Here's a letter from a Rev. James May, soon-to-be former missionary in West Africa. Not only have we (the LCMS) canceled a strongly mission-minded radio program, but now another missionary is being recalled from the foreign field of proclaiming the Gospel to folks in West Africa, folks who, no doubt, have been led to trust and rejoice in the new life in Christ.
With sad news like this, one wonders: What exactly *is* the mission of the "mission-minded" LCMS?
Here's Pr. May's letter announcing the shocking news of the cancelation of his missionary work:
I regret to inform you that due to programmatic and business decisions, World Mission has decided to cease employing me as a missionary in West Africa. This decision came as a shock to me and my family as it may also be a surprise to you.
World Mission has been pressuring me to move on and inform you as soon as possible. One reason is that I would be without a paycheck and insurance soon after we have a baby due in July. We hope that by the grace of God we could have another call in place when my salary and benefits terminate at the end of August 2008.
The decision leaves three newly planted churches in Burkina Faso without a theologically trained leader and also the Lutheran Church of Togo without a missionary which they had been awaiting for six years. Please keep all these people involved in your prayers.
Please check out our website (www.mayfamilyintogo.com) as there is still a project that could be accomplished in Burkina Faso and West Africa. Judy Stroeh, a member of a supporting congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio and an environmental consultant, visited us during the last week of April. Working in collaboration with Proctor & Gamble, she brought out a product called PUR which purifies water. The product is very inexpensive, about one to two cents per 10 liters of purified water. One simply adds the contents of PUR to the river or well water and then it is stirred for five minutes. The PUR contents cause all impurities to congeal and sink to the bottom of the container. Then the water is filtered through a piece of cotton and 99.99% of all dangerous elements are eliminated.
The Work of God Will Go On
It is not me who convinced anyone to believe in Christ, it was the Holy Spirit who called, gathered, and enlightened others to come to the knowledge of the truth. He is the one who will take care of what has been started. Part of the continued care will come from the leaders that He raised up here in Burkina Faso. Three men; Leopold, Joseph, and Espoir, have been training with me to continue the teachings of Christ. Joseph and Espoir will depart for the Lutheran Seminary in Togo starting in August. The studies last three years after which they will return to shepherd these new congregations. Leopold, the elder, will lead the congregations in their absence. It is very important that you keep these infant congregations and young leaders in your prayers.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7
Thank you for your support
As many of you know, our family endured many tribulations and struggles in our two years on the field. We had many health issues and struggled adapting to the extreme weather and culture differences. You have been along side us, praying for us and supporting us all along the way. Although there were many struggles, you can see from our newsletters and website that many successes and joys have been seen.
The majority of the family will be leaving in two weeks time to join Tiina’s parents in Finland so that she can give birth in a comfortable and supporting environment. I will continue training the leaders and try to pack up the house during the month of June. We hope to visit a number of congregations this fall to present what God has done in these two years and also to thank those of you who we can in person. Our entire family wishes to thank you for all your love and support.
Your brothers and sisters in Christ,
The May Family (James, Tiina, Maggie, Tristan, Sarai, Sofia, and baby May)
We always need your prayer support. At this time we ask your prayers for;
Praise God for many conversions and baptisms. Pray that all may continually be strengthened in the faith that Christ has given them.
Our family in transition; it is not easy to pack up and move, especially so quickly and with a pregnant momma and four little kids running around.
Concordia Lutheran Church in Tingandogo, Sognaaba Lutheran Church, and the Refugee Lutheran Church as they grow in knowledge and faith.
Espoir, Leopold, and Joseph, as they prepare to become ministers of God’s Word.
That others may be raised up as leaders of the church to lead the growing number of converts.
Those we know, that we may continue working with them and encourage them in the Christian faith.
Those we meet, that we may have opportunities to share the Gospel.
Our faith, that the Risen Lord and Savior would strengthen us.
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