Changes reported in overseas missions

“We are learning to do overseas mission with fewer dollars,” Lutheran Church–Canada’s mission executive Dr. Leonardo Neitzel reported to synod’s Board of Directors. His comment came as the board listened to him explain that LCC can no longer afford to support a full-time missionary in Nicaragua. Instead, he will travel twice a year for two weeks to provide support and teach seminary classes; Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan, currently a volunteer missionary in Nicaragua, will make an annual visit and either LCC’s treasurer or accountant will visit for an annual audit.

The board’s Committee on Mission and Social Ministry Services recommended the schedule. It believes the regular short-term visits will provide assistance to Iglesia Luterana Sínodo de Nicaragua (ILSN) and gain sufficient first-hand information from the mission field. The committee also noted the significance of improved Internet communication with the mission centre as well as with contacts in Costa Rica and Honduras.

“In some ways this is good,” noted Dr. Neitzel. “The ILSN is growing both in numbers and experience as a synod. Like a good parent, we will need to allow them to find their way so we don’t have to be concerned with day-to-day guidance as much.” He also reported that Dr. Mayan is establishing a good administrative foundation for the church body.

Changes are also happening north of Nicaragua in Honduras, and to the south in Costa Rica.

Rev. Jorge Groh, LCMS World Mission and Rev. Leonardo Neitzel, LCC mission executive

Rev. Jorge Groh, Latin America regional counsellor for The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod’s World Mission, recently met with Dr. Neitzel in Winnipeg to discuss a working agreement between the two church bodies in Honduras. The LCMS established a mission outreach in a different part of the country this year. Lutheran Church–Canada began work there in 2004. Potential seminary students from LCC’s mission are awaiting the next set of classes in Nicaragua and the goal is to train church workers for LCC’s mission in Honduras.

Meanwhile in Costa Rica, the first missionary, Pastor Pedro Quintero has returned to Nicaragua after serving several years in that mission. However, the outreach continues with Pastor Edmundo Retana and his wife, Betty, a deaconess. Pastor Pedro is a native Costa Rican and former theology professor who attended the seminary classes in Nicaragua to become a pastor in the ILSN. They have begun a growing outreach in Casa Cuba, a barrio of San Jose and Cartago, a community about 23 km southeast of the capital.

Of interest to the board was news from Cambodia. Although LCC has no official relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia, volunteer missionary Rev. Dr. Leonard Harms coordinates theological education for the Cambodian church through Lutheran Institute Southeast Asia (LISA). After graduating an initial class earlier this year of 16 pastors and 8 deaconesses, 12 new pastoral ministry students and 12 deaconess students are currently enrolled. The cost of sending professors from Canada is supported by Concordia Lutheran Mission Society.

“We thank God for the blessings He gives to us in our mission fields and for the people of Lutheran Church–Canada who give so generously to support His work,” said Dr. Neitzel. “Our Lord God helps us continually, by His grace, to grow in our stewardship; to build and to expand on the mission work the way it was done thirty or forty years ago. In view of the challenges faced by sending someone from Canada who would have to learn a language and culture, we focus our money and time more on preparing national church workers for the proclamation of the Gospel and for teaching in their own language, context and culture. That is very important!”

For more information on Lutheran Church–Canada’s missions go to or .

Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: November 25, 2010
Posted In: Mission News,

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