Twenty-three new career and short-term missionaries and educators, along with their spouses and children, began a 13-day orientation in St. Louis June 24 to help prepare them for service abroad later this year.
The annual event, held at the International Center, focuses on training, equipping and encouraging the new missionaries under the theme “Credo: Created to Live … Forever!” from 1 John 5:11.
The event is organized by the LCMS Office of International Mission.
The 2012 career and GEO (Globally Engaged in Outreach, serving one- to two-year terms) missionaries range in age and experience and include recent college graduates, retirees and mid-career couples. The 16 countries where they will serve include Germany, Macau, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, the Czech Republic, South Africa and Singapore.
Missionary orientation provides information, experiences and study materials that are designed to establish a solid foundation on which new missionaries build as they prepare for service. It also gives specific training for their ministry assignments and an introduction to the LCMS staff and structure that will support them during their international deployment, said Kama Bernabo, director of Ministry Mobilization with the LCMS Office of International Ministry.
“U.S.-based orientation provides fellowship and foundational learning, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg,” Bernabo said. “The learning process in the field is one of full immersion and continues as long as a missionary is in service.”
Titles of orientation sessions include “Global Issues through the Lens of Scripture,” “LCMS as Your Employer,” “Created to be God’s Stewards,” Barriers to the Gospel,” “Culture Shock” and “Encountering Islam.” A special program for children and a dinner for women also are part of the orientation. Other activities include a tour of Concordia Publishing House, worship at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in Soulard and daily chapel services at the LCMS International Center.
The orientation will culminate with a special “sending service” and reception at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 6, in the International Center chapel. The special Divine Service with Holy Communion is open to the public. LCMS First Vice-President Rev. Dr. Herbert C. Mueller Jr. will share the homily and musicians will provide special music.
The LCMS has been involved in mission and outreach since 1851 when it established its first mission board; the church body sent its first overseas missionary to India in 1895.
Today, the Synod trains, sends and supports “called” and appointed long- and short-term missionaries throughout the United States and in various countries around the world where there are mission stations, partner churches, schools and mission relationships.
For more information about missionary orientation, click here.
To find out more about the missionaries, or to support their efforts, download their prayer cards from the LCMS website at www.lcms.org/prayercards.
Posted June 28, 2012