3 FW churches join in Ethiopian mission

For more information, call:
Pastor Kevin Wendt
260-422-2429, x109
or
Gary Penner
260-557-5201

Engaging people with Jesus
Concordia Lutheran Church to commission 13 for Ethiopian mission

Fort Wayne, October 10, 2008: Concordia Lutheran Church, 4245 Lake Ave., Fort Wayne, will commission a team of missionaries to Ethiopia at services Oct. 18 and 19. The team includes members of Concordia, Martini and Southwest Lutheran Churches in Fort Wayne.

Commissioning services at Concordia are Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. and Oct. 19 at 8, 9:15 and 10:30 a.m. Southwest Lutheran Church will commission three of its members Oct. 19 at an 11 a.m. service. The mission is scheduled from October 25 to November 3.

The three congregations partnering in the short-term mission to Ethiopia are praying the experience will encourage Christians in Fort Wayne and in Ethiopia to further engage people with Jesus. “All believers are missionaries wherever they go,” Concordia Pastor Kevin Wendt said.

The mission is a project of Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Global Work and Witness program. The team of 13 includes individuals from all walks of life, including pastors, teachers, healthcare professionals, business professionals, parents, and a 13-year-old Concordia Elementary School student. Team members representing Southwest, 5120 Homestead Rd., Fort Wayne, include Jennifer Davis, Doris Kayser and Pastor Dave Maki. Team members from Concordia include Dan Dienelt, Kelly Herring, Mackenzie Herring, Faith Hilty, Julie Kratzman, Gary Penner, Loretta Sassmannshausen, Steve Soldano, and Pastor Kevin Wendt. Team member Barb Johnson is a member of Martini Lutheran Church, 333 East Moeller Rd., New Haven.

One of the team’s objectives is to make connections with similar individuals in Ethiopia and establish long-term friendships to “spur one another on toward love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). The team will have opportunities to meet and build relationships with HIV/AIDS survivors, mental health care providers and patients and school children and their families.

A second objective is to build partnerships with Ethiopian Christians who are sharing the Gospel with Muslims. The three Fort Wayne churches are funding a week-long conference for professional and lay ministers in Addis Ababa. Discussions will focus on Muslim outreach opportunities. In addition, Wendt will be preaching Nov. 2 in Addis Ababa at the Mekane Yesus congregation – the largest Lutheran congregation in Ethiopia
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“The Lord has convinced me by His Word that He has made me His missionary everywhere I go,” Wendt said. “I am compelled to be His missionary. The Lord has made His mission to seek and save the lost a personal mission for me.”

Pastor Dave Maki, of Southwest Lutheran Church, said the Ethiopian Christians’ experience and passion for outreach “will encourage us to make an impact in the growing Muslim community in Fort Wayne. I believe we have a call from God to learn how best to reach out to the Muslim population. God is bringing together many factors that point us to the possibilities for sharing Christ with Muslims. It is becoming clear that we have received a challenge from the Lord to activate God’s people for reaching a changing culture. I am compelled to find ways to make a difference in the Fort Wayne mission field. It is time for us to move outside the walls of our churches and influence our communities with the message of hope.”

An important aspect of the mission is the school and congregation’s involvement. Team member Barb Johnson, music teacher at Concordia Elementary School, is an important liaison with the school staff which is incorporating Mission Ethiopia 2008 into the school curriculum.

“I hope to find ways to change peoples’ mind’s and come to find Christianity. I know that there are children here at Concordia who come from Buddhist families. What can I do to help them grow in Christianity? I feel this trip will teach me ways to help children grow in Christ. I could make a difference even in small ways.”

Return trip
The mission is a return trip for missionaries Julie Kratzman and Loretta Sassmannshausen, who were members of Concordia’s Mission Ethiopia 2006 team.

Kratzman, a pharmaceutical sales representative, explained how the 2006 mission was a blessing to her own faith. “I am going somewhere the Lord wants me to go. It is not my plan, but His plan that I am living,” Kratzman said. “In 2006, I witnessed someone who wanted to be saved. I was there to listen with this man, to pray with him and to ask for forgiveness also. I realized the Lord placed me in that moment for a reason.”

Sassmannshausen, a healthcare professional, said her mission experience has confirmed Wendt’s idea that short-term missions produce long-term missionaries at home and abroad. “The experience is a constant reminder that people everywhere need to know the love, acceptance, forgiveness, and peace that can only be found in a relationship with God.” She said the mission is not just about helping and blessing others. “It’s about helping us to be a blessing to people here in Fort Wayne and everywhere we go. This is my mission. I just can’t imagine NOT being involved in this incredible opportunity.”

Details of the mission are online at www.missionethiopia2008.blogspot.com. The team is seeking prayer and financial support.

The team is seeking financial support for travel expenses and project costs For more information, please call Pastor Kevin Wendt at (260)422-2429 or Pastor Dave Maki at (260) 436-4474.

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