Wow! Unbelievable! Praise the Lord! One only had to attend the 50th convention of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) this past weekend at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to realize that the fever for doing mission work is alive and well. Some 2,700 people attended the opening worship service on Thursday night; most of them also took the Lord’s Supper. An offering of $32, 454.05 was collected during the service. There were 1,756 people registered for the convention with 448 of them attending a LWMS convention for the first time. There were the inspiring missionary speakers, both from home and abroad, who held us spellbound, often evoking a standing ovation.

 

One of the missionary speakers was Pastor Pheng Moua, a Hmong pastor from St. Paul, Minnesota. What a story he had as he took us on a trip through his life from Cambodia and Thailand to the U.S.A.; from heathenism to Christianity; from being a lay member of a church to being a Lutheran pastor in fellowship with us. Most of his family and relatives are also in the Lutheran church, except his father – his father is still a shaman (witchdoctor) practicing among the Hmong people in the St. Paul, Minnesota area. Through use of Word and Sacrament, his church is growing!

 

Another speaker was Missionary Terry Schultz, working in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This truly touched Karen and I, since we lived there and worked in both countries. Missionary Schultz is working in the Leogan area of Haiti among 6 orphanages – this area was the epicenter of the devastating earthquake that struck that country in 2010. It touched our hearts to see pictures of all of those young children being fed one meal a day – and those meals provided through WELS missions; to see them studying simple Bible lessons; to see over 100 of those children baptized and becoming members of God’s Kingdom, the Holy Christian Church.

 

I could continue for pages, but at this time I won’t. I’ll offer you some insight into the workshops Karen and I attended at the convention in my next blog. Instead I want to focus on us and what mission fervor the Word can work in us. Jesus said to his disciples and to you and me: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We are his ambassadors, we can and should be reaching out with the Word to family, friends and neighbors, we can invite, or better yet, bring them to church and to the foot of the cross to be immersed in God’s Word. Is that something you are doing regularly? And for those places we cannot go – Haiti, Russia, Africa, etc. – our mission offerings will help get that word out into our community and into the world.

 

What an experience it was for Karen and me to attend that 50th convention of the LWMS. I invite your comments and questions! Until next time when I’ll blog about the LWMS mission projects and workshops, may our gracious Lord continue to hold you in his hand, strengthen you in your faith, and send you out as his ambassadors.

 

In the service of our Lord,

Pastor Ron Baerbock