More than 30 people representing 18 LCMS mission agencies and congregational groups that sponsor mission work in Sudan, East Africa, met Dec. 14-15 in Omaha, Neb., to share information and better coordinate their efforts.
The goal of the third biennial LCMS Sudanese Mission Consultation, sponsored by LCMS World Mission and the Nebraska District, was “to help everyone to work together in a way that is collaborative and coordinated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan, so that a strong and unified Lutheran Church in Sudan may be realized,” according to Rev. Claude Houge, East Africa facilitator for LCMS World Mission.
Represented at the consultation were the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, the Sudanese Lutheran Mission Society, Lutherans in Medical Missions, Orphan Grain Train, Global Health Ministries, LCMS World Relief and Human Care, and congregations in Iowa, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Ontario, Canada.
“Through sharing our mission experiences, the many LCMS entities serving in mission in Sudan could see what others are doing and move toward coordinating — rather than duplicating — efforts,” said Dr. Mike Rodewald, regional director for Africa with LCMS World Mission. The main purpose of the biennial consultations, Rodewald said, is “to learn from each other so that those newly involved in foreign mission in Sudan can learn from the experience of others.”
This was the first Sudanese Consultation to be held since the death of Rev. Andrew Mbugo Elisa, former bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan (ELCS). Elisa, 42, died Dec. 31, 2008, from an aggressive brain tumor. Previous consultations were held in 2005 and 2007 in Sudan.
Acting ELCS Bishop Rev. Edward Nzeme Sunge could not attend the consultation, but sent a video message in which he thanked the mission partners for their help and encouraged them to continue to support and pray for the Sudanese church body.
Nebraska District President Rev. Russell Sommerfeld said, “It is amazing to witness the Lord bringing Sudanese people into the LCMS to energize the mission into their homeland. It is also gratifying to hear how the Lord is moving different congregations and agencies of the LCMS from Canada to Texas, Utah to Massachusetts, and in the heartland of Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and Nebraska, to assist the continuing growth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan.
“From translating Lutheran Christian theological works, to supporting seminary training, to building churches or putting roofs on them, to feeding programs for hungry children, to putting into place a medical clinic and guest house, providing farm equipment, equipping a boat to transport people for Christian teacher training, as well as goods to market and even to plans for building an orphanage, God is at work through His people of the LCMS,” Sommerfeld told Reporter. “And how good it was to grow together in coordinating these efforts through LCMS World Mission — all for the sake of God’s kingdom building by His Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan!”
As a result of the consultation, an e-mail communication network is being developed to keep Sudan mission partners and others informed about the Synod’s support of ELCS ministries. To subscribe to the free service, send an e-mail to Rev. Ken Greinke, former LCMS World Mission regional director for Africa, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Jan. 6, 2010