Sep 1, 2020

A house of prayer for all the nations

Baptism of Jose Miguel Albarran Pumar.José Miguel Albarran Pumar was baptized on on August 16, 2020, the 10th Sunday after Trinity. Since 2005, 23 people have been baptized at our mission. Of those baptized, 11 have received their first communion here.

The sermon text was Luke 19:41-48, which is St. Luke’s account of the cleaning of the Temple by Jesus. I noted that the Israelites in the Old Testament had a special place, a house for all the people to come together for worship, prayer and thanksgiving to the Lord. In the beginning that place was a tent, built in front of Mount Sinai under the direction of Moses. This tabernacle served the people on their pilgrimage in the desert. When the people of Israel entered the Promised Land, the tabernacle remained for many years in the city of Shiloh, then in Jerusalem. King Solomon replaced the tabernacle with the first temple of wood and stone a thousand years before Christ. At Epiphany Lutheran Mission, we worshipped first under a roofed patio, but now we have a beautiful chapel. Like the Temple of Jerusalem, this is a house of prayer for those of all nations who worship in Spirit and in truth. For us, the house of the Lord is wherever the Word is preached in its purity and the sacraments administered according to the Lord’s command. It is a special place because the Lord Himself has invited us to gather at an appointed place and time to receive His gifts (Hebrews 10:25). Our bodies also are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corintios 6:19). As our Lord cleared the moneylenders from the Temple, he cleanses our bodies and renews us in spirit through holy baptism. The church, both as the assembly of believers and place where believers assemble, belongs to Christ. He is the One who sustains it and has promised to keep it until His coming.

Thank you, LeadaChild.
Distribution of food from LeadaChild

That same Sunday we distributed foodstuffs to 27 families, thanks to support from LeadaChild, a mission society based in Olathe, Kansas and dedicated to supporting Christian education around the world. We have received financial support from LeadaChild since 2006. In the past, we have distributed donations from LeadaChild as “scholarships” for students in our preschool and Luz Maria’s afterschool tutoring sessions. That is to say, as cash for the families to buy school supplies, clothing and food. This time around we purchased food
items in bulk, in order to get better value for our rapidly devaluing Venezuelan currency. Dividing the currency among the families would mean each household would get less than if we bought the food in one purchase. We were able to do this because of the automobile that we purchased with other donations this past year. Thanks to the car, we drove to the food distribution point anNury de Milian.d brought the food back to the mission.

On Saturday, August 8, we participated in a Zoom videoconference with Nury de Millian, LeadaChild director for Latin America. We listened to presentations on how to reopen Christian schools during the pandemic, testimony from a COVID-19 survivor, and advice from the Rev. Abdiel Orozco Aguirre, the pastor of Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) Lutheran Church in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and a immunohematologist.

LeadaChild was founded in 1968 as Children’s Christian Concern Society (CCCS) by Jim and Edie Jorns as agricultural missionaries to the Zacapa region of Guatemala. Their idea was to build a boarding house next to the new Lutheran school in Zacapa so that poor children would receive proper care while attending at the school. Jim and

Edie diligently gathered support from friends, family, and church members in their home state of Kansas. Throughout the years, CCCS grew to provide support to project sites in five world regions – Guatemala, Central America and Haiti, South America, West Africa, and Asia – and also supports an afterschool program in Bethlehem. The organization’s name was changed to LeadaChild in 2013.

Luz Maria and Phil Frusti.
I had heard of the Jorns’ mission work in the 1980s, when I was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Topeka, Kansas, the congregation in which Edie was raised. Luz Maria and I were privileged to meet Jim and Edie in 2006. Last fall we met Dr. Philip J. Frusti, the current executive director of LeadaChild, in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Frusti, a Lutheran teacher and former school principal, graduated from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Pray for recovery

 

We praise the Lord that Yepci Santana, Luz Maria’s daughter, is recovering from COVID-19 in Lima, Peru. Other members of Luz Maria’s family, with who we have not had face-to-face contact are recovering as well. Also in Peru, Kalen Yolanda Incata Fernández, wife of Martin Osmel Soliz Bernal, a pastor with the LCMS Mission in Lima, was diagnosed with COVID-19 after giving birth to her first child. Also, we should remember Diana Malik, a Global Lutheran Outreach missionary, who has lost 11 members of her extended family to COVID-19 in Kazakhstan. Holy and mighty Lord, who has promised, “no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent” (Psalm 91:10), we beseech You to hear our cry for those who are suffering and dying under the visitation of COVID-19. Mercifully bless the means which are used to stay the spread of the pandemic, strengthen those who labor to heal and comfort the afflicted, support those who are in pain and distress, speedily restore those who have been brought low, and unto all who are beyond healing grant Your heavenly consolation and Your saving grace, through Jesus Christ, Your only Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.