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LCC’s missionaries in Central America report

January 19, 2012 No Comment

President Bugbee and Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel visit with LCC's Central America missionaries

by Leonardo Neitzel 

In early January, President Robert Bugbee and I had a very special meeting with the Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) missionaries and their spouses working in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras. We met with these five missionaries and their wives shortly after the close of Iglesia Luterana Sínodo de Nicaragua’s (ILSN) convention. It was a real blessing to listen as the missionaries shared about the different frontiers to which the Lord has called them. There are indeed many difficulties in the various mission fields in Central America. Some missionaries lack private transportation and have to rely solely on public transportation, which in many cases is very slow and inconvenient – particularly since missionaries need to carry all the equipment necessary to lead services and conduct visitations to members and prospects. There are large distances to cover and doing it by taxi is nearly impossible – our missionary in Costa Rica, for example, has very high expenditures related to taxi use. Other challenges have also presented themselves, including illness in the missionaries’ families, loneliness in the work, the high cost of living in some areas, lack of teaching tools and teaching resources, and lack of quality facilities in which to hold worship services.

It is gratifying as a result to witness the missionaries’ continued faithfulness and commitment together with their families to the Lord’s mission. Even under heavy pressure from all sides, there is joy. They are out and about regularly, proclaiming the Gospel message to many.

Some of the missionaries reported their efforts in canvassing large sections of their communities: 960 homes in one year. As a result, they now visit 40 families on a regular basis. Others reported on the great support they have received from short-term missions teams visiting Nicaragua. One missionary shared excitement over plans to host a group from a Canadian congregation in 2013: the Canadians purchased property for the mission this past year, and will be sending a group in 2013 to help build a church on the property. Two missionaries are planning to have organized their their first or second congregation by this coming year. Still others reported on initiatives to involve seminary students in the teaching of Bible classes at public grade schools near Managua. Our response to all of this is that “the LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3).

Each missionary had an opportunity to address the ILSN convention and report on their mission work. All of them expressed gratitude to the Lord for leading and strengthening them as they sow the seed of God’s Word. They expressed their gratitude also to LCC for supporting their work. The convention acknowledged and applauded them for their efforts in the work and for their faithfulness.

Some reported about their work with tears in their eyes – a symbol of the bitter-sweet experience of those who proclaim the Gospel “in season and out of season.” We commended each one of these servants for the work they are carrying on for the Lord’s sake. We comforted them with the words of Scripture that “he who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).

Please pray regularly for all of Lutheran Church–Canada’s missionaries and their families – not only those in Central America, but in all countries where our church is presently doing mission work. If you feel the Lord putting in your heart the desire to send a special card or message to an LCC missionary and their family, please contact LCC’s head office. We would be happy to provide you with contact information. As you pray for our missionaries and pastors, I encourage you to read and meditate on the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9, especially these two verses: “Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!… To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:16, 22).

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Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel is Lutheran Church–Canada’s executive for missions and social ministry.

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