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Global Mission: Missionary Orientation (October 2012)
“I couldn’t plan this,” said Shara Cunningham. “It’s all God-driven.”
And she couldn’t be happier. I had the opportunity to meet Shara at the recent missionary orientation meetings here at The Lutheran Church–Missouri Syond’s (LCMS) International Center. She recounted how she had never thought about becoming a missionary, but after hearing about a group from her church (Christ Lutheran, Ariz.) that had completed a short-term mission trip to Peru, she unexpectedly felt certain that God was calling her to go. Nine short-term missionary trips later, she was in South Africa as a GEO (globally engaged in outreach for one-to-two-year terms) missionary, and now she is off to Kenya as a full-time career missionary.
Shara is one of the 29 new missionaries your Synod sent forth on their missionary journeys after orientation meetings June 24-July 6, 2012.
At the sending service, LCMS First Vice-President Herbert C. Mueller Jr. told them: “You are sent by Christ Himself. He has filled you with His precious Gospel ... In His strong name, you are sent. You are never alone, for the living Lord Jesus will never abandon you. Confessing His name, you can go, knowing that you are not the one who builds the church; Jesus is.”
October is Mission Month in our LCMS. What better way to celebrate than to recognize some of our newest missionaries being sent into the field — and also returning missionaries.
Recently, I had the opportunity to thank a number of our missionaries who were “coming off the field” and moving on to new callings. Their terms of service had ended. We don’t often recognize missionaries who complete their service, but we should do so more often. This summer we were able to say thanks and farewell to Tim and Heidi Norton and their children, as well as Andrea Herman, all of whom ended their service in Guinea. We also said goodbye to Glenn and Susan Fluegge and their children, who ended their service in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa. What a blessing these missionaries have been!
I can’t help but think how the work of our new missionaries and the work completed by our returning missionaries encompasses the six ministry priorities of our Synod.
- Plant, sustain and revitalize distinctly Lutheran churches.
- Support and expand theological education.
- Perform human care in close proximity to Word and Sacrament ministries.
- Collaborate with the Synod’s members and partners to enhance mission effectiveness.
- Nurture pastors, missionaries and other church workers to promote (among them) spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.
- Enhance elementary and secondary education and youth ministry.
Global mission is what the ministries of our LCMS are all about, brought together through our Offices of International Mission and National Mission in the unified emphasis of Witness, Mercy, Life Together. The emphasis for the church illustrates so well how we work together to proclaim the Gospel and to provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ in our congregations, communities and throughout the world. In all that we do, Christ is at the center, leading and sustaining us and keeping us focused on our mission. This will never change. It is the reason why your support of LCMS global mission efforts is so important. Your “where needed most” gifts provide for the expansion of God’s mission across the world in collaboration with our global partners. Please consider a gift today for the Global Mission Fund, so that our combined efforts will continue to send out an ever increasing number of missionaries on behalf of your Synod.
Your gift of $50, $100, $500, or more, as God has blessed you, will accomplish the global strategies for ministry of our LCMS.
As you consider your gift, please also consider praying for our missionaries and their families so that more workers will be sent into the fields that are ripe for the harvest.
Here is a prayer you can use:
Lord of the Harvest, thank You for calling laborers to the fields who faithfully proclaim the Word of Life to those who are in the bonds of sin and death. Grant them boldness and courage as they fulfill their callings, and let the Good News work miracles of salvation to all who seek forgiveness and hope. All this I ask in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Rev. Gregory K. Williamson
Chief Mission Officer