HOUSTON–In his final comments to the 64th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick related a story told to him by a leader in the Gutnius Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea, who described how his family had come to faith in Christ.
A young LCMS missionary and his wife, Rev. Otto and Jill Hintze, came to the country in 1948 and shared the Gospel with the leader’s father, one of 18 tribal chiefs in the Enga Province. “After hearing the Gospel from Otto Hintze, he came to faith in Christ, his life changed, and he freely gave his witness to the Gospel,” Kieschnick said.
“My dear friends in Christ, that’s what this Synod is all about: Changing lives for eternity.”
Kieschnick said the highlights of the convention for him “are those that have focused on real mission and ministry accomplished locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.” These highlights included:
- The Synod’s response to crisis in Haiti.
- The stories from the dog tags of three military chaplains.
- The retiring missionaries who received an extended, standing ovation from delegates.
- The “incredible announcement” from the Board for Mission Services that after many years of trying, an LCMS international school is about to begin in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Kieschnick said that through the accomplishments of the convention, he hoped many people would be “brought to faith in Christ, by the work of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament. I pray that your experience as a delegate to this convention has strengthened your faith and has given you great encouragement for the work that awaits you in your congregation and Christian vocation back home.
Kieschnick concluded his remarks by thanking the “entire LCMS for the opportunity to serve among you for the past nine years.
“I leave you with these words from St. Paul: ‘I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy and every one of my prayers for all of you because of your sharing in the Gospel from the first day until now. I am confident that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Go in peace and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God,” Kieschnick added.
Rev. Matthew C. Harrison will succeed Kieschnick as president of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Sept. 1. Harrison was elected president of the church body July 13.
Posted July 17, 2010