April 5, 2005

I Cor. 16:9   For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

NEWS FROM SISTER CHURCHES – As we read these, let us pray to God giving Him thanks that we can work together to serve Him and that His Word does not return to Him void.   Praise God! Lutheran Church of East Africa has an evangelist faithfully working at Bumbuli, Tanzania gathering people around His Word.   Previously fifteen had applied for membership. Etago CLC in Kenya has opened a preaching station in the house of William Kenyatta at Olegumi.   This is among the Masai people. May this generally unreached people be reached by us and others. The Bharath Evangelical Lutheran Church in India has seen the Word go forth in baptism.   At Pudhucherri seven were baptized by Pastor Paul Raj after confessing their sins.   Pastor Victor reported that they were planning 36 baptisms in Kadapa District. In Nairobi, Kenya a group has formed around the Word in number now 29.   We are sending them literature and Pastors Jeremiah and Alex of the CLCEA are visiting them on the Word.

In the West – From 1075 to 1122 there was the struggle in western Christendom, a power struggle, between the church and the empire. And there was in 1095 the beginning of the wretchedly misdirected crusades.   So while the Lord’s disciples may have become befuddled and misdirected in the West, God was not contained, but active in the East.
1000-1200 in the EAST – The records show evangelism in Burma, Siam, Annam, Malaya, Java and Sumatra. The presence of Christians in the kingdom of Malea (North Burma)in the ninth century is clearly recorded.   Marco Polo discovered Nestorian Christians amongst the Shans when the Mongol armies entered Burma in 1252.   Sources so far available suggest that the churches of Sumatra and Java (Indonesia), like those of Ceylon, Burma, Siam and the Malay Peninsula at that time grew from the work and witness of resident foreign traders-Persian, Arab and Indian – sometimes assisted by visiting missionaries but often having their own clergy. Samarkand retained its churches, schools and monastic cells under a succession of Arab and Turkish rulers for almost 1000 years, the Samarkand churches surviving even the Mongol invasion of 1220. In 1248 an Armenian visitor to Samarkand attended worship there and Marco Polo estimated one in ten, approximately 11,000 persons, to be Christian.   Evidence of the city’s importance as a center for mission eastwards has also been found in the presence of engraved crosses located along the direct route between Samark and and Lhasa,and a Ladakh inscription records the visit of a Samarkand Christian on an embassy to the ruler of Tibite in 841-2.   A thirteenth century monument in Chinkiang, eastern China, declares Christianity to be the dominant religion of Samarkand. All of this outlines the early history of Christianity in Asian countries and illustrates the extent and persistence of the mission undertaken by the churches in the East beyond the limits of the earlier Persian Empire.   There were flourishing Christian communities in west Asia until at least the thirteenth century, in the ninth century, members of the Nestorian and Jacobite communions still apparently outnumbered those of all Greek and Roman churches.   In the tenth century Albiruni had declared that the majority of populations in Syria, Iraq and Khurasan were in fact Christian and until the thirteenth century almost half of the seventy-five bishoprics in fifteen provinces of the old Persian Empire still survived.

Pastor Koenig