By Megan K. Mertz
On Aug. 3, a new group of Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) missionaries were sent out with a plea for God’s blessing during a “Service of Sending” that took place at the LCMS International Center chapel in St. Louis.View photo gallery
The service was the culmination of a one-week orientation that included sessions on engaging contributors through communication and network building.
The new missionaries also met many Synod staff members — including their new regional directors — who will be working with them during their service.
The six families will serve around the world in a variety of roles, such as theological educator, church planter and business manager.
For Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde, orientation was a vital step in their preparation to move 9,000 miles from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, to Sri Lanka, where Benjamin will serve a two-year international vicarage.
“Orientation has helped me to really get a grasp on what motivates me to go and be a part of this field,” Benjamin said. “And that’s really helping me figure out how to tell our story to people here in the U.S. as we build our network of support.”
For the Rev. Anthony and Jamie DiLiberto, the time spent at the International Center was really a re-orientation. The two originally met in 2010 while serving separately as LCMS missionaries in Peru. They later got married and returned to the United States so that Anthony could attend seminary.
Later this year, the family — which now includes three little DiLibertos — is headed to Puerto Rico, where Anthony will plant churches and assist with the Synod’s hurricane-relief efforts.
“It was great to be together with other missionaries again and … to get a kind of refresher on many things we had forgotten in our four years at the seminary,” Anthony said. “Every day at orientation, we started with God’s Word and we ended with it as well. And then there was even more God’s Word with prayer and praise in the middle. That was our favorite part.”
For Herman and Sheila Strozier, the practical aspects of orientation were a highlight. The Stroziers are preparing to move to the Czech Republic, where Herman will serve as business manager for the LCMS Eurasia Region.
“I thought they did a very good job of trying to prepare everyone to work in the mission field,” Sheila said. “The majority of the sessions were more interactive than just sitting back and having somebody lecture to you. It was a good way to get practice on a lot of the things we’re going to have to do.”
Following the sending service, the group of missionaries headed out to work on building a network of financial and prayer support to sustain them throughout their time on the mission field.
Many of them will return to the International Center in September for an additional week of training.
In the sending service sermon, the Rev. Dan McMiller, new executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission, offered these words of encouragement to the group:
“You are appointed by Christ’s Church to dispense the wealth of Christ’s righteousness. … The master forgives. He does not treat us as we deserve, and He will not cut you off.”View photo gallery
Posted Aug. 15, 2018