Missionary monthly news


PRAY!

Missionaries across the globe need our fervent prayers more than ever. Many of them are quarantined and not able to provide fully to the people most in need. Some are providing online support to their students, their congregations and their staff, while others cannot provide online support due to the poverty in their region. Many of the missionaries highlight how the COVID pandemic has affected them. 


Check out the updates from our Missionaries throughout the world. Pray for all missionaries, that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of the people throughout the world to know and hear the love of Jesus and the path to eternal life. Also pray for the health and safety of all missionaries and their families.


Prayers of thanksgiving for the Salvation Army food drive for Easter. Thanks to everyone who contributed to those in need during this challenging time.


 Shepherd Upcoming event:  

Compassion International, Sunday, April 25. Look for a table that will have more information about this important mission. 

Rev James & Angela Sharp - Uruguay

Pastor James and Angela Sharp are LCMS missionaries in Uruguay. James establishes and supports new churches and works to enable mercy outreach projects around the country.

 

The pandemic is still providing challenges for this mission; however, Angela and James are still working—thankful for the LCMS and all the supporters who keep their work a blessing to the people of Uruguay. They are providing needed food to those affected by hunger.

 

It is summer in Uruguay and the kids are not in school, but they continue to study. Elias finished his semester at St. Paul Lutheran High School in Concordia, Missouri and he really likes the mix of students from the area and all over the world, including his missionary kid friend, Max Fritsche. It’s been a weird school year for everybody and it’s no exception for Elias. He unfortunately contracted Covid, but the school handled it very well and after a couple of days of fever he was able to serve out his quarantine and return to class. 

 

The Sharp’s ask us to pray:

  • Prayer of thanks for a safe end to the school year for Ambrose, Callie and Maggie a great first semester for Elias.
  • Prayer of thanks for 13 new adults and 8 youth confirmed in 2020 despite COVID.
  • Pray for Paulo, who is a young man who has recently relapsed and is in the street again.
  • They continue to look for a new location downtown for the City Center mission. Pray for the Lord to give them the space they need.
  • Pray that the Lord would provide the resources to realize their strategic plan to put a new church planting pastor in the Northern (Chapicuy/Salto) mission.
  • And please pray for Roberto, who is fighting terminal cancer and is not a believer.  They have been able to provide him with some help and he has watched worship services.

 

To read about more about what the Sharp’s have been up to, get an update on the family, and catch up with all that's going on in God's mission in Uruguay, click on the link to download their newsletter.

Joe & viya Stoltenow  |  Ray of Hope, Cambodia

Joe and Viya are now out of quarantine and are back home in Battambang. As Joe demonstrated on Facebook, he and Ray passed the time away by doing push-ups. I think Ray won that contest!  Please continue to pray that Viya stays healthy, and she has smooth sailing for her delivery – they are having a GIRL! 

Doug and Tricia Stoner  |  Pioneers-austria

On March 3, Doug and Tricia were excited to visit with a long-time friend and bible study friends, Jim and Lynette Hatcher. Jim and Lynette hosted Doug and Tricia while their son Ryan (who was only 20 months old at the time) was hospitalized for bronchitis in Vienna—they lived in Slovakia at the time, and they were friends since that pivotal time. Doug and Tricia both tested negative for COVID, so they were thrilled to be able to have in-person contact. We all know how much we have missed the personal connections during COVID-it feeds our souls.

 

The Stoners are grateful for being able to celebrate Doug’s 60th birthday via zoom with their church group. In addition, Tricia continues to have zoom baking parties with her teens that she mentors.

 

The pioneer leader in Italy was able to buy a house close to the church plan that was big enough for their family and close to his elderly mother. The Stoner’s have prayed for wisdom concerning the Iberia field and feel that the Lord has supplied so many who have given wise advice. In addition, they are also thankful for Ron and Linda who have worked so hard in Iberia.

 

Doug and Tricia’s prayer requests:


Pray for God to clearly guide their next steps in ministry as things seem to be in flux.


Pray that God will give them grace through these times of ministry upheaval. Tricia has been making cookies and sending them to our neighbors and talking to people when she takes their dog on a walk.

 
Megan is working with teens in Edinburgh through her church and Young Life. Please pray for her and me as we see how Covid is affecting them and how to serve them in love.

Pray for more and the right workers for Iberia and Italy and Slovenia.  May our Lord send His laborers and also that they can assist them in the best way.
 
Continue to pray for their church as they work through budgeting and a new constitution. 

John Wolf - Africa

Despite the COVID pandemic, John had a very busy and fruitful 2020 and is looking forward to an even busier 2021.

 

In January, John oversaw the maintenance for LCMS missionary housing at the ELCK seminary in western Kenya. With the expected arrival of two new missionary families, repairs were done on two homes and completion of construction of the third. 

 

In February, John travelled with his local rep for Lutheran Heritage Foundation (Tuomo Sumajoki) to attend a gathering of church leaders from the confessional Lutheran, French-speaking, church bodies in west and central Africa. This was his first time at the annual meeting held at the Center for Lutheran Theological Studies in northern Togo. He was thankful to hear so many stories of people who receive the Good News of Christ in countries like Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, both Congos, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Benin. This visit allowed him to work more closely with these church leaders and pastors to support projects in their countries.

 

Kenya, in mid-March, shut down the borders and schools (with all the students sent home) and set a strict curfew. John was unable to check in person on the progress for the missionary housing projects, because their Kenyan church partners outside Nairobi county were able to move around. He was able to receive progress updates and photos via his phone.

 

The school closures in March meant that the youth at the Project 24 boarding centers for vulnerable children were returned to their caretakers and extended families. However, the site managers, pastors, and deaconesses made monthly visits to the 250+ children to bring food staples, pray, counsel, sing, and encourage. Neighbors noticed the visits and asked pastors to come into THEIR homes to pray and share the Gospel. 

 

During October, students in grades 4, 8, and 12 were permitted to return to school. All other grades have had to wait until January to resume school.  (Project 24 is a joint effort of the LCMS and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya to provide housing in seven centers for orphaned and vulnerable children in the church who wouldn't otherwise have access to school, regular meals, nor hear the Word of God).

 

The Word continues to go forth even during this time. In a number of countries, John has coordinated with church leaders to provide some relief from COVID through resources for handwashing, food stuffs and masks.

 

In Rwanda, as the case numbers decreased, the church body was anxious to open the 5 new churches they had roofed before the pandemic. New regulations required a water source at each church. The Lord provides in His good timing, and gifts were made available that helped procure water tanks and collection systems to allow the churches to reopen.

 

Two other countries used their COVID support to broadcast weekly services and bible studies on the radio waves. In one country we have been told of conversions and people coming to Christ. There are many similar stories in the 18 African countries the LCMS helped with COVID relief.

 

Despite all the COVID challenges, they have been blessed that their Africa team is still able to gather, using online videoconferencing for daily bible study and worship on Sundays. In Kenya, they are grateful that church services have been allowed to resume, with requirements to wash hands, log body temperatures, wear masks, and maintain a designated separation. Additionally, there are limits on the age of those attending, the duration of the services, and the use of elbow bumps or waving instead of the more traditional handshakes.

 

Below are many of the efforts that their field has supported since the outbreak reached Kenya in March 2020:

COVID Relief                       
   - 23 Church bodies in Africa

Humanitarian Support      
   -18 countries

Food deliveries                   
   -1400+ to P24 homes

Water collection                
   -12 systems in 3 countries

Radio Ministry Broadcast                 
   - 3 countries

Lutheran seminaries         
   - 8 reopened

Home visits                         
   - many by local pastors

Church roofs                      
   - 11 installed in 3 countries

Disaster relief                    
   -2 countries