God is opening Global Doors

God is opening doors for the gospel to be made known throughout the world. And we are privileged to be part of what God is doing through the journey with our Lutheran mission partner churches in Indonesia and Japan.

LCA International Mission has partnered with LCA Reconciliation Ministry to provide short-term scholarships for three overseas Lutheran pastors. Rev Dr Jon Raihman Sipayung and Rev Rio Pendi Nababan from Indonesia were in Australia for eight weeks, while Rev Shigeo Sueoka from Japan visited for five weeks.

Having Dr Jon and Pastor Rio in Australia built on the biblical reconciliation training I led in Indonesia with my son, James, in 2015.

Dr Jon is a member of the Simalungun Protestant Christian Church (GKPS) and lectures at Abdi Sabda Theological College in Medan. Pastor Rio is a parish pastor in HKI, the (Huria Kristen Indonesia) Indonesian Christian Church, and is doing post-graduate studies at Abdi Sabda. Pastor Sueoka of Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC) is pastor of two congregations and serves as Chairman of KELC’s mission strategy and theological committees.

Our international guests visited Tarrington Parish, Victoria, where a reconciliation peacemaking team provides opportunities for people to grow, and Tarrington Lutheran School, where biblical reconciliation has guided teachers and children to live a lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.

The scholarship trio also visited Redeemer Toowoomba, Queensland, where members are taking a two-year Bible study journey to support spiritual health and outreach; and participated at the Western Australian District Pastors Conference, where the focus was biblical reconciliation in a pastor’s life.

The scholarship also addressed introducing and nurturing what was learnt by each recipient in his home ministries.

Our international guests received basic knowledge in Christian peacemaking, teaching others biblical reconciliation and preparation to serve those who are in conflict.

Pastor Sueoka is thankful God has opened doors for him to strengthen his relationship with God based on the theology of the cross, and to develop skills in bringing forgiveness among people. He is looking forward to God working through him to fill his church with God’s peace in the midst of the world’s suffering.

Dr Jon’s hope is for God to deepen his skills in biblical reconciliation and to apply it in serving ecumenical students, and in his lectures at Abdi Sabda College. He also hopes God will allow him to study further to learn how to build reconciliation ministry in all Lutheran churches in Indonesia.

Pastor Rio said: ‘What I am learning is very important for people in my church to become reconciled. I can see the need for biblical teaching in my church’.

It is a joy to share the gift of biblical reconciliation ministry. While we have similar situations to our mission partner churches, there is great blessing in learning about different cultures in connecting the gospel with people.

Please pray for our international guests, their families and their churches. We thank God for building a network of people who nurture lifestyles of confession and forgiveness and proclaim the gospel.

Thank you God for opening doors, for building and blessing our journey together in a ministry that brings clarity of the gospel as people live out their faith in Jesus.

As Pastor Rio says: ‘mantap!’, which means ‘awesome, wonderful’!

This story was also published in the November 2017 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

If you would like to know more about opportunities to personally support a scholarship recipient in your congregation during their stay in Australia, or ways in which you can financially and prayerfully support LCA International Mission’s scholarship program, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au

Read more stories about LCA International Mission scholarships at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/scholarships/