Greetings in the name of our Risen, Ascended, and Reigning Lord and Savior!
On Monday, May 12th, 2008 I will leave St. Louis around 2:00 pm for my 8th trip to India. I will be traveling to India alone this time but will meet up with Pastor Ude when I arrive. I have a very busy 3 1/2 weeks planned. This is the tightest I have ever scheduled my time in the field. Please pray that the timing works out and the travel goes smoothly. When I arrive in Chennai I will have just part of a day to exchange money and get ready for the next few weeks of travel, teaching, and activity.
Pastor Ude and I will travel by car to visit and teach in two of the most distant districts of the BELC. After I have visited these two districts I will have visited all but one. I have made similar comments before but each time I think I am close to visiting all the districts of the BELC the Lord opens yet another door/s of opportunity to train more pastors and more districts are opened up by the time I return the next year.
Following a week with the BELC we will travel by car to the CLCI seminary where we will be guests for the 10th anniversary graduation of the CLCI seminary. 14 men will graduate and enter the full-time Gospel ministry. (The Lord is Good!) Following a couple days of visiting congregations and discussions with the leaders of the CLCI we will return to Chennai where we will catch a plane to Nepal with a short lay-over in New Delhi.
We are traveling to Nepal to visit a young pastor who contacted the CLC several months ago to inquire about pastoral training in Lutheran Theology. Over the past 8 months I have had the privilege of leading this gifted and dedicated man through a correspondence course in Lutheran Doctrine and we have exchanged many, many emails. His desire is to establish a Confessional Lutheran Church Body in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal. There are 8 other independent pastors who have the same desire and have appointed this man as the president of their fledgling church body. They are small in number but mighty in the Lord. They each work a full-time job to support their families while serving more than one congregation and regularly conducting outreach efforts in villages where the Gospel has not been told. They are also interested in conducting training seminars for other pastors who are interested in finding out more about Confessional Lutheran Theology. Work has already begun on translating the correspondence course we went through along with the CLC Statement of Faith into Nepali. These men are currently studying materials that have been sent and writing a series of doctrinal essays that will be discussed when we are there. This group of men has asked for only one thing...that we come to train them and others in the truth of God's word so that they will be better equipped to preach and teach the Saving message of Jesus Christ! Praise the Lord for what apparently seems to be a wide open door for the spread of the Gospel in a nation that counts only .5% of her population as Christian!
I stand in awe of the Lord's goodness when I consider the opportunities that are ahead of me in the next few weeks. Please ask the Lord to bless this trip by granting good health, safe and efficient travel, and that the Gospel message may be proclaimed. I would also ask that you keep my family and those I serve in the congregations in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas in your prayers.