Story by Jana Inglehart
Above photo: The team enjoyed a farewell rooftop taco party at the home of Missionary Tirzah Krey
Photos below: Jana Inglehart and Johanna Heidorn
In mid-January, a team from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis (CSL) escaped the deep freeze of the mid-west for a week of mission education in the Dominican Republic, the hub of LCMS mission work in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The adventurous group included eight seminarians, a deaconess student, five spouses of students, and team leader, Tori Egger, the wife of CSL President Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Egger. This trip offered students and spouses the chance to learn about the Synod’s work in Latin America, experience a taste of missionary life, interact with seminarians and faculty at Concordia the Reformer seminary, and share the Gospel with the Dominican people. They were not disappointed.
During the week, the team ate and slept at the seminary or in the homes of LCMS missionaries. On several occasions, they had buffet-style lunches, with seminarians and missionaries joining them for conversation. This provided an opportunity to build relationships and to have more in-depth discussions.
“If you are thinking of coming on a trip like this, just do it. Just do it! It’s a week where you get to experience things that you never have before, see things in a new light and really understand what God’s mission is like across borders. It’s incredible.”Seminarian Daniel Bueckman
The regional leadership team invited the group to sit in on their weekly meeting to hear and learn about the need across the region for all types of missionaries, not just pastors and deaconesses. In addition, they learned first-hand about the current work around the region and how that work dovetails with the mission to Spread the Gospel, Plant Lutheran Churches and Show Mercy.
The participants heard numerous presentations by pastors, deaconesses, seminary faculty, and others, who shared about current and ongoing outreach efforts in various countries. They visited each of the mission churches, worshiped in Spanish, and were welcomed into members’ homes.
This mission education trip was not only about observing but also doing mission work. Much to the team’s surprise, the mission schools and local public schools welcomed God’s Word. The students and staff alike enjoyed the Bible story skits which the Concordia team shared in Spanish. Likewise, at Kilómetro 28, an institution for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Gospel message was welcomed. One afternoon, the team walked to the local baseball field where they had a devotion for the professional baseball hopefuls. The players invited them back that evening after worship, which resulted in hours of unforgettable fellowship and baseball with the local kids.
Seminarian Daniel Bueckman echoed the general sentiment of the group when he said, “If you are thinking of coming on a trip like this, just do it. Just do it! It’s a week where you get to experience things that you never have before, see things in a new light and really understand what God’s mission is like across borders. It’s incredible!”
A couple of weeks have passed since the Concordia team said their goodbyes. However, LCMS and alliance missionaries serving in the Dominican Republic are still talking about the enjoyable time spent with the CSL team. Church workers on the mission field need encouragement from time to time, and this group delivered a boatload of it. Their zeal for sharing the Gospel, their excitement about the mission work, and their kind expressions of appreciation gave everyone a boost. Thanks be to God for this group and the countless blessings they brought to the missionaries, the Latin American seminarians and the Dominican people.