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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gift From IELA and Mission Song

President Harrison Displays Gift from IELA

"The Just Will Live By Faith" -- Romans 1:17

President Emeritus Edgardo Elseser, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina (IELA), sent this plaque back to the United States as gift to President Harrison. "The Just Live By Faith."

The theme of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina's convention was "Servants in Mission." At the convention, the choir sang the anthem, "Vivamos para compartir." The musical arrangement for this anthem was prepared by Sergio Friztler, the Rector of the Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires. 

Vivamos para compartir

Everyone who attended the assembly/convention of the IELA received the plaque below.

After returning from Santa Elena, I had the opportunity to go with Missionary Ted Krey to a library in Buenos Aires. In the library was the portrait of Jesus with the Woman at the Well.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

IELA Convention Update

President Emeritus Edgardo Eleaser (IELA), President Elect Carlos Nagel (IELA), abc3+, Pastor Ted Krey (LCMS Latin America Regional Director)

Yesterday (26 March 2011) the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina elected Carlos Nagel to be their new President. Today, at the Divine Service, the outgoing president -- Edgardo Eleaser who served two terms -- installed Carlos Nagel as President. Coming from the Missouri Synod, I found it rather striking for the former president (who was term limited) to install the new president. Coming from the Missouri Synod, I also found it amazing that the installation service was the next day.

After the service I commented on this to the now President Emeritus Edgardo Eleaser. He replied, "In the past some elections had been contentious and tensions would run high at the installation. It is easy when you agree on the Confessions and when you are moving in the same direction."

Wise words.

President Carlos Nagel gave a very humble acceptance speech in which he said you get what you see and that I am really nothing, but it is Christ who works through our weaknesses.

Santa Elena is a town along the river.

Now I don't mean to paint the IELA as a perfect church. No she isn't. She is truly a sister of Missouri, struggling with many of trials that we do. It is a church under the cross that is attempting to remain faithful to the Scriptures and the Confessions. But there is a good spirit among her pastors.

Barbecue photos

After the installation there was an Argentinean Barbecue with 400 kilos of meat. After the barbecue nearly all the meat was gone.

Picture of the Roman Catholic church in Santa Elena, Argentina.

Pastor James Fandrey of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation also attended the IELA's convention. It was good to spend a few days getting to know him and to discuss how LHF and the LCMS could partner better.

After the service and barbecue, Missionary Ted Krey and I took at 3 hour taxi ride to Santa Fe to the airport. Once at the airport, we learned our flight had been canceled. Now we need to take the bus to Buenos Aires... One of the downsides of travel.

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Location:Ruta Nacional 11,,Argentina

Friday, March 25, 2011

Servants in Mission - The Convention Theme IELA

The convention stage in Santa Elena, Argentina. The theme for the convention is service in mission. The convention opened with a devotion based off of Acts 1:8, "you will be my witnesses..."

Cristian Rautenberg, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile, and Deaconess Valario who works in Paraguay, hold a clock that says, "My times are in your hands." Psalm 31:15. This clock was made by the IELCHI because of the earthquake in Chile and LCMS WR-HC's response to it.

The Lutheran church in Chile greatly appreciated the LCMS' response to the earthquake last year.

The dog that wandered off the street and decided to lay at my feet during the convention.

Other local creatures...

A building along the street on way to the convention ...

More later

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Location:Ruta Nacional 12,,Argentina

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Concordia Seminary, Buenos Aires Argentina

Rector Sergio Fritzler and abc3+ (Pastor Ted Krey taking picture)

Notice involvement of the Lehenbauer family who were also active in Brazil and the Missouri Synod.

The theme of the convention for the Lutheran Church in Argentina (IELA).

The church year chart.

Every church needs a barbecue.

We had barbecue for lunch.

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Location:Au. Rosario - Santa Fe,,Argentina

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan Update

KFUO Radio Update on Japan

Collver Japan Update.mp3

Right click above button and do "save as"

This morning I gave an update on the LCMS' response to the disaster in Japan and a brief update on LCMS personnel and the Lutheran churches in Japan. The LCMS is running a Japan Update Page:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

LCMS Witness (Mission) in Palmar Arriba

Missionary Rev. Ted Krey,
LCMS Regional Director of Latin America

Missionary Ted Krey, LCMS Regional Director for Latin America, describes the mission work in Palmar Arriba, Dominican Republic. Pastor Krey is standing outside of Concordia Lutheran School. It currently has about 80 students with the goal of 200 students by the Fall. Ted Krey works with LCMS Missionary Danelle Putnam, Missionary Pastor Walter Ries from Brazil, and Pastor Willie Gaspar who was ordained this past Sunday. Ted also supervises Vicar Adrian Solis. Ted and his Dominican Mission Team are doing great work and combine witness (Gospel proclamation) with mercy (human care) to have life together in the church.

Kissayris, Principal of Concordia Lutheran School
Concordia Lutheran School, Palmar Arriba
Children in Palmar Arriba
Baseball Stadium in Palmar Arriba

Dr. Jack Preus and Rev. Danial Preus
Tour Concordia Lutheran School

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ordination at Amigos de Cristo in Dominican Republic

Rev. Daniel Preus, 4th Vice-President of LCMS, Ted Krey, and Walter Ries
Laying hands on Willy de la Rosa Gaspar
Yesterday on 13 March 2011, we participated in the ordination of Willy de la Rosa Gaspar, the first Lutheran pastor ordained in the Dominican Republic. The service was held at "Amigos de Cristo" (Friends of Christ) Evangelical Lutheran Church, where Pastor Gaspar was called. 

Rev. Sergio Fritzler, Argentina
Pastor Sergio Fritzler, President of the Lutheran Seminary in Argentina, preached on Matthew 20:18-20. At the very end of the sermon, a partnership agreement between the LCMS and our sister church in Argentina was signed for joint theological education and mission work in the Dominican Republic.

Part of the Ordination Rite
Willy Gaspar in the ordination rite, pledged himself to the canonicity of the Old and New Testaments. He confessed the ecumenical creeds and pledged himself to the Book of Concord.

At Willy Gaspar's ordination, the congregation sang, "Sostennos Firmes," Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word.

Twenty-one clergy present for Willy Gaspar's Ordination
A number of people were present at this joyous celebration, I am afraid I would fail at listing all of the names but Mario Lehenbauer from Brazil, John Willie, DP South Wisconsin District, Jack Preus, Daniel Preus, Carlos Hernandez, Timothy Quill, Albert Collver, David Birner, and others...

Al Collver and David Birner
David Birner who is the Interim-Executive Director of World Mission attended Willy Gaspar's ordination. Dave was here visiting Ted Krey, Regional Director for the LCMS in Latin America.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lutherans in Japan and the Earthquake and LCMS Resources

Areas Affected by Earthquake in Japan

As anyone who has access to world news knows, Japan had a devastating earthquake of 8.9 (some reports upgrading it to 9.1) yesterday 11 March 2011, predominately affecting the city of Sendai. More destruction was caused by the tsunami and now the Fukushima nuclear power plant is facing difficulties with reports of radiation leaks and an explosion. While the death toll is officially low for a disaster of this magnitude, officially at this time around 1,000, reports of 10,000 or more people missing are now being reported.
Whirlpool created by tsunami after earthquake in Japan
At this early stage of the diaster, the situation can change rapidly. The LCMS has missionaries in Japan and there are a couple of Lutheran churches in Japan, one of which the Japanese Lutheran Church (NRK) is a partner with the Missouri Synod. Yesterday, we determined that our missionaries were safe as is the staff of our partner church (read the report from the LCMS website).

Yesterday, we had an hour and a half conference call led by President Harrison with LCMS staff located worldwide (with a good portion of the staff who respond to disasters located in the Dominican Republic for the 5th anniversary of the LCMS' mission work there.) President Harrison began the meeting with prayer for those affected by the earthquake in Japan, for LCMS missionaries, and for our partner church and other Lutheran churches in Japan. He pledged to assist Lutherans in Japan as well as their neighbors as appropriate and according to the ability and capacity of the LCMS. Below is a bulletin insert suitable for use in church from the LCMS.

Pastor Makito Masaki, a Lutheran pastor and President of the Kobe Lutheran Theological Seminary in Kobe, Japan, reported by email:

First of all, Kobe is located far enough from the northeast Japan
where the earthquakes and tsunamis hit repeatedly yesterday.
I have been busy gathering information whether my friends are safe or not.
There are few people who have not responded to my e-mails, but there
can be situations that they lost their access to the internet

Towns and villages, and even good size of cities have been destroyed
and wiped away because of the earthquakes and tsunamis.
It is said that the earthquakes that we are still experiencing since
yesterday are very rare and unusual ones for its size and

At least three big earthquakes occurred consecutively, that made the
coastline as long as 300 km has experienced the vast and fatal damage.
We now know the nuclear power plants in that area have problems of
heat and burst, and people around the area have been evacuated.
So, the suffering is just started and even the earthquakes are not yet settled.
We are working on gathering ideas of how we can help and encourage people there.
Pray for congregations in the area that spend the first Sunday after
the Ash Wednesday tomorrow.

Makito Masaki
The Japan Lutheran Church (NRK) is the partner church of the LCMS in Japan. 


The mission of the Japan Lutheran Church officially began in September 1948 when The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod World Mission installed the first missionary to Japan and declared the start of the Japan Mission. In 1968, the self-governing Japan Lutheran Church was established and it became self-supporting in 1976. The JLC maintains a close relationship with LCMS through joint projects based on mission cooperation. JLC celebrated its 50th mission anniversary in September 1998. (From the ILC Website). 

The President of the Japan Lutheran Church is Rev. Yutaka Kumei. The church has about 3,000 members and 30 pastors. It is based in Tokyo.

President Kumei, who I had opportunity to meet in Korea in Fall 2010
Here is a webpage that provides more information on Lutherans in Japan.

To donate to the LCMS Relief Effort in Japan, please click here.

Dominican Republic Efforts

Since Friday I have been in the Dominican Republic for an update on the LCMS' mission effort here and partnership with the South Wisconsin District and Bethesda. We are here for the 5th anniversary of the Dominican Republic Lutheran Mission, the LCMS mission effort here. The earthquake in Japan seems far removed from here but is upon everyone's mind.

Rev. Ted Krey, LCMS Regional Director for Latin America, explaining the work in the Dominican Republic.

Some of the people around the table.

The view from the beach.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Transfiguration Sermon at Trinity, Millstadt, IL

Pastors Kumm, Collver, Wilken at Trinity, Millstadt

On Transfiguration Sunday, I had the privilege of preaching at Trinity Lutheran in Millstadt, IL. Pastor Michael Kumm, who also serves on the Synod's Board of Directors, is the senior pastor at Trinity. Pastor Todd Wilken of Issues, Etc. fame, also serves at Trinity in Millstadt.  It was a great pleasure to be with the people of Trinity, a great congregation. The sermon is given below for those interested.



Transfiguration, 6 March 2011
2 Peter 1:16 – 21
Trinity, Millstadt, IL – Rev. Albert B. Collver, Ph.D.

            “I will never forget when I saw…” What is the most amazing or terrifying event you have ever witnessed with your own eyes? One time I was in a football stadium with my father… it happened to be the last home game for the University of Tennessee. The Vanderbilt quarterback, who was about to get tackled, threw a long pass 50 or more yards to the wrong side of the field… there were no players nearby. Suddenly, the ball was caught and intercepted by a University of Tennessee player, who ran it for a touchdown. It was an incredible interception, an impossible play, yet it happened. You see, he wasn’t supposed to be on the field; there were too many players. He cheated. After the fireworks went off and the entire crowd of University of Tennessee fans finished cheering this incredible interception, the ref blew his whistle and threw a flag on the play… the touchdown was invalid. While I am not a regular fan of football, it was incredible to have been an eyewitness to that event. I don’t remember anything else about that game. There are certainly much more serious and important events to be an eyewitness to.
To see with your own eyes… is unlike any other experience. To have been standing in the crowd when John F. Kennedy was shot is unlike watching it on television or hearing about it in history. Watching an event on television is not quite the same as being there in person and witnessing it with your own eyes. To feel the excitement in the air or the fear…  As amazing, terrifying, or memorable any event is that we have been eyewitnesses to, nothing matches what Peter, James, and John saw on the mountaintop.
In the Epistle reading, Saint Peter reflects upon the Transfiguration of Jesus perhaps some thirty years after the event. Within a generation of Jesus’ Transfiguration, death, and Resurrection, people began to compare the events of Jesus’ life to various myths. In fact, people were beginning to invent myths about Jesus, some of which you may have read about or seen on a History Channel special about Christmas or Easter. In this Epistle, as Saint Peter knows he is about to “put off his body” (2 Peter 1:14), he gives eyewitness testimony to the Transfiguration of Jesus so that after he departs we may be able to recall these things.
So thirty years after the Transfiguration, what does Saint Peter want his hearers to recall about it? Notice that Peter does not dwell or describe in detail the events on the mountaintop. He does not focus on the appearance of Elijah or Moses, as amazing and important as that is for our understanding and knowledge about the resurrection of the dead. Peter does not focus on the extraordinary things that one might suspect. Notice that he bears witness to the Word of God, specifically, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Peter emphasizes, “We ourselves heard this very voice from heaven.” (2 Peter 1:18). He even calls this a “prophetic Word.” You see, the reason that mountain was holy is because it was the place where the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The cloud that covered the mountain; the appearance of Elijah and Moses were all due to Jesus, the beloved Son, with whom the Father was well pleased. Here Saint Peter provides the key to unlock and interpret all of the Holy Scriptures, that Jesus is the Son of God with whom the Father is well pleased because He will save His people from their sins.
Now at first glance, it might seem strange that Saint Peter as he is approaching the “putting off of his body,” that is, his death, recalls not the miracles of Jesus, or the incredible things that he saw with his own eyes, but he recalls the voice of God saying, “You are my beloved Son.” The tradition of the church holds that Saint Peter was a martyr, that he bore witness to Jesus by giving his life testifying about Him. The tradition of the church holds that the Romans executed him; perhaps, he already was imprisoned when he wrote 2 Peter. In any case, his death was approaching and the thought on his mind was Jesus’ transfiguration and the words, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” We can learn much from this.
The world today is full of cleverly devised myths about how to live the good life, about how to conquer death, about different paths to God, even about Jesus himself. When we are confronted by uncertainty, fear, trials, suffering, evening facing death, our natural tendency is not to cling to the Word of God. We usually first try our own hand at the problem, to see what our works or skill can accomplish. Do you pray before or after you have exhausted all of your own resources? I have to confess unfortunately that until my best efforts fail, I often forget to pray. I suspect that is true for you also. Or you might be inclined to think because of the efforts of your prayer or of your other good works, the Lord will look on you with favor. This is what Martin Luther thought the point of this Epistle was – a treatise that you ought not trust in your good works. I suspect apart from today, you do not give much thought to the Transfiguration of Jesus. Maybe some of you did not even know today was the celebration of the Transfiguration until you arrived at church. The simple fact that we do not recognize the importance of the Transfiguration when we face trails, suffering, and problems in our lives shows that we do not study, ponder, and reflect on the Holy Scriptures as we ought. Isn’t it amazing that as Saint Peter approaches his death, he meditates on the Transfiguration, particularly, the Word of the Lord that proclaimed, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
You see, as Saint Peter approaches his death, he focuses on the key that unlocks all of the Scriptures; he focuses on Jesus, the beloved Son of God. After the Transfiguration, Jesus turned His face toward Jerusalem. He turns His face to the cross. The Father was well pleased with his Son for taking upon Himself the sins of the world. The Father was well pleased with His Son because His glory was made manifest not primarily on the holy mountain where the Transfiguration occurred, but on another holy mountain where Jesus was crucified, suffered and died for you and for me. The beloved Son of God was cursed. In fact, the beloved Son of God bore the wrath, punishment, and hatred that the Father had for sin.
In the shame and suffering of the cross, the glory of God’s salvation was revealed for all the world to see. The clouds that covered the Transfiguration mountain foreshadowed the darkness that would come on Golgotha when even the light of the sun was hidden. Instead of Elijah and Moses, soldiers and frightened women and disciples stood under the cross. Instead of the Father’s approving voice was the cry of Jesus, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.”  Because Jesus was forsaken, you and I never have to face the terror of being abandoned by God. Jesus was forsaken in our place.
Maybe now it comes clear why Saint Peter focused on the Transfiguration of Jesus as his death approached. You see, by external appearances, it seemed that this faithful disciple of Jesus, Peter, the rock of the church – at lest his Confession that Jesus is the Son of God – was to be abandoned and discarded in death. According to the tradition of the church, Peter was to be taken and shamefully crucified for bearing witness to Jesus. What an ignoble way for a faithful servant of God to go – so the world says! No, death would not come for Peter peacefully in his sleep. He would suffer. In the face of his impending suffering, Peter took comfort in the Transfiguration of Jesus. He took comfort because he knew that he would not be abandoned or forsaken by God. In fact, he took comfort in the prophetic word, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In Christ Jesus, Peter heard the word of the Transfiguration for himself. Because Jesus had suffered, died and rose from the grave, Peter as he faced his own death heard the words of the Father applied to him, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Peter was God’s beloved son with whom the Lord was pleased, not because of anything Peter did but because of Jesus.
Dear friends in Christ, the same is true for you and me. When you were baptized, you put on Christ. All of His righteousness, the fact that the Father loved him and was well pleased with Him became yours. You are beloved by the Father. The Father is well pleased with you because of Jesus. You will not be forsaken. No matter what you face in your life, remember the Transfiguration of Jesus, hear the voice of the Father, and know that the Lord is pleased with you and will deliver you.
The Lord will deliver you just as He did Jesus and Saint Peter, through the cross. As Jesus turned his face to the cross for the salvation of the world, you too will face crosses in your life. The sufferings and trials in your life is not punishment – these things come as the result of sin, death, and the devil in the world. Remember that through the cross, the glory of God is revealed. On the mountain of Transfiguration, Elijah and Moses discussed with Jesus how he would redeem the world. There on the mountain we see a foretaste of the resurrection of the dead and the life to come. Elijah and Moses had glorified bodies. Like them, you too will rise with a glorified body. Like them, you too will converse with Jesus and hear the voice of the Father. As Peter reflected upon his impending death, he focused on the glory that was to be revealed, a glimpse of what he saw on the mountain of Transfiguration. As an eyewitness, he bore witness to the hope that he had. As an eyewitness, he wanted you to have the same hope he had – the hope in Jesus.
Remember the Transfiguration. In the midst of problems, suffering, grief, and death recall the Transfiguration. Hear the Word of the Father spoken to you on account of Jesus, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The Lord is pleased with you and will never forsake you.
Go in peace.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

You are Traffic

Stuck in Traffic

Yesterday after Kaitlyn was settled at home from her tonsillectomy (which went well), I was able to take my bike out for the first ride of the season around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, most of the places I need to drive cannot be easily or reached in a timely fashion by bicycle.

The first ride around the neighborhood was good and showed how much conditioning I need to do.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Natural Law Interview Studio A on KFUO

Yesterday, Roland Lettner interviewed me about my essay, "ACCORDING TO NATURE, ADIAPHORA, AND ORDINATION," found Natural Law: A Lutheran Reappraisal. The interview dealt with women's ordination and natural law. You can listen to it here.

Click on the Logo to goto Studio A's page