Just_Latin America_Mar2020

The Just Missionary Newsletter

February/March 2020

This newsletter began a few weeks ago on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple.  When Simeon held the 40 day old Jesus in his arms, he declared that this little baby was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”  Here is the mission of the church to Gentiles and Jews, here is the great theme of Epiphany.  That Jesus was born to be a light to all people, to all nations.  In the Transfiguration Jesus gives us a glimpse of our heavenly destiny, the greatest of all Epiphanies. Now that we’ve turned our face to Jerusalem, we prepare ourselves to celebrate the light of Christ in his resurrection.

This fall and in this new year of 2020 I witnessed how our region is a light among people who speak Spanish.  In my role as Associate Executive Director of Regional Operations in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain (LAC) I was able to witness first-hand how the missionaries in our region are fulfilling the mission statement of LAC which has now been adopted as the mission statement of LCMS International Mission, that is,

Spread the Gospel.
Plant Lutheran Churches.
Show Mercy.

Our new logo shows how we are reaching out to all ends of the earth:

 

 

Our logo is based on the Jerusalem cross which has always had special meaning for me, as it represents the two major accents in my professional life — as a seminary professor of the New Testament focused on the Gospels, especially Luke (and Acts!), and as a missionary focused in theological education.  The Jerusalem cross above in black and red represents the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the four small crosses) with Christ in the center (the large cross) that also broadcasts the Gospel by missionaries to the four corners of the world (again, the four small crosses).

In our LAC logo, we have taken this same Jerusalem cross that represents the four Gospels and the mission to the four corners of the world and added our regional focus — LAC — Latin America, the Caribbean (and Spain). 

 

 

 

 

Here is a short summary of my participation in the mission of the LAC region since my last newsletter:
 

September 2019
 

FORO Montréal – September 2019 

  • Montréal is served by our Area Facilitator Pastor Charles St. Onge, and since they are a French-speaking city they are Latin based . . . so, in a sense, they are a part of Latin America!
  • The congregation served by Pastor St. Onge is a member of the SELC district (the Slovac Evangelical Lutheran Church) a non-geographical district of the LCMS.
  • Attended the first FORO In Montréal (FORO is Forum in English for bringing together partners who will contribute to the work of the mission).
  • Presented a paper entitled “Fellowship, Theology, and Missions.”
  • Collaboration happening between the SELC, congregations in the Lutheran Church of Canada, the evangelism boards of both the LCMS and the Lutheran Church of Canada, and support from region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

 


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FORO Dominican Republic 

  • Participated in the FORO for the region
  • Taught a class on pastoral care and suffering to residential students and distance students – almost 30 students and their wives in all.
  • Participated in the ordination of Yban Navarro from the Dominican Republic and a student from our seminary in the DR (he is our third Dominican pastor).

 

 


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Christ Lutheran Church, Normal, Illinois

  • Presentation on “The Church and Her Mission in Acts” for the saints at Christ Lutheran.
  • Preached at Christ Lutheran for St. Michael and All Angels and taught bible class about our work in LAC and Spain.

 

 


October 2019

OIM St. Louis

  • Meetings and consultations with the staff at the International Center (IC) in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Preached at the chapel at the IC.

 

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Immanuel Lutheran Church, Murphysboro, Illinois

  • Preached on Luke 17:1-10 at Immanuel and presented about our work in LAC and Spain at bible class. 

 

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Spain

  • Visitations in Madrid on behalf of the Lutheran church in Madrid.
  • Attended the Asamblea (annual meeting for all the members of the church in Spain) outside Toledo, preached at Matins during the Asamblea, participated in the ordination of Felipe Lobo, a Spaniard and former Presbyterian pastor, and the installation of Felipe and Isaac Machado, a graduate of our seminary in the DR and an Alliance missionary to Spain from Venezuela.
  • Visitation to members in northern Spain in Oviedo, Bilbao, and Logroño.

 

 

 

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OIM Meetings in Wittenberg, Germany

  • Served as chaplain of all services during the meetings of OIM in Wittenberg.
  • Attended all meetings with President Harrison in attendance, with a very special tour of Wittenberg by him to the delight of everyone.

 

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FORO Belize

  • Attended my first FORO in Belize and my first opportunity to see the work we are doing in Belize.
  • Rejoiced with the Belize missionary society over the work of Pr. Herbert Burch and his wife Markie, missionaries to Belize, as well as Vicar Benjamin from Bolivia and his wife Katrina, who is from Norway.
  • Participated in the dedication of a new church in Seine Beight, Belize.

 

 

November 2019


FORO México in Harlingen, Texas

  • Collaboration was the keynote sounded throughout the FORO.
  • Partners in the United States and México were well represented.
  • Revival of the Lutheran Church in México in the past five years is nothing short of miraculous.
  • Theological education is now firmly rooted in the ethos of the Mexican synod.
  • LCMS missionaries Andrew Schlund and Dan Conrad represented themselves well.
  • Translation devices crucial to the success of the FORO.
  • Arthur Rickman, missionary from Panama and Area Facilitator for Central America, provided solid leadership and spear-headed the translations.
  • Pr. Ted Krey, Area Director, gave another excellent summary and way forward for the FORO and her work.

 

 

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FORO Chile

  • This was my first visit to the church in Chile and a chance to see the work of the church and also how they have responded to the natural disasters that have struck Chile in the past years (fire and earthquake).
  • Presented a paper at the FORO on “Visitas: La sangre vital del evangelismo y cuidado pastoral” (“Visitations: the lifeblood of evangelism and pastoral care”).
  • Pastor Christian Rautenberg gave a spirited report on the history of the church in Chile to which he has dedicated his life for over 22 years.
  • Reports from the Chilean pastors on the five mission centers was very informative about the character of the Chilean Lutheran mission.
  • The dedication of the new church building for the saints at “Cordero De Dios” in Talca demonstrated the character of this mission led by Bishop Omar Kinas and Pr. Christian Rautenberg.
  • Excellent liturgy and singing by over 120 members with people spilling out of the back of the church.
  • Alongside the dedication of the new building was the celebration of 65 years of ministry in the Chilean Lutheran mission.
  • Fellowship with the saints was sublime — lots of affection, gifts, joy all around.
  • Church planting spirit alive and well in Chile among the missionaries from Argentina and the Chilean pastors.
  • Visit to the church at Valparaiso and the city itself was humbling.  Pastor Rautenberg explained that because of the fires and the earthquakes people are taking out their frustrations in riots and by destroying the many supermarkets that serve the greater community.  The anger and frustration from their suffering is evident when you see how they live and what they have endured.
  • The LCMS disaster community center is strong on a Lutheran presence in the community — the pastor, deaconess, and vicar live here — but short on space for liturgy, bible study, and counsel.  But it is in the center of the community, a perfect place to reach out to the community, and close to Concordia School and the “Espíritu Santo” (Holy Spirit) congregation.
  • Visited the Concordia School and “Espíritu Santo” congregation that form the basis for significant outreach.  
  • Visited a Medical clinic housed in containers that serves over 8000 people.
  • Mercy/Disaster money would be well spent in opening up another clinic.
  • Disaster relief’s presence in Chile has been crucial and strategic, and mercy/disaster work is directly linked to planting churches.

 

 

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BOLIVIA!!!!

  • The day we were to travel to Bolivia, the president of the country abdicated and left the country, resulting in riots and violence.  The State department warned us not to travel to Bolivia, as did the leaders in our church in Bolivia, so we were not able to visit the church at this time.

 

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Uruguay

  • Uruguay was a highlight of my trip to South America.  
  • There is a Lutheran ethos in the primary and secondary schools.
  • Visited the watch factory that they are turning into a high school and first year of college.
  • Affirmed my membership on the board of the Fundación Educacional Concordia (FEC) as an advisory member.  FEC oversees the work in the pre-school, elementary school, high school, and the upcoming university. 
  • Attended the graduation service of the high school where they sang a Mighty Fortress, which in Spanish is “Castillo Fuerte,” and as the high school is housed in a castle, the chaplain preached on the hymn and Psalm 46.  This is the last year the high school will be in the castle.
  • Attended confirmation at San Pablo congregation in Montevideo where Ambrose, the son of Pr. James Sharp who is the LCMS missionary in Uruguay and Area Facilitator for South America, was confirmed. 

 

 

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Argentina

  • Visit to the seminary in Buenos Aires with the seminary professors.  President Arturo Truenow of the Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Argentina (IELA) presided and asked the question about competition and/or collaboration between Buenos Aires seminary and Santiago seminary.  
  • This is the first time I have visited the seminary campus in Buenos Aires since we completed our work with the seminary on the distance education curriculum.
  • Visited the Synodical office of IELA for the first time.  A cordial conversation resulted in a request by IELA for help with some of their mission projects.  
  • OIM will be able to help the Argentinian church in their church planting endeavors, and even offer some small scholarships for their students.

 

 

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Yselta Lutheran Mission (YLM) in El Paso, Texas

  • San Pablo is a historic campus.  The church was used by General Pershing when he was fighting against Pancho Villa.  
  • It has many buildings, including a dormitory and a cafeteria.  A medical clinic is housed on the campus.  It is a huge resource for the church.
  • The dormitory and cafeteria are used to house 24 Servant Events a year at YLM.
  • San Pablo and YLM are dedicated to planting churches and showing mercy.  This is evident in every aspect of their life.
  • Pastors Karl and Steven Heimer are incredibly dedicated, humble servants who serve in a very challenging context.
  • Visited the churches in the outskirts Juárez, México, attending an afternoon service at San Lucas.  
  • San Lucas is an older facility that needs maintenance because of the cartel wars in Juárez between 2008 and 2012.  But these trying times increased the mission and outreach of the church in the troubled neighborhoods.
  • With members of San Lucas Lutheran Church we distributed blankets to the immigrants in Chamizal park in Juárez on the border with the USA.  The immigrants were from México (Michoacán, Guerrero, and Oaxaca), although a few months ago they were from Honduras, Guatemala, and Cuba.  There were over 180 families.  They received the blankets in the name of the Lutheran Church in Juárez, as an expression of the mercy of Jesus Christ.  Most of them were Roman Catholics.  The tent camp was well organized.  The immigrants preferred to stay in the camp instead of other housing because there was a list of people who were in line to enter the USA and they did not want to lose their place.  About two families enter the USA every day.  Most had been in the camp about two months.  This mercy to immigrants is an ongoing ministry of YLM, that is complicated by Mexican laws about how much food/clothing/blankets may be brought into México.

 

 

January 2020


Regional Meeting of LAC in Belize 

  • Attended the biannual meeting of LAC in Belize on the compound of Pr. Hebert Burch and his wife Markie who have given part of there property to OIM as a camp for short-term teams and for meetings.
  • On the second day of the meeting, the earthquake hit Puerto Rico, so Pr. Ted Krey, Pr. Charles St. Onge, and Pr. James Sharp left to assist the team in Puerto Rico.
  • Our mission team in Puerto Rico were the first responders to the earthquake centered In Ponce where we have a church and other facilities.
  • In the first week after the first earthquake, there were over 1000 tremors in Puerto Rico.
  • Regional Mission Manager Blake Warren and I took over the leadership of the meeting with Pr. Krey absent.
  • Touring mission sites in Belize on the final day gave the Regional team a good sense of the mission work in Belize.

 

 

February 2020


FORO Panamá 

  • Visited the Iglesia Evangélica Luterana de Panamá (IELPA) for the second time (first visit in 2015 for a Luther Academy on “Pastoral Theology in Luke-Acts”).
  • Attended the FORO that discussed the historic ministry in Panamá and visited the mission sites:
    • The historic church El Redentor (The Redeemer) in Balboa, Panamá City in the center of the Canal district that dates from the 1940s.  The building is in need of serious repairs, but there is a plan in place to restore this beautiful building.
    • The congregation in Loma Cova that serves Panamanians as well as the Cuna indigenous people.
    • The congregation in Sorá that is in the country about an hour and a half outside of Panamá City.
    • The congregation in Los Andes that is part of Panamá City.
  • Prs. Arthur Rickman and Brian Gauthier are the LCMS missionaries in Panamá, and the the congregations are also served by Pr. Patricio, a Panamanian, and Pr. Alejandro, a Chilean, as well as served by President of the church, Ken Peterson, a retired lifelong missionary to Panamá and Latin America.

 

 

 

Please click on the link below to a photo gallery of the people and events in LAC to see some of the things that have been happening in LAC this fall. 
 

 

 


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I will continue to work half-time with CTSFW and half-time with OIM for two and half more years until the summer of 2022, so we continue to ask for your prayers and for your support for our work to cover half my salary and benefits (CTSFW covers the other half).  Please consider a gift to our work in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain in this new calendar year so that we can be funded for next year.  

We would also be delighted to visit your congregation to thank you for your support and your prayers.

All of this could not happen without your most generous support and your prayers — thank you!  


Ever in Christ,


Arthur and Linda Just

 

 

 


Arthur Just Missionary · The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod · P.O. Box 66861 · St. Louis, MO 63166-6861 · USA

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