Partners in Mission

By Linda Macqueen

‘Mission is not about written reports: it is about people and hearts and the saving grace of Jesus. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.’ The LCA supports a variety of mission partnerships in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sabah, China and Cambodia. These include supporting theological education through scholarships, support […]

‘Mission is not about written reports: it is about people and hearts and the saving grace of Jesus. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.’

The LCA supports a variety of mission partnerships in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sabah, China and Cambodia. These include supporting theological education through scholarships, support for orphanages and homes for people with disabilities, scholarships for pastors’ children in PNG, mission outreach to ethnic groups in Indonesia and Malaysia, and translation of Christian literature and education materials.

Pastor Neville Otto said, ‘A key area of overseas partnership is the support for the theological training and education of pastors and lay workers from overseas partner churches. This is achieved through scholarships to study at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) and through visits by ALC lecturers to lead seminars and lecture in the seminaries of partner churches.

‘We believe that God has gifted us and is calling us to provide theological and spiritual capacity-building for local partner church leaders.’

The human face of these projects was brought to life in Glenice Hartwich’s presentation to Synod. Glenice passionately told the stories of some of the people and communities that the LCA has worked with over the last few years, often in partnership with other church departments and congregations.

Glenice touched hearts with stories of struggle, hardship and hope from mission projects around the world. She talked about building the capacity of schools to deliver Christian education in Muslim societies; about giving hope to farmers struggling with poverty, as they learn new methods for organic farming that help to free them from the debt cycle to their landlords; and about the ‘revolving pig’ and ‘revolving cow’ programs, which help communities to grow their own livestock and share it with other needy communities.

‘All of this helps people to gain an understanding of God’s love in action and through Christian teaching in the programs that have been initiated’, Glenice said.

As a result of the deadly tsunami of 2004 and the difficulty the Indonesian churches experienced in responding to the crisis, the LCA has been overseeing the Strengthening Chruches for Service in Indonesia program.

Glenice said that this program, made possible by a generous gift from the Lutheran Laypeople’s League, is assisting the partner churches in Indonesia to ‘strengthen in their capacity to live out the gospel in a predominantly Muslim society through effective programs of service to the wider community’.

The key focus of the program is the development of the Centre for Community Development at Nommensen University in Siantar in Sumatra, which is now attracting support from churches and development agencies worldwide.

‘While financial support is essential, a partnership in mission involves more than money’, Pastor Otto said, and the LCA has continued to encourage and support people to serve part-time with overseas partner churches.

‘It has been encouraging to support a growing number of people – thirty three in the past three years – who have given their time and abilities to serve in various ways and places, and personally touch lives with the love of Jesus.’

He said that the LCA is also keen to work with pastors and congregations to help them make connections with overseas partners, provide guidelines for safe practice and offer ongoing support which is built on extensive past experience in overseas partnerships.

‘These life-changing ventures continue to go hand-in-hand with our “mission at home”, said Pastor Otto. ‘People returning to Australia from these experiences do so with fresh eyes and a renewed sense of calling to the mission of God here.’

You and your congregation can become personally involved in the mission of God here in Australia and overseas. When we work together, both locally and globally, God can do so much!


Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

 

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About the Author : Erin Kerber


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