by Megan K. Mertz
Since Concordia English Center opened in Macau in 1999, thousands of residents have learned English or studied the Bible with LCMS missionaries. One Chinese man, called Teddy, began attending catechism classes at the center after retiring from his job.
“Teddy says he discovered new meaning [for his life] when he read the explanation to the Third Article of the Creed,” said the Rev. Joel Scheiwe, an LCMS missionary to the Asia Pacific region. “He is one of the people who’s been reached and who is becoming active in the mission of the church in Macau through Concordia English Center and the partnership with the local congregation.” Teddy hopes to be baptized later this year.
Education is extremely important in the Asia Pacific region. During the last 60 years, the LCMS has helped start schools in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. Today, the LCMS and its partner churches operate some 80 Lutheran schools in the region.
[quote style=”boxed”]Education is extremely important in the Asia Pacific region.[/quote]
LCMS missionaries, teachers and short-term teams visit schools to teach English and build relationships. In Hong Kong, native English speakers from the LCMS make the schools of The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod more desirable for parents in the community. The Hong Kong Synod’s schools have about 18,000 students, but only a small number are Christian. LCMS missionaries in these schools have opportunities both during and after class to share God’s love with students.
“English as a Second Language gives the church the opportunity to touch people with the Gospel,” said the Rev. John Mehl, regional director for the Asia Pacific region. “English Bible studies are a way for people to improve their English and at the same time learn about Christ.”
In addition, new career missionary the Rev. Jeffrey Horn is one of several LCMS pastors sent to teach in partner church seminaries. Horn has been called to serve in Papua New Guinea, renewing active work with our partner, the Gutnius Lutheran Church (GLC). His work there will be to train and support GLC pastors, teach at Timothy Seminary and travel to villages to provide continuing theological education.
But teaching isn’t all that the LCMS does in the region. The LCMS responds when disasters strike, offers health education in remote villages in Thailand and continues to build airstrips in the bush of Papua New Guinea to provide isolated clans with access to health care and education. In these ways and many others, LCMS work in the Asia Pacific region touches lives through witness and mercy.
LCMS work in Asia Pacific
- 11 countries
- 6 partner churches
- 25 career missionaries
- 30 Globally Engaged in Outreach (GEO) missionaries
- 35 rostered teachers in Lutheran schools
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