By Paula Schlueter Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) President Patti Ross was in St. Louis for several days in mid-March to meet with Synod and LWML headquarters staff, do a radio interview, explain the history and objectives of the auxiliary to seminarians who start vicarages this year and — oh, yes — present mission-grant checks to representatives of two ministries.
The LWML grants presented on March 15 were:
- $120,000 to the LCMS Office of International Mission on behalf of the Lutheran Church of Nigeria (LCN) for renovations at its Jonathan Ekong Memorial Seminary in Obot Idim, and
- $25,000 to LCMS Youth Ministry for housing and stipends to enable young adults to serve for 10 weeks or 10 months with the new Lutheran Young Adult Corps.
Ross says she enjoys presenting the auxiliary’s mission-grant checks to recipients, even though she doesn’t do it all that often because other LWML officers share in the task as well.
It’s an opportunity, she says, to remind mission entities both domestic and foreign that the funds “represent the work of women across the United States” who’ve spent many hours organizing mission walks, bake sales and other fundraising efforts to support Christ’s Great Commission.
And it’s not just about the money, she adds. “It’s also knowing about the grants and praying” for the ministries as well as using specially written LWML devotions that relate to the grants. “It’s a mission awareness, as much as anything.”
The two grant checks Ross presented in St. Louis represent “an interesting juxtaposition” of national and international, old and new, she told Reporter. “God has faithfully kept the seminary in Nigeria going — His faithfulness to the old — and now His faithfulness to the new, in calling these [young adults] who want to serve … through the Church.” The LCN seminary opened in 1940, was closed for seven years during World War II, and reopened in 1949.
DCE Julianna Shults, director of the six-month-old Lutheran Young Adult Corps, said the ministry is “incredibly grateful to the LWML for their support.”
Young-adult participants, Shults said, “are passionate about sharing the Gospel by serving full time in a variety of ministry settings. It is because of generous grants and donations like these that we can offer this program at a very low cost to our young-adult participants and the community partners they serve.”
The two mission grants are among 19 adopted at the LWML’s 2015 convention, along with a record mission goal of $2 million, for the 2015-17 biennium. (Read a story about that convention: “LWML elects new president, sets record mission goal.”)
The LWML’s next national convention is set for June 22-25 in Albuquerque, N.M.
Ross says she believes the mission goal will be met by its March 31 deadline.
“We’re down to the wire, but we’re looking pretty good,” she said. The women of the LWML are missionaries at heart, she added, who sense an “urgency” about missions.
“I think a lot of them are probably like me — they feel like they’d like to be a missionary, but things got in the way” and “they just take to heart the command of Jesus to go and make disciples.
“And so we’re enabling other missionaries to go and do that,” Ross said. (To make a contribution to the mission goal, click here.)
While in St. Louis, the LWML president was a guest on the “Family Shield Ministries” radio program, with host Key Meyer (to listen to that interview, click here), and gave a presentation about the women’s auxiliary to 47 prospective vicars and one deaconess intern, among others, at Concordia Seminary. A similar presentation is planned for fourth-year students at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., in May.
As president, Ross wants to share the mission of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League with as many people as possible.
“A real key part of what LWML does,” she says, is “it makes the congregation aware” of the mission projects of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, its Recognized Service Organizations and other LCMS entities.
In many, if not most, LCMS congregations, “nobody ever talks about” what the Synod and its related mission agencies are doing, she said. “So the LWML can tell them about it, and get them excited about it.”
About three-quarters of the Synod’s 6,100 congregations have LWML groups, also known as “Lutheran Women in Mission.” Ross would like to see every congregation involved so that all women can be nurtured in their faith, make a difference in the lives of others and be encouraged by other “sisters in Christ.”
For information about starting an LWML group in your congregation, visit http://www.lwml.org/get-involved.
Posted March 27, 2017