One of the greatest tragedies of the past year has been separation: separation from family, separation from church, and sadly for some, separation from God.
Below, I invite you to see for yourself how the Holy Spirit is working through your mission gifts to LHF to overcome this separation and keep His children close to Him.
In some cases, you’ll even see how God is using LHF books to tell people about His Son for the very first time! Thanks for your support, which allows LHF to answer calls like these!
Rev. Dr. Matthew Heise
LHF Executive Director
In Ukraine, we had very big problems with Covid in the fall and in the beginning of the winter, including some of our church members and my own family. Since the health care system in Ukraine is in rather bad shape, many people still fear getting Covid and avoid any gatherings they can. Yet, churches can have public worship services, with the government allowing churches one person per every 43 square feet.
The spread of the Gospel in the usual way – from the church pulpit and street evangelism – has definitely been held back. However, it seems the Lord used this pandemic to make pastors “younger” – and by this I mean He’s pushed most of us who were too slow to the place where many people (especially younger people) spend their time: Internet social media, like Facebook and YouTube.
LHF books are always popular, in good times and in a pandemic. People especially want and need the printed Word when they are isolated in quarantine, which we have experienced here. As we say in Ukraine, the books go as hot and tasty pies – almost immediately!
In these very difficult times, LHF workers in the United States encouraged us and provided support so we were able to publish The People’s Bible: Deuteronomy, which proved to be very popular in the time of pandemic! We have no spare copies left; all the books are gone. Now we have many requests for Luther’s Small Catechism because, as the number of catechumens grow, so does the need for this textbook.
Such books will help strengthen the faith of our members and visitors, and that makes us grateful to our loving Lord for LHF, that in a time of such great need, they come to help Lutheran churches in Ukraine with such great resources!
– Rev. Dr. Slavik Horpynchuk
Bishop of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church and LHF translator
In Vietnam, Covid has been serious since mid-January. Students of all ages have to stay home to study online until March 7, when we will wait for the next government announcement.
We have not had a good or easy time of spreading the Gospel for Christ in the past 12 months. However, we still distributed LHF books to children around the country. Thanks be to God, we have given out more than 8,000 copies so far.
After I sent the Bible Stories in Pictures to the countryside, I got touching feedback: “The stories are very moving,” one pastor said. “They help not only children, but also their parents when they read for those who can’t. Parents are reminded of what they learned from the early ages. We give thanks for those who have helped make a complete book for us.”
-Hai Au Dinh
LHF Project Coordinator in Vietnam
As in most of the rest of the world, most of our work went virtual during Covid. We held a virtual VBS in July, where each child received the Spanish A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories through the mail. Now we continue going through the stories, month by month on Zoom. It’s been something consistent in their lives during a time of consistent inconsistency!
Our team also started ESL and art classes online, which have brought in a lot of new people to meet and share with. We are now starting monthly art events in person at both church locations (Mayaguez and Ponce) to meet in person those who have attended our classes online. We use the Spanish Bible with Small Catechism for all of our Bible studies.
– Christel Neuendorf
LCMS missionary in Puerto Rico
*Photo credit: Johanna Heidorn
LCMS Latin American Region
Recently, Covid cases have started rising for unknown reasons. Not all churches hold Sunday worship services, but a few do. People have taken salary cuts and some have lost their jobs. Hence, church giving has come down, which affects the ministry and maintenance of church facilities.
Printing LHF books was also affected, as many workers at the printing presses left the cities to go back to their native places.
In spite of this, two catechism translations (Zou and Punjabi) are being printed, and “Jesus Never Fails” has been printed in 3 languages.
We look forward to 2021, with hope that we will publish the Hindi Book of Concord, “Jesus Never Fails” in Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada, and more.
– Cherub Sundaram
LHF project coordinator in India
During this Covid time, The Ingrian Lutheran Church in Russia has actually been adding congregations! Several free-standing Protestant churches and Lutheran churches from both the German and the Church of the Augsburg
Confession have come to know of us through online work and have asked to join.
Their pastors all have to be re-educated (many even confirmed). These congregations and their pastors are sent LHF books to begin their learning of the Confessions (so of course, they receive the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Study Bible, any of Luther’s Works we have, etc.). We now have work going on in Kaliningrad, Kirov, Novorossiysk, Yakutsk, Yalta and several other places.
In all of this work, LHF translations are a huge help! We have confessional material we can trust, which we can send to those congregations to begin their learning on the road to becoming Confessional Lutheran Christians.
– Rev. Leif Camp
Missionary, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia
The Covid-19 situation in Nigeria is somewhat pathetic because of Nigeria’s meager resources to contain the spread
of the virus. As a result, schools, churches and businesses were shut down, and a lot of people lost their jobs.
When churches were closed, small groups met for catechesis with our translated Small Catechism, so we could prepare new people for baptism and confirmation in our Yala congregations.
LHF books are used as good evangelism tools for non-Christians as well. The “Jesus Never Fails” devotional booklet has been shared house-to-house by our local pastors.
We heard this same story among the Muslims in Plateau State. Very soon, by the grace of God, they shall have the complete Small Catechism with Explanation in the Hausa language.
– Rev. Dr. Michael Adoga
LHF project coordinator in Nigeria
Looking back over the 12 months, Covid-19 had a great impact on the ministry. There were no services or businesses
open, and we lost all the small contributions our members used to give to support the church.
But the pandemic did not stop our translation projects; in fact, it gave us time to do more work!
We have printed A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories and The Good News about Jesus in Zande, and recently we printed the Madi catechism. All these have been helpful resources for teaching the faith during this turbulent time, especially for children who are staying at home without school. Children’s books are rare in our society, but for the first time, LHF has introduced two of them in the languages of the people in South Sudan!
– Rev. Peter Anibati Abia, Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Because of the Covid-19, children are not able to attend churches and Sunday schools much. Now there is another lockdown in many cities because of a recent spike.
Therefore, the only way to help children continuing to study God’s Word and nurturing their faith is through LHF’s materials like the Bahasa Indonesian A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories, Lutheranism 101 for Kids and My First Catechism.
Many people are frustrated and have lost hope, including Christians. Fathers have lost jobs, and perhaps the mothers did not work at all. The cost of living has become much heavier, and there is increasing domestic violence.
With the help of people who have a heart to spread the Gospel, LHF books about Jesus strengthen their faith while facing the trials of life.
– Imelda Aritonang
LHF project coordinator in Indonesia
In Kenya, movement of people across the borders is limited, but goods can be transported freely. Within countries, daily activities have resumed, including church gatherings and other social events.
LHF’s work has continued unhindered during the past 12 months. We managed to publish Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation in 6 different languages and On Christian Freedom in Swahili.
Having a book of one’s own has been the joy of many who receive LHF materials in East Africa, especially when it was not possible to move around. There is ever more demand for LHF materials, and so projects like the catechism and the “What About…” series are underway in more than 15 East African languages!
Our gratitude to the donors who have faithfully supported LHF’s work, ensuring people get Lutheran materials in their languages. May Jesus Christ continue blessing you as you extend your generosity toward the extension of His Kingdom on earth.
– Rev. George Ondieki
LHF translator in Kenya
During this difficult year, I have seen LHF books being especially helpful because people could have the opportunity to hear the Gospel by reading LHF books while they spent most of their time at home. A few examples:
Panha Mit is 12 years old. He is studying in grade 6 at his local primary school. While the school was locked down for 10 months, he spent most of his time reading his favorite story in the Khmer A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories about the first Christmas (Luke 2), which tells how Jesus was born to save humans from their sins by His death on the cross. Panha said he loves Jesus very much and he could not imagine that Jesus – who is the Son of God! – being born in the manger.
Siek Martha is 18 years old. She was born in a Christian family and is in grade 12. Last year, she got her own copy of A Child’s Garden through the distribution of pandemic distribution relief aid and says she’s been touched by the story of God’s Creation (Genesis 1), where she sees nature around her as a wonderful gift and amazing miracle from God alone.
– Sopha Korn
LHF project coordinator in Cambodia