This month’s “From the Mission Field” column includes updates from the directors of all four international regions of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Your LCMS missionaries of the Africa region continue to joyfully and gratefully serve. While some of our team members needed to return to the U.S., missionaries in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia remained in the field. Restrictions in those places vary, but most include suspension of international travel, localized restrictions on movement, curfews, closures of schools and seminaries, and prohibitions of worship services and seminars.
Your Africa missionaries are using this time of pause, this forced Sabbath, to undertake deferred work and special projects, to extend knowledge through online courses, and to identify and engage the new opportunities the Lord is opening for ministry.
We are encouraged and fed by daily online team devotions and weekly online worship. The LCMS has issued more than 20 grants related to the novel coronavirus to our partners in Africa to address food insecurity, sanitation and education, and radio broadcast opportunities to proclaim the Gospel to those who cannot otherwise be reached or gather for worship.
We see clearly, despite the circumstances, that the work of the church continues — spreading the Gospel, planting Lutheran churches and showing mercy.
The Rev. Shauen Trump, regional director for LCMS Africa
All of your LCMS missionaries in the Eurasia region are doing well despite the disruptions the pandemic has caused. Throughout the vast and ever-expanding mission region of Eurasia, the wonderful and faithful team of missionaries you have called continues to spread the Gospel of Christ in ways never before imagined.
Zoom and other virtual technologies have been a godsend. Our missionary pastors have remained busy holding virtual services of the Word and preaching and are finally meeting again in person now. As things begin to loosen up a bit in most of Europe, Italy and Germany are still retaining tight travel restrictions.
Still, we have learned that our good and gracious Lord continues to lead us far better than we know how to lead ourselves. One young missionary ended his service and left the field, at least partly due to the COVID-19 quarantining and isolation.
Nonetheless, our Eurasia team has been so courageous and brave throughout this ordeal. I am honored to have such a faithful group of Christian men and women to work with, and I am so proud of them all, as I am sure you are too.
The Rev. James Krikava, regional director for LCMS Eurasia
Latin America and the Caribbean
Our missionaries remain at their posts in Latin America and the Caribbean in 10 different countries. Lockdowns and curfews are in place in many of our countries.
The southern cone of South America remains particularly hard hit, with our two largest church partners, in Brazil and Argentina, finding themselves challenged with the rapidly rising number of people infected. In Peru, our missionaries are leading services again, albeit in a limited fashion. Almost across the board, our borders by land, sea and air remain closed, although the freedom to move within our respective countries is beginning to open again.
Missionaries remain busy sending daily devotions to members, often twice a day in our church-planting countries, and holding virtual services and now in-person services again.
Our translation work has greatly increased, as has our presence on our international mission website, where all of our projects are updated and the opportunity to donate exists for the greater number of our projects.
Missionaries are in good spirits and are thankful for the many prayers, emails and notes of encouragement that we have received. In a similar fashion, we pray for our dear ones and our dear church as she undergoes many trials in these times.
The Rev. Ted Krey, regional director for LCMS Latin America and the Caribbean
Your LCMS Asia missionaries remain hard at work in their fields of service, where you have sent them, and where you allow them to live and labor. And where they are glad to be!
We had two families who returned to the U.S. because they were in high-risk categories and in places where decent medical care was not available. The vast majority of our LCMS Asia personnel opted to stay in their assigned countries, in the places where they have made their homes. Borders out here are closed everywhere, and so we responsibly find community with our neighbors and via remote visits.
Sri Lanka was subject to particularly strict lockdowns, with our personnel enduring days-long curfews. We also continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong, which has protests in addition to virus concerns — something with which we know Americans are familiar.
Our teaching conferences may have been put on hold, but the development and translation of resources continues at a rapid pace. God bless you all for your continued interest, support, prayers and love.
The Rev. Charles Ferry, regional director for LCMS Asia
Posted July 7, 2020