News - September, 2014

map of South SudanI am writing on behalf of Rev. Jordan Long, his Advisory Committee, and the International Partners of the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT). We wish to thank all the generous people who gave toward the appeal we put out last spring. I am communicating with Rev. Long approximately once a week. The good news is they have organized five congregations in three United Nations refugee camps near Gambela, Ethiopia. The word is being preached and the love of Christ is being shown. He sends along their thanks for the funds you gave which allowed them to buy worship tents and hymnals, as well as few other things such as some drums and chairs.

The not-so-good news is that we have been unable to find small catechisms or Bibles to purchase in any quantity (a little of the money given for catechisms was spent on hymnals). We have been in contact with various publishers and nothing materialized. After consulting with Rev. Long and Pastor Jon Kline, as well as Dr Bielfeldt and other staff at ILT, it appears our best option is to proceed with the Ethiopian Bible Society. Since we cannot even find a case of Bibles in the Nuer language in Ethiopia or South Sudan, it seems reasonable to authorize them to publish a quantity for us. The minimum order for a press run is 3,000. The cost is $21,000 plus shipping from Addis to Gambella. It is a lot of money, but we have nearly half already in our fund. Since the Annual Gathering is next month and Rev. Long is to arrive on Sept. 29, I am sure if we come together in short order we can do this, but you will need to talk to your committee or Church Council as soon as possible.

Therefore, I am requesting you take this to your congregation and ask if they would like to give a gift so we can tell the Ethiopian Bible Society to print the order. Most of us have several Bibles and cannot even imagine not having or even being able to purchase a Bible in our own language. Imagine the joy when a refugee learns they can have a Bible of their own to keep!photo of Pr. Eric Swensson

Make out checks to the Lutheran Church of South Sudan and mail them to Institute of Lutheran Theology, 910 4th Street, Brookings, SD 57006. I will be glad to answer any questions if you call me (914) 712-5440.

We also want you to know that ILT is helping Rev. Long teach a class on Luther and the Catechism. LCSS has a Seminary Board and they have endorsed 12 people to begin studies. The Advisory Board plans on helping them with development work in the coming years. We will keep you informed as things move forward.

Thanks again for your generosity in the past. I am confident that many of you will want to be part of publishing these Bibles for refugees.

In Christ,

Rev. Eric Jonas Swensson