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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Missionary Orientation -- Week 1

LCMS Outgoing Missionaries for 2011 -- 32 Total
On 5 July 2011, thirty individuals gathered at the LCMS International Center in Saint Louis for missionary orientation. In total 23 GEO Missionaries (Globally Engaged Outreach), who typically serve 1 to 2 years sharing the Gospel in their vocation of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in partner and non-partner churches as well as serving in other deaconal projects, 7 career missionaries and 2 international educators, who serve in LCMS operated international schools, who had either been called or solemnly appointed by the Board for International Mission (BIM) between September 2010 and June 2011, attended the orientation. The LCMS missionaries were called to serve in eleven different countries (13 if Macau and Hong Kong are considered separately from China). Among the called career missionaries were two seminary graduates, one from each seminary.

LCMS Missionaries Called and Appointed to
Serve in 11 Countries (India and Singapore not shown on map)
Missionary orientation follows on the heels of the LCMS Global Impact Meeting and provides a good opportunity to reflect on the best use of church resources with the new missionaries. In addition to the the new LCMS missionaries, the LCMS Regional Directors (Africa: Dr. Mike Rodewald, East Asia: Rev. John Mehl, South Asia: Darin Storkson, Eurasia: Rev. Dr. Brent Smith, Latin America: Rev. Ted Krey) attended to meet the new LCMS missionaries and to discuss how Witness, Mercy, Life Together can be integrated on the mission field. In addition to the new missionaries, the LCMS International Center welcomes Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, on-loan from Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, as the Director of Theological Education. Over the past fifteen years, Dr. Quill has been instrumental in the Russia Project and has served as the Dean of International Studies at CTSFW.

Regional Directors Meeting

The orientation which lasts from the evening of July 5th until the evening of July 13th, has a 10 page schedule that begins at 7:30 AM and ends around 7 PM each evening. The orientation begins each morning with devotions led by Concordia Publishing House's Rev. Scot Kinnamen, editor of Treasury of Daily Prayer. His goal is to help foster a daily devotional practice among missionaries using a variety of tools. Worship is a major component of missionary orientation with devotions, chapel in the morning, and evening prayer at the close of day.

Matins at Missionary Orientation
Preaching Rev. Dr. Doug Rutt from Lutheran Hour Ministries
During the debriefing session, worship, particularly the creative use of instruments was noted as one of the most memorable experiences of the day.

The Musical Ensemble Leading Matins in Chapel

A new part of LCMS missionary orientation (new at least as far as we can determine) is a refresher seminar on Martin Luther's Small Catechism led by Rev. William Weedon. Pastor Weedon's teaching of the catechism also was noted as among the most memorable of the day's events. In fact, of all the presenters, Pastor Weedon was the only presenter to receive applause at the end of his seminar.

Pastor Weedon teaching on the Small Catechism

In this short video, Pastor Weedon summarizes the Close of the Commandments with the new LCMS missionaries. 

LCMS Missionaries Gathered in Walther Room
The LCMS Missionary Orientation is off to a good start. In future posts, we will feature short interviews with some of the new missionaries headed into the field. Despite the economic challenges the country, the LCMS, Districts, Congregations, and individuals have faced over the past year, the Lord has heard the prayer of his church to send laborers into the harvest. May he grant an even greater return and sending in the future. Remember the LCMS staff and new missionaries in prayer as they continue with orientation this week.

-- ABC3+

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