Partnership in the Gospel
As the Finance Director for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, I am often reminded of how much we need to depend on the Lord to supply our needs. Philippians 1:3-6 says it best for me: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
As of this writing, we have closed out the month of March and are now in the final month of our fiscal year (FY2013-2014). We are pleased with the contributions that have been sent our way by both individuals and churches. As you know, we rely on your contributions to fund the ministry of the Church. Speaking of ministries, let me not only thank you for your giving, but also update you on the work your generous gifts are allowing us to do together as the body of believers called the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.
This past year, Nathanael and Carrie Szobody and their three children were in France where they attended language study. In July, when their studies were complete, they started their mission assignment in Chad, Africa. They were at our Welcome Center in Ndjamena for five months studying Arabic in preparation for moving to a Bagirmi village. In December they moved to the village of Mafling and, as we write this article, they are learning the Bagirmi language and getting acquainted with the Bagirmi people. Danny and Mandy Bronson and their children are in France studying the language and will complete their studies in July 2014. At that time they will also relocate to Chad.
Exciting things are also happening in North American Mission. The Pacific Southwest Region is fully engaged in a church restart program in Pasadena, California with Pastor Kyle Sears. They will be working in the same community as Immanuel Lutheran Brethren Church. In the Western Region, Grace Lutheran Brethren Church in Bismarck, North Dakota is hoping to plant a second campus in Lincoln, ND. Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, a member of our Central Region, is in the midst of starting a second campus in the nearby community of Battle Lake. The Eastern Region is working with Regional Pastor Warren Geraghty in church planting in the northeast part of that region.
The Lutheran Brethren Seminary is getting ready for Graduation 2014. Four students will be graduating this Spring and three of the graduates have calls or are already in ministry settings. This is the first year that distance education has been in place and some of these men are graduating because they were able to take classes from their home assignments via distance education. This past semester there were thirty-two full-time and part-time students enrolled in seminary classes, seventeen of them studying on campus with the balance taking classes by distance education.
We humbly thank you for your generous gifts. As you can see, the Lord is working through people like you to make a difference in the kingdom. Through your gifts the missionaries are ministering to the unreached, the Church of the Lutheran Brethren is starting new churches so that our neighbors can learn of Christ, and the seminary is training men to become pastors who will spread the Good News as they graduate. So thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you in return.
LaWayne Rogness serves as Finance Director for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.