Story and photos by Johanna Heidorn. Johanna serves as an LCMS Missionary photographer based in the Dominican Republic.
The Latin American and Caribbean field celebrates Pastor David and Shelee Warner and their six and a half years of dedicated missionary service in Spain. Though their departure is bittersweet, we are eager to see how the Lord will use them next.
The Spanish Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELE) has persevered through many obstacles, and through it all, God has remained steadfast, blessing the seeds planted and growing His church.
Rev. David and Shelee Warner
While the Warners were on the field, they began to see a growing hunger for the Word of God. The frequency of Word and Sacrament ministry in Spain expanded greatly from intermittent meetings to three locations offering the Eucharist every Sunday, several new mission points, and other mid-week activities. The IELE saw God double church membership from 70 to 135. The number of ordained Spanish pastors grew from one to three. Two more men are nearing ordination, one woman is pursuing diaconal studies, and eight men have voiced interest in pastoral formation.
The IELE was blessed by Pastor Warner’s service as Bishop for many years. We are thrilled to announce that Spanish Pastor José Luis of Valencia, who graduated from Seminario Concordia El Reformador – República Dominicana, will fill the position as a worker-priest. Pastor Warner played an integral part in the pastoral formation of Pastor Luis, and it is always a monumental achievement when a national replaces a missionary.
Spanish Pastor José Luis will serve as the new bishop
We wish Pastor Warner and Shelee all the best and ask for prayers in their transition. While they will miss Spain’s beautiful beaches, sunshine, history, and food, the two are looking forward to spending time with their grandchildren as they prayerfully wait to see where the Lord might call them to serve next.
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