February 29, 2004

I Cor. 16:9 A door for effective work has opened, but there are many adversaries.

The CLC’s involvement with the Bharath Ev. Lutheran Church in India dates from our initial meetings in 1984 although it was started earlier by Pastor Bas down in Kanyakumari, India. The work of this sister church is in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu States on the eastern coast of  South India.  There has been steady growth as the following indicates: 1986 – 300 souls,  1992 – 2000,  2003 – 3802.

A disruption has happened between us and the former head of the church and apparently we have lost some property also.  During the problems though nearly all of the pastors and congregations in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu stayed in fellowship with us.  We learn through such difficulties that preaching the Word and souls responding is what the Holy Christian Church is all about. “Church” is not buildings and money and personalities.

The means by which our pastors are being trained is through monthly meetings held in different meeting places by our lead pastors.  The lead pastors conduct the meetings and studies and when  the missionary is present, he does.  The five districts basically have five lead pastors.  The two meeting places have been Nellore and Nagalapuram.  Now as of last summer we have three new meeting places with studies held there by the following pastors:  Victor at Cuddapah,  Moses at Renigunta, Sampath at Velur (Vaniyambadi).  Paul, Bhasker and Rajamani continue to conduct the studies also as well as supervise the areas.  All our lead pastors have had previously two  years of intense study.  We hope to have a convention once the problems are settled with the former head of the BELC.

The BELC faces many, many opportunities for outreach and growth.  Now numbering 102 congregations and  82 pastors the growth has been cause to praise God.  One very important consideration in outreach is to go into villages where there is not the witness of Christ in a congregation.  In one series of preachings that I had in 34 villages visited, ours was the only church in 18 of them.  In addition to the above 82 pastors, we have: 8 studying at Cuddapah, 10 at Vaniyambadi, 38 likely at Renigunta.  Most of the  pastors are not Lutheran and have come from the Reformed or Pentecostal/  Charismatic backgrounds and must learn the truth and reject the errors.  Out in the congregations we have many converted Hindus.  For this grace we thank our living God.

Lutheran Church of East Africa reports that eight Masai were baptized in a service.  This tribe in Kenya/Tanzania is only 10% Christian and the Muslims are working to get them also.  Pastor Shekwa is working in the large and Muslim city of Dar es Salaam.  Pray for conversions there also.
The Church of the Lutheran Confession of India reports that their Pastor Jacob in Medak was attacked by Hindus and is now recuperating from being hit over the head.  In the city of Vatticherukur three Muslim families have now trusted in Christ bringing the total of Muslim converts there to 23.  Praise God for His great love.

ASH WEDNESDAY – In the NCLC we have started the mid-week special services to prepare for Easter. Our Lenten services are on the People of the Passion, those involved and/or influenced by our Lord’s suffering and death:  Peter, the two Thieves, the two groups of Women, the Centurion, Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas.  I would be interested in what any of you are using in our sister churches.

In Him,
Pastor Koenig