The Rev. Douglas and Angela Thompson serve the Lord as LCMS missionaries in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where work continues to establish Christ Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary of Sierra Leone in Bo.
A key component of the seminary is the development of a theological library — with books provided by the Chemnitz Library Initiative through Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. — to provide teachers and students with quality resources for their preparation and studies.
The books — shipped from Fort Wayne to Togo, then carried by truck across several countries before reaching Bo — faced some precarious moments at the border between Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, where a riot had broken out. Traveling through protests and gunfire, the driver of the truck made it into Guinea and proceeded to the Guinean Lutheran Church, headquartered near the Sierra Leone border in Guekedou.
The Rev. John Bundor, president of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church—Sierra Leone, met the shipment in Guekedou, transferred the books to another truck, and accompanied them the rest of the way to Bo, where they were delivered to the Thompsons’ home. Since that time, Angela Thompson, who serves as seminary librarian, has been cataloging, labeling and preparing them for their final home at the seminary.
The construction of the building that will house the books, a classroom and an office is nearing completion. Angela is teaching library usage and research skills to incoming students and professors.
Commenting on the progress that has been made, Douglas Thompson said, “What a blessing this theological library will be for Sierra Leone, and for present and future generations of pastors. The battle cry of the Reformation, based on 1 Peter 1:24–25, is posted prominently on the front corners of the library building: ‘The Word of the Lord remains forever.’ To God alone be the glory! VDMA.”
Deaconess Kim Bueltmann serves as an LCMS missionary in Germany, assisting German congregations in providing outreach to refugees from the Middle East.
Every Thursday, Bueltmann and the Rev. Hugo Gevers, a SELK (Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church) missionary, travel from their base in Leipzig to the nearby town of Borna to have church services with two small groups of refugees — one in Persian and one in Arabic.
“Both groups had been meeting in refugee apartments until last year,” Bueltmann said, “when the family hosting the Persian group went through some challenges that made it difficult for them to continue hosting.”
Bueltman said that after considering several possible options for worship space, “we thought about the Emmaus Church.”
The Emmaus Church was built in the 13th century in the village of Heuersdorf, Germany. In 2007, Heuersdorf was destroyed to make room for coal mining, and the historic church was moved to Martin Luther Square in the nearby city of Borna. Since its move, it has become a museum to remember the many villages lost to coal mining in the region.
Bueltmann said, “Last fall, we secured permission to use the church, and now our group of Persian refugees has a place to worship each week! A group of people who had to flee their homelands, worshiping in a church that basically was forced to do the same, is a great reminder to us all of what we read in Hebrews (11:10, 13:14): we have no lasting city here, but we look forward to the city that is to come, the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
“Everything we have here on earth is just temporary, but through Christ, we have a hope and a future. Our real home is with Him forever.”
Posted July 15, 2019