LCMS World Mission and staffer honored for work in Vietnam
ST. LOUIS—December 14, 2011—Rev. Ted Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) part-time education facilitator for Asia, recently received Vietnam’s Peace and Friendship Award, which honors those who have made positive contributions toward relationships between foreign non-governmental organizations and the Vietnamese government.
Engelbrecht, who has served in Vietnam since the LCMS began its humanitarian work there nearly 16 years ago, helped to set up and administer rural development and nutrition projects in partnership with the National Institute of Nutrition, and worked with LCMS volunteers from the United States who taught English.
"I think that for an American Lutheran pastor to receive such an award from the Vietnamese government shows that anything is possible in Vietnam, that the government and people of Vietnam are serious about moving forwards and not looking backwards, and that work that is done for the benefit of the people is recognized and appreciated," Engelbrecht said.
In related news, LCMS World Mission, the global Gospel outreach arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, was one of a number of organizations recently recognized for its 2011 contributions to in-country development by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations. LCMS World Mission has worked in Vietnam for 16 years as a non-governmental organization.
Leaders from other non-governmental organizations as well as the director of the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM) attended the award ceremony in November at which the Rev. J.P. Cima, LCMS strategic project developer in Vietnam, accepted the award on behalf of LCMS World Mission.
"Our faith compels us to be actively engaged with the people among whom we live and work," said the Rev. Dr. David Birner, interim executive director of LCMS World Mission. "And this faith component is what distinguishes us from other non-governmental organizations. From the very beginning, 16 years ago, we asked for the privilege to work side by side with our Vietnamese colleagues, so that we might learn together through serving families in the communes around Hanoi. We’ve now become friends and family to each other in these communities. We’ve developed a relationship of mutual love and respect that has been a blessing to the LCMS as well as to the people of Vietnam."
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit www.lcms.org.