New Focus Based On Tried and True Patterns

During the past several months I have been shifting into a new direction and focus under my new title and responsibility: Asia Lutheran Resource Coordinator. This came about in the process of careful consideration with our Asia regional director, when it became clear that, with a surge in interest for Lutheran resources, there was a necessity for overarching attention to providing resources of theology and worship so critically needed for continuing ministry in the mission parishes and for theological instruction in Asia. 


This month, my new focus led me to become reacquainted with the history and patterns of early mission work regarding Lutheran resources of theology and worship––in Japan–– where my father, Rev. Robert Jastram, served before me from 1953-1976.  It was through a review of his personal missionary archives, and the specifically tailored LCMS Japan missionary training course he took in St. Louis, that I too came to focus on fundamental missionary questions:


  • Do they have God’s Word in their own language? 
  • Do they have hymns or liturgy for their worship? 
  • Do they have catechisms and other resources for instruction in the faith? 
  • Do they have to learn English so they can use the English resources already available—OR—does the missionary learn their language and help to provide, in their language, the theological and worship resources so critically needed for healthy churches and church bodies?


Early Japanese Bible, Catechism, Liturgy & Hymnal


The answer to the first two questions, in Japan back when my father asked them, “Do they have God’s Word in their own language? Do they have hymns or liturgy for their worship?”, was that the Bible, hymns, and liturgy were already available in the Japanese language through the work of previous Lutheran missionaries. But, the need for a reliable Lutheran catechism was just at the verge of fulfillment through the translation work and coordination of Rev. George Shibata, the first LCMS Japanese-American missionary to Japan. George served in Japan for 53 years, from 1949 until his death in 2002. He, along with the whole Literature Committee of the LCMS Japan mission at the time, focused first on the primary need for Sunday School material, then very shortly after, on the need for a reliable Lutheran catechism to use for instruction in faith, baptism, and church membership. That Japanese catechism passed through its first printing in 1952, a second edition in 1957, and a third in 1965. Later, when the LCMS 1991 Catechism appeared, George—while in retirement—completed its translation also into Japanese in 1998, with a following edition in 1999, and a final edition appearing in 2005, three years after his death.


As you may have noted, my excitement about Lutheran resources for Asia has grown exponentially as I delve into the particulars of my new direction and focus––making resources like these available throughout Asia. As the process for organizing and funding these resources of Lutheran theology and worship becomes more developed, I will certainly keep you informed of how your partnership, prayers, and project funds can accomplish together what seems monumental individually.


Dan visits his elderly friend, Genji at his nursery (pre-COVID)


Today We Pay Respects

Did you know? Japan leads the world for people over 65––thirty-six million––comprising 29% of the population. And to accompany this fact they have a wonderful national holiday, “Respect For the Aged” Day, a time for people to visit their elders and pay their respects every September. Maybe you might want to take some time today also to call that elderly friend or relative?  (Ephesians 6:2,3)


Thanks, Praise and Prayers

This month we would like to give a special thanks our TIM (Together In Mission) congregations who have pledged their ongoing support for LCMS mission work in Asia. Thank you, thank you! 


We Praise God for:

  • God’s  blessings of His clear teaching as witnessed in our Catechism.
  • Concord in doctrine and practice as we work with various partner church bodies.


And ask prayers for: 

  • The continuing diligent work of St. Louis Executive Director Daniel McMiller and his staff in LCMS Missionary Support, and Asia Regional Director Charles Ferry.
  • Patience and strength for accomplishing long-term goals for Asia Lutheran resources.


With God’s love and grace,
Dan and Joan



Thank you for your prayers and support ~Joan and Dan Jastram


More than ever, the world needs the saving Word of Jesus Christ.  With your partnership we can continue this work. We encourage you to support, continue, or increase your financial support  online through our secure LCMS website:

As a congregation, you can also support us by adding us to your congregation’s mission budget as a Together in Mission partner. (Call 888-930-4438 for details.) 



 Tax-deductible gifts can also be mailed to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861

Make checks payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod or LCMS. Include “Jastram–Asia” in the memo line.

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Rev. Dr. Daniel Jastram





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