“We have some 70 Persians in our congregation,” explained the pastor, “but I don’t speak a word of Farsi. I’ve heard that many other SELK congregations are blessed with Iranian and Afghan members too. Is there any way we could coordinate Persian resources so we can share the Gospel with them in their own language more effectively?” Hearing time and time again this plea for help, Rev. Roger Zieger, director of the SELK’s mission organization, devised a plan to come to the aid of such congregations. And so, as worked out between the LCMS and SELK, I have been tasked not only to minister to Persians in Hamburg but also to begin coordinating Persian ministry in SELK churches from the North and Baltic Sea to the Alps.
Greetings from the 14th General Convention of the SELK (the LCMS sister church in Germany), an exciting triennial gathering of pastors and church workers. Yesterday I was asked to present at the plenary session and these tasks. I was amazed how many pastors came up to me afterwards, appreciating this SELK-wide effort and also sharing their various ministry situations. Some even asked whether any plans are in place to provide further theological education to Persian men wishing to become Lutheran pastors. That’s where another joint venture is neatly coming into play—with the Evangelical Church of Latvia, SELK, and the LCMS together preparing Lutheran men and women from around the world to better serve the Church through the English-language online and in-person classes offered by Luther Academy in Riga. Dear friends, we are witnessing first-hand how the Lord is connecting all of these moving parts, as He even prophesied some 2,700 years ago: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth…so shall my Word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose…” (Isaiah 55:10-11).