February 17, 2004

A door for effective work has opened, but there are many adversaries.

In Africa our school year begins in January.  St. Peter’s Seminary, Himo, Tanzania and Lutheran  Bible Institute, Efa, Nigeria began classes in January for the new school year.  For St. Peter’s the new students are to begin classes Feb. 15th.  We look forward to hearing of new students and  pray for God’s Blessings on this school year.  For the LBI, Efa, so far we have no new students this year, although we interviewed five.

The father of Pastor Muzakuza (Congo) has gone to his eternal reward.  Remember Pastor in your prayers.

Remember also the BELC (India) lead pastors – Paul, Sampath, Rajamani and Bhasker who are dealing in court with the former head of the BELC.  Pray that this month the matters may be settled and that our former brother, Pastor Bas, repents.

While initial contact with the CLCI began in 1983 with a visitation of CLC pastors to hold doctrinal meetings, the church body under a different name was started in 1968. Over the years as of 1992 over 8000 souls have been baptized.  Their growth is showed in the following statistics for three years: 1986 – 2800 souls, 1992 – 5000, 2002 – 7000.  Most of the churches are located in Andhra Pradesh state on the east coast of southern India.  Just in this state alone there are over 60 million people the majority of whom do not believe in Christ.  It is clear there is much work to do.
The founder of the CLCI is V.S. Benjamin who withdrew from the Andhra Ev. Lutheran Church over their politics and not teaching correctly from God’s Word.  His son Jyothi is head of their Bible Institute where pastors are trained in a three year program.  Another son, Nireekshana, is doing  among other things, outreach with Gospel meetings.

While the majority of members are in Andhra Pradesh state, a group of about 700 souls is in Madya Pradesh State.  They have been self-supporting there.  This is a goal for all to be self-supporting. The CLCI has been working among tribals.  These are people who are very backward and live in the forests.  Pastor Benjamin’s work among them began back toward the start of his church.  These people being very primitive, require a lot of patience to work with.
The Bible Institute (started in 1998) has 17 students in the three year program.  Some of the pastors in the field are enrolling in the Institute to have a better foundation in their pastoral training.  The CLCI has 69 congregations served by 72 pastors.

PASTOR BOHDE (serving in Thailand) had a prayer/poem in a newsletter some years ago as follows. May we make it our prayer.

A Prayer for Missions
O God of infinite grace and love,
because Your Son died for all people,
because You grieve over the death of the wicked,
because You desire to draw all people to You:
We confess that we have not
spoken of Your love as we ought,
supported Your work as we are able,
sacrificed for Your cause as we might.
We urge You to
remove the indifference of our hearts,
stir in us the cheerfulness of generosity,
strengthen us to live for You.
We pray for those who
speak for You in foreign lands,
spread Your name through every means,
suffer for Your Gospel’s sake.
We beseech You to
let Your Word be fruitful in every land,
remove the gloom of unbelief and sin,
open our tongues to sing Your praise.
Bless all who labor, that Your name be hallowed in all the earth, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


Pastor David Koenig