News and Greetings
August 5, 2015
Beloved in Christ,
South Sudan has been at war with itself for the last 19 months. The war erupted as a result of political tension between the country's President and former Vice-President that turned violent. This violence claimed over 20,000 lives in three days (December 15-17, 2013). There are now more than 50,000 dead. There are 8 million in urgent need of food aid, 1.8 million displaced internally, and 550,000 crossed borders to neighboring countries.
Despite the disturbing reports, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan (LCSS) is privileged to be the agent of hope and to bear witness to the Gospel amidst the darkness of death and despair. Thanks be to the generosity of brothers and sisters in Christ in the US; through your prayers and generous financial support, LCSS was able to safely relocate its Head Office to the western Ethiopian town of Gambella. Together we established five growing congregations in three refugee camps, providing vibrant evangelism and pastoral care to the hurting and traumatized refugees. We ordered the printing of 3,000 Bibles in the Nuer language from the Ethiopian Bible Society. We established a seminary, the Trinity Lutheran Seminary (TLS), to prepare and equip faithful pastors to bring hope and healing to a country torn apart through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We want to let you know more about the seminary and ask you to help with this great work. We have purchased to build a multipurpose facility to house worship space, classrooms, office spaces, library and dormitory for the students. We already enrolled twenty students, and this cohort has successfully completed their first year of theological study.
A team of four Lutherans leaders and me plan to visit the South Sudanese refugee camps and the church and seminary in Gambella at the end of October.The team will work with the leadership of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan and of the Trinity Lutheran Seminary to proclaim the Gospel, teach on Biblical Interpretation, offer presentations and workshops on trauma awareness, and to worship, pray together and to strengthen our level of partnership. This trip will be a blessing and a life transforming experience for the refugees, LCSS, TLS, and the visiting team. It would be an honor to have a few others on the team; therefore I extend the invitation to other partner congregations to consider sending someone on this team.
The departure date is set for October 28, 2015 and Kate from Zion, Des Moines is working on the tickets. Dr. Richard Newkirk is a physician from Des Moines and is an expert in trauma awareness. Pastor Brad Miller is a Lutheran evangelist with experience witnessing for Christ in the developing world. Pastor Doug Morton and Mr. Tom Sandersfeld are from the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) and are coming to teach as well as to get a better picture of the needs and how to help Trinity seminary.
The leadership of the LCSS has begun preparation for a four day conference for the visiting mission team. The first two days of the conference will take place in Gambella, while the other two will take place at two separate refugee camps. The camps are 30 to 45 miles away from Gambella. Hundreds of people will attend the Gambella conferences while thousands wait to attend the conference in the camps. In all the gatherings Dr. Newkirk will address trauma awareness while Pastor Morton will teach on the Bible, and Pastor Miller will evangelize. The itinerary also calls for a visit to the Mekane Yesus (EECMY) Head Office and main seminary. The President of the EECMY Seminary is currently in the US, and I spoke briefly with him a couple of days ago. I will also meet with the leadership of the EECMY at the NALC assembly. Our team will spend a night at Hosanna Seminary (where two LCSS students are studying) and worship there on the last Sunday of the visit (Hosanna is about 100 miles away from Addis Ababa).
We thank our supporters for their tireless effort in praying for and walking with the bleeding nation of South Sudan and with the Lutheran Church of South Sudan. LCSS has already began building the fence at the new seminary grounds and hopes to begin the building of the worship space as soon as funds become available. The hope is that LCSS will receive the mission team in a place it calls home.
Our plan is to purchase equipment to make compressed earth blocks from an American company, Earth Dwell. We need to raise $48,000 for this. With this equipment we will not only be able to build the seminary and additional churches, we will be able to create jobs and income within the community. For more info, go to this website and watch the video: http://dwellearth.com/, please.
We ask for your prayers for the safety of the team and the provision of the $48,000. If you are able to send a gift of any size, please send your offering to:
You can send your donations to :
Zion Lutheran Church
4200 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50310
You can call and speak to Rev. John Kline at (515) 270-8142 for more information on this project.
If you lose this information you can find it and the contact information on the website a volunteer has made for us, http://www.lutherancss.org/, thanks be to God.
We know this is a lot of money but we also know the great compassion the Lord has placed in your hearts, and together the many donations will make this dream possible. Be our Nehemiah and take this letter and information to your church! We thank you, and in Jesus’ name we ask God to bless you.
Pastor Jordan Long