How do you picture a missionary’s work? A pastor in an old-time sun hat hacking through the undergrowth of a jungle somewhere? This is the very image that came to mind when I was preaching for the Reformation service at the Latvian congregation where we attend. On Reformation Day, we read from Romans 1, where Paul speaks of his desire to go to Rome to preach the Gospel among them (Rom. 1:15). Paul is the very definition of a missionary. And yet, he desired to go to a city where the Church was already present.
In reality, much of the Church’s mission efforts today are done in conjunction and partnership with other church bodies. Fellow Lutherans in other countries reach out to the LCMS and ask for missionary assistance. While it is true that some missionaries are out on their own in remote parts of the world, many of your LCMS missionaries are present in places where there are other Christians.
This may seem strange to you. How are we spreading the Gospel in these countries? It seems wasteful to plow ground that others have already worked. It may seem that way at first, but we must recognize that mission work in the last two centuries has largely become associated with colonization efforts. That very unfortunate connection in many people’s minds has hindered our ability to go into some places. But, by being invited in by existing churches, we are able to put boots on the ground and share the expertise of the LCMS and our pastors with others.
In this way, we can partner with other Christians to support their work. The efforts of indigenous Christians are typically more fruitful than the work of outsiders. I will never speak Latvian as well as the Latvians, but I can work with the Latvian pastors and the Latvian church to encourage them in their work. Additionally, I am able to help many others as well. Recently, I presented for the pastors of the Lutheran Church in Lithuania.
While there is an existing church body in many of the countries where we work, those churches are small and seek to expand their work. This is the work of the modern missionary: helping our local partners carry out their ministry. This is what a true partnership looks like. We don’t come in and tell them how to do everything, but we look for places where we can help and support.
In this way, the message of the Gospel is spread, and the bonds of friendship and fellowship among Christians are nurtured. That is a truly invaluable aspect of the mission work of the LCMS and one that I am humbled to be a part of. And I am thankful that you are a part of it as well through your support of LCMS missionaries like me and my family!
In Christ’s Service,
Quintin preaches in English from the pulpit, while Bishop Rinalds Grants translates the sermon, sentence by sentence, into Latvian during the Reformation service at Old St. Gertrude Lutheran Church in Rīga, Latvia.
The Cundiffs continue to reside in Latvia for another year!
Cundiff family updates
Our visas have been renewed for another year! We are truly blessed by Māra, who has been helping us with all of our visa and residency needs since we moved here last year. It is such a relief that she is in our corner to make the whole process relatively simple.
Quintin returned to Rīga from his Ph.D. intensives at long last, only to dive bhand by translating Quintin’s sermon sentence-by-sentence into Latvian for them.
Lindsay continues helping to manage the online courses for the Academy by assisting with instructor and student questions and troubleshooting the inevitable glitches that occur with anything related to technology. She is also gathering up student documentation required for when the Academy is ready to confer bachelor’s degrees to all the students in another year or so. Lindsay is still looking into a BSN program, as she needs to procure a preceptor for a few classes that will require some time in the States down the road.
Carter’s school has after-school clubs and activities that the students can sign up for, and Carter chose the cooking, Greek mythology, and literacy clubs. He has enjoyed these thoroughly so far, as he is able to get to know some of the teachers and students (often not from his own grade level) even better. ack into teaching, preaching, and writing. He continues to preach often during the English services twice monthly at St. John Lutheran Church in Old Rīga, but he was also asked to preach on Reformation Day at Old St. Gertrude, located not far from our apartment. This church does not have an English-speaking congregation, but the Bishop of Rīga was gracious enough to lend a
Sveiki (hello)! This month (October), I had my Fall Break and was able to hang out with a good friend of mine from school, who is from South Korea. I was very happy that Dad was able to take a break from work, and we went to a city a few hours away from Rīga by train. It was a great experience to have the day with him!
Have a wonderful month and stay warm during winter!
– Carter (age 12)
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
All the missionaries living and working across the globe.
The building of connections between Lutheran church bodies throughout Eurasia.
The students, instructors, and staff of Lutera Akadēmija as we continue the Fall Semester.
Our students who continue to deal with civil/political unrest and natural disasters in their home countries.
PRAISE GOD FOR:
The relative ease of obtaining our visas and the ability to remain in Latvia.
Our generous donors and prayer warriors, and the steadfast workers of Mission Central and Mission Advancement, without whom this mission would be impossible.
Written in Latvian
Latvia has a long and complicated history. The history of the written language, though, is a bit different.
While the ancient forms of the spoken language have been around for around 1500 years, it has been influenced over time by those of the conquering countries: Germany, Russia, Sweden, and others.
And yet, it was Luther’s Reformation that spurred the language to be written down for the first time. The earliest known examples of the written Latvian language are from 1530, when German Lutheran Pastor Nicolaus Ramme (or Nikolajs Ramms in Latvian) translated hymns and the orderof service into the local language. (This was around eight years after the ideas of the Reformation had reached Rīga!)
Above, you can see a page from the Latvian-language Gospels and Epistles in Latvian, published in 1615 in Rīga.
Please prayerfully continue or consider partnering with the LCMS to support the work of Quintin Cundiff and his family.
Make checks payable to: The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod PO Box 66861 St. Louis, MO 63166-6861
Mission Central 40718 Highway E 16 Mapleton, IA 51034
On the memo line include: Cundiff – Latvia Give securely from any device: https://www.lcms.org/givenow/cundiff Text LCMSCUNDIFF to 41444 Call a donor care representative: 888-930-4438