LHF Founder Celebrates 50 Years in Ministry

Categories: LHF History, United States

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: 
‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, 
who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. I know your works. 
Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.”
Revelation 3: 7-8

October 2011 – “I thank God for having given me this open door,” reflects Rev. Robert Rahn, founder and former executive director of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation.  Rev. Rahn will celebrate 50 years in the ministry at a special worship service on Nov. 6 at St. John Lutheran Church in Fraser, Mich.

Though he’d hoped to serve in oversea missions, Rahn’s early ministry was instead in the United States, including a call to start a new mission in Missoula, Mont. “From the beginning, things weren’t exactly going according to my plans,” Rahn said. “But working on the Indian reservation was a pleasant preparation for what the Lord had in store.”

In the years to come, Rahn served various other Lutheran organizations, including Concordia College – River Forest and Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, but he always had an eye on foreign missions. Then, at age 55 and without a call, God began opening new doors.

“The walls in Russia started to come down,” Rahn remembers. “I thought, ‘Would this be a time to help restore Lutheranism in a country where it once was dominant? Would it be helpful to provide the Lutheran books and materials that were destroyed during the communist era?’ A phone call to prominent church leaders provided encouragement, and on Nov. 10, 1992, we launched the Lutheran Heritage Foundation.”

Since then, LHF has received requests for good Lutheran books from more than 70 different countries and in 90 languages.

“When we look at our bookshelves here in the U.S. and see them overflowing, and then visit the huts in places like Sudan, or visit seminary libraries in Latvia, India and Ukraine with empty shelves, we realize the importance of getting basic Lutheran books published in their languages,” Rahn said.

As LHF prepares to kick off its 20th year in mission, there have been many moments where Rahn says he’s felt blessed to be a part of the Holy Spirit’s work.

“I remember when we were in India, distributing One Hundred Bible Stories to the children. The church was filled, and the children had to sit on the floor at the foot of the chancel steps,” he said. “Copies were first given to pastors and teachers, and then each child received his or her own copy. I was struck by the picture I saw: all the children sitting quietly and intently reading the book.

“Every time I view our LHF video, I’m struck by the Cambodian girl in the picture, gazing at our activity with deep interest,” he continued. “I see anew the need for LHF’s work: men, women and children introduced to Christ through the printed page. And I’m then reminded of the thousands who make this ministry possible by their active support.”

Rahn says he looks forward to seeing what the future holds for LHF. “As long as the Lord provides health, I will be spending my remaining years in serving the Lord,” he said. “God has opened many doors, and even though there are those who attempt to shut those doors, God keeps them open. While the doors are open, it is time to enter.”

Only with your help can this important work continue. Prayerfully consider how you can help support LHF projects.