For Immediate Release
Contact: Vicki Biggs, 314-996-1236, 314-556-3829 (cell), @theLCMS
Download photo here: Dr. Michael K. Rodewald
Church leader directed Missouri Synod’s Africa mission field for five years
ST. LOUIS, December 12, 2013—Dr. Michael K. Rodewald, regional director for Africa with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Office of International Mission, has accepted a call to serve as executive director of Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT) in Aurora, Ill., effective June 1, 2014.
A former LBT missionary, Rodewald joined the LCMS mission team in Africa in January 2008 as area facilitator and in January 2009 accepted a call to serve as regional director. He will continue in that role, based in Pretoria, South Africa, until he joins LBT next June.
Rodewald, who has nearly 30 years all told of mission experience in Africa, said he has “mixed feelings” about leaving the continent after some three decades. “Lessons are usually learned by making mistakes, and thus, cross-cultural experience can be hard-earned,” he said, “I can only say thank you to the graciousness of friends and co-laborers in Africa who over the years have advised and corrected me. It is with sadness that our family leaves friends, even as we look forward to new relationships that shall be made serving as executive director of LBT.”
“We will miss Dr. Rodewald’s leadership and expertise in Africa; however, the church will continue to benefit from his lifelong commitment to sharing the Gospel with all peoples of all nations,” said LCMS Chief Mission Officer Rev. Gregory K. Williamson. “We wish Mike God’s blessings in his ministry, and we look forward to a vibrant partnership with him in his new leadership role.”
“It has been really awesome to be a part of this time in mission in which we are experiencing rapid growth in many Lutheran church bodies in Africa,” said Rodewald. “Participating in God’s mission here has given me the opportunity to see Him at work through His people in Africa in ways that many from the U.S. context do not get to experience.”
He acknowledged challenge in mission but added that, “God is faithful and His Word continues to bear fruit. I admire and have enjoyed leading the LCMS missionaries who live and serve here, sometimes under much hardship and uncertainty, alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa.”
Directors in each of the LCMS worldwide regions – Africa, Asia Pacific, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southern Asia and Oceania – oversee LCMS mission priorities to revitalize and plant Lutheran churches, expand theological education, perform human care in proximity to Word and Sacrament ministry, enhance mission effectiveness, augment Lutheran schools and nurture church workers.
Lutheran Bible Translators, – a Recognized Service Organization of the LCMS — celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014 and manages 22 Bible-translation and 50 Scripture-engagement projects among 51 language groups worldwide.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.