchanged US dollars for Nepal Rupees, purchased a gift for Pastor Raju's mother, ate a wonderful supper at the pastor's house, and spent about two hours getting know each other, discussing the schedule for the week, and introducing each other to the various ministries of our two church bodies.

Tomorrow we will leave at 8:00 am for a three day trip into the surrounding mountains where we will visit several village congregations and their pastors. Pastor Raju will not be able to join us since he is finishing up his classes and has final exams on Friday for his BS degree in Health Care Management. The picture shows the family we will be working with. Pastor JB was converted to Christianity from Hinduism against his family's wishes several years ago and has been in the full-time ministry for the past 11 years or so. Both of his sons Raju and Rajan are also active in the ministry. Pastor Raju serves as the chairman of their Christian organization. Their #1 goal at the present (in their own words) is to gain depth of learning in the Theology that is lacking in Nepal so they can in turn impart this knowledge to other pastors and students who want to prepare for the ministry. Included in their long term goals is a Lutheran Bible College. In the picture from left to right...Pastor Raju, Rajan, Rama, Pastor JB.

I'm not sure if I will have internet access for the next couple of days but I will update the blog when we return from visiting the mountain villages. Please keep this opportunity to assist in the spreading the Gospel in your prayers!

I talked to Beth and the kids tonight...they are doing fine.

In Christ,
Pastor Ohlmann

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A day of rest in Chennai

Greetings from Chennai (Pastor Ude's apartment with internet!),

We spent most of Friday with me meeting with Jyothi and Nireeshana Benjamin discussing the work while Pastor Ude worked on computer problems. It was a day well spent.

In the evening we stopped off at a place called the Pizza Corner for supper and then headed out to a CLCI congregation about 45 mintues away. The first congregation we stopped at showed us the current condition of their prayer shed, as they call them. This is where they meet for worship. Their prayer shed had collapsed about two months earlier. This particular prayer shed was constructed by setting four large posts in the ground at the four corners and then they dug a trench between the posts and set several small sticks upright between the large posts. The bottom of the sticks in the trench were then packed with mud to keep them upright. The stick walls were then packed with mud leaving small openings for airflow. The roof was constructed of bamboo rafters that were then layered with either straw. I asked Jyothi what it would cost to rebuild this prayer shed and he estimated about $250.

We then traveled to another village a few Kilometers away where there was another prayer shed of the same type of construction but it seemed to have more support logs set in the walls rather than at just the corners. But you could see that the mud waddle walls were not in good shape and were begining to lean in. These types of buildings require constant upkeep I would imagine. About 70 people packed into the prayer shed. Following the singing accompanied by drums, that is broadcast over loud speakers (which serves as a sort of call to worship for the village), the service began. Pastor Ude and I were both given the opportunity to share the word of God. There is just such a love of the Gospel in these small village congregations. It is hard to put your finger on what it is...but you can just tell that they are hungry for the Word. I preached on the story of the raising of Lazarus and before I began I asked how many had heard the story and almost all of them raised their hands. As we were driving back to Guntur I was asking Jyothi about the pastor because he looked very familiar to me and seemed to remember me. Jyothi said that he had graduated from the seminary a few years back and remembered me from when I had taught there a few years ago. Then Jyothi went on to tell us that this particular congregation was started by this pastor after he finished seminary and that all the members were Hindu converts. When this pastor was sent to this village after seminary there was no Christian church and no Christians in the village. I asked Jyothi to give me a rough estimate of how many CLCI congregations were in villages with no other Christian witness and after thinking for a couple of minutes and running through the many villages in his mind he said probably 60% of the villages with CLCI congregations had no other Christian witness. Praise the Lord for opening the doors of opportunity for our brothers of the CLCI to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ! And thank the Lord for moving the hearts of KINSHIP sponsors who assisted this pastor and many others with their financial resources so that they could attend the CLCI seminary to be properly trained for the Gospel ministry in these heathen villages of India!

Our car was repaired enough to make the trip back to Chennai. The engine needs rebuilt and continues to overheat so our driver Kumar kept the speed at 60 Kilometers per hour (about 37 miles per hour) the whole trip. We also had to stop to let it cool down a couple of times. Which reminds is funny sometimes the expressions they come with here since English is not their native tongue. Our driver speaks good English and that is a real blessing. But when we pulled off the road to let the engine cool down, he said: "we must find shadows to park" instead of saying we need to find some shade. It made me smile.

Anyway, we are safely back in Chennai. Pastor Ude has a bad head and chest cold so we are going to take it easy today and maybe run a few errands. Tomorrow (Monday) we meet with some pastors from the BELC. On Tuesday morning we head to the airport to fly to Nepal to meet with Pastor Raju for a few days.

Thanks for your prayers.

In Christ,
Pastor Ohlmann