“We want to know what the Bible says.”

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Church workers eagerly study the Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, and Lord’s Prayer in their new catechisms, printed in the Dinka language by Lutheran Heritage Foundation.
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Bishop Bameka (left) of the Lutheran Church of Uganda, translated by John Deng Ater (right), teaches about the worship of the Church.
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Worshippers in the refugee camp pack their tin-roofed sanctuary during the Sunday morning divine service.
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Most of the homes in the camp are round with thatched roofs.

Would you be excited to attend a Bible study that lasted all day for five consecutive days, meeting in 100-degree temperatures in a crowded, thatched-roof hut with a dirt floor? Earlier this month dozens of members of the independent Anglican Church of South Sudan (ACSS) were eager for just such an opportunity, some traveling great distances to be there. I also was excused from a week of teaching at Matongo in order to be an instructor for this unique training event.

The events leading up to the week-long training are an interesting and complex story. In short, the ACSS broke away from the worldwide Anglican communion some years ago when the latter began teaching new doctrines that are not in the Bible (notably the tolerance and promotion of homosexuality and abortion). Then, when war broke out in South Sudan, many members of the church had to flee the country for their lives. Many moved to the Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda (where we held the recent training). Some were also relocated to the United States, and a group of these became connected with a Lutheran Church in Louisville, Kentucky. In Kentucky these refugees were introduced to Luther’s Small Catechism, fell in love with it, and wanted to share this pure teaching of the Gospel with their brothers and sisters back in South Sudan and Uganda. Thus came the invitation for us to share the basics of the Christian faith with these Anglican leaders, many of whom had received virtually no prior training.

Regarding every topic covered in the training, the question was always, “What does the Bible say about this?” Some topics were met with pure delight. For example, the group literally burst into spontaneous song at the conclusion of the presentation on the grace of God. Other topics were received with more sober reflection. The ACSS ordains women to the pastoral office, and when we showed that this practice is not rooted in Scripture but had been introduced into the Anglican church only within the past few decades, they were keen to discern the truth of the matter. Like the noble Bereans, “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

The Lutheran church bodies of eastern Africa will continue to offer educational opportunities to leaders of the ACSS, praying that God would guide them by His Word. Thank you for enabling me to contribute to this ministry.

Prayer Requests, Praises, and Thanks

Pray that I would be able to acquire a work permit and residence permit for Tanzania, enabling my family to move there so I can teach full-time in the fall.

Thank God for the recent opportunity we had to share the Gospel very thoroughly with leaders of the Independent Anglican Church of South Sudan.

Pray for the Independent ACSS, that God would guide them by His Holy Word and encourage them through fellow Christians.

Pray for our oldest son Emil as he prepares for college.

Ask God’s blessing upon our travels through the United States this summer.