ILSN Establishes Mission and Goals

March 31, 2010

By Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan

A year ago the church wasn’t ready for it. But now with their first convention behind them, it was a time for a new beginning. The pastors and deaconesses together with other leaders in the church sat down on three separate occasions to consider their strengths, weaknesses and challenges in the light of Christ’s mission. The result of this activity was an ILSN Mission Statement and series of goals for the next two years.  

Recognizing the two-fold “mission” responsibility that Christ gave to his church and reflecting upon the Mission Statement of Lutheran Church–Canada, ILSN set as its Mission Statement the following:

Iglesia Luterana Sinodo de Nicaragua will, through its members, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that by the power of the Holy Spirit those who do not believe may come to faith and that those who believe might be strengthened in faith and life.

 In carrying out this mission, the Synod set the following goals.

 1. By the grace of God, ILSN will work to increase its membership by 100 persons per congregation.  

2. By the grace of God, each congregation will work towards having regular bible studies for women and men with a goal of doubling their present attendance.

3. By the grace of God, ILSN will seek to prepare an equal number of musicians for the church as there are pastors so that the use of music in public worship might be enhanced.

4. By the grace of God, ILSN working with LCC Mission will strive towards being an indigenous, self-supporting church body.

 The Synod Committee appointed working committees for evangelism, education and worship. Each Committee is now in the process of establishing their strategic plans and course of action. Responsibility for the fourth goal rests with LCC Mission-Nicaragua. The Mission has already begun work on business plans for the the establishment of “Small Businesses” in support of ILSN.

 In order that the pastors and deaconesses of the Synod might continue to grow in ministry, the Synod also added the following goals:

1. By the grace of God, our pastors and deaconesses will participate in 4 continuing education programs per year.  Although the Planning Session requested that the Synod Committee appoint a Continuing Education Committee to work with LCC Mission-Nicaragua in identifying course work that would benefit the Church, several areas were already identified by participants: Evangelism Strategy; Ministering to the Abused; The Christian Family; Managing time for work and family; Pastoral Care; Congregational Administration; A teaching practicum for teachers. The arranging of these programs remains the responsibility of LCC Mission-Nicaragua.

2. By the grace of God, our pastors and deaconesses will strive to develop a disciplined devotional life.  Both pastors and deaconesses spoke of times when they lacked in zeal for their work and often would not complete their tasks. While they recognized that some of this had to do with poor planning (and so the request for assistance in time management,) they expressed a greater concern for their own “walk with God.” Zeal comes from the Lord; He gives it through Word and Sacrament. We need to be people constantly in the Word.”  

Sitting on the outside, we might be tempted to say that Iglesia Luterana Sinbodo de Nicaragua has set an ambitious plan for this biennium. I don’t see it that way. The goals were already there in the hearts and minds of the church, but had not been individually identified. (Something like not seeing the trees for the forest.) The process helped the church to identify them and now by the grace of God with these goals in mind the church can move forward with singleness of purpose and godly zeal in proclaiming the Gospel so that by the power of the Holy Spirit those who do not believe may come to faith and that those who believe might be strengthened in faith and life.

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Connecting with people is key to outreach everywhere

March 6, 2010

By Dr. William Mundt

Bangkok, Thailand – Phase one of a two-week teaching trip to southeast Asia has now come to an end for me and seminarians Jeff Swords and Wayne Zhange from Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario. They are assisting me in teaching while broadening their own horizons in regards to overseas missions and cross-cultural outreach.

Dr. William Mundt (left) consults with Dr. Leonard Harms prior to a teaching session in Bangkok.

The first week of classes ended Friday afternoon, March 5, at the Lutheran Institute of Southeast Asia centred in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Len Harms, former LCC mission executive coordinates training opportunities out of that centre. Twelve Thai pastors and deaconesses spent the week training in basic evangelism, mission and apologetic principles based on the Bible and lessons from the early church, and the history of missions.

Their final assignment was presenting their own proposals for intensifying outreach activities in the areas where they serve. Projects they identified included support for seniors, craft and a home-based bakery instruction for housewives, special open-house events, concern for the Thai native population (the Akha) and so on. If all these methods sound familiar, it may be because they are much like what LCC pastors and congregations might do.

The sights, sounds, tastes, smells and scheduling (Thai time is different!) may vary, but ultimately outreach is about speaking the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the needs of people we connect with daily.

Throughout the Bible and mission history, such personal contacts have proven most successful. The challenge now is for those trained to become trainers for the next two years in the cities and villiages where they already serve. The goal is to train and equip and encourage their members to be a part of the local mission.

After prayers and fond farewells from these brothers and sisters in Christ, whom we now know as friends also, we depart for Cambodia where a large group of eager learners will soon arrive at the Chin Tong Guest House, Phnom Penh, for a similar class beginning Monday afternoon, March 8.

After that we return, in stages, to St. Catharines, exchanging +40 degree Celsius dry weather for somewhat cooler and wetter conditions at home.

Rev. Dr. William Mundt is a professor of theology at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario.


Beginnings in Telica

March 5, 2010

Wednesday Gathering

Back Yard Bible Study

  By Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan  

One thing that can be said to “visiting teams” is that sometimes God’s work really explodes after you go home. That is certainly true for the team from Redeemer Lutheran in Waterloo, Ontario who visited Nicaragua in January.  

 This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to visit with a new community of believers in the town of Telica, a town about 20 kilometres north of Leon.  When I arrived there were some twenty-five women and thirty children all gathered together in one member’s back yard.  Pastor Henry and Missionary Maximo were leading the adults in a bible study;  Deaconess Jeryll, Missionary Maximo’s wife had the children in another corner leading them in song.  We usually gather on Saturday’s for our study, Missionary Maximo said to me,  but they wanted to meet you and so a number from the community (those not working) have gathered again today. 

During our visit I learned how this community of believers had come into being.  Redeemer Lutheran was assisting Pastor Henry, Missionary Maximo and Jeryll in conducting Vacation Bible Schools in two congregations (Maranonal and La Cartonera) and an outreach station (Gracios a Dios). Apparently one family from Tilica had their children attend the V.B.S. program in Gracios a Dios. That family was so excited about what their children learned that they sent a letter to Missionary Maximo asking him to visit their home in Telica. 

Missionary Maximo tried to follow up on that letter, but could not find the family’s home. (There are no streets or addresses in Nicaragua) A second letter came several weeks later asking, (Missionary Maximo is laughing as he tells me) “Why haven’t you visited us yet?  Don’t you want to come?”  “Please come!” once again giving instructions.Well Missionary Maximo eventually did find the house where he was graciously welcomed. And each time he came back there were more people gathered to hear the Good News of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Why was I invited to visit on this particular day?  Missionary Maximo explained it in this way.  This community of believers in Telica wants to become an organized church. They know that there is only a river dividing them from Gracios a Dios (a farming community where Missionary Maximo has been doing work for about one year) and so they have worked together with members from this community to find a place where both communities might gather for worship together.  They have found that land. They want you to see it and to pray with them that one day they might have that land and a building too!

God's Acre

I don’t know if this land will be purchased or if there will ever be a little church built on it.  But this I do know.  Two children were introduced to Jesus at a V.B.S. and by God’s grace a new community of believers has come into being. God continues to do marvellous things; sometimes it even explodes!   


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