“Christ for all! That is how we can define the Alliance Project. From February 28 to March 14, 2021, on a trip to the Dominican Republic, I had the great opportunity to accompany eight IELB pastors and their families in language, culture and mission training. What a challenge! What learning! More than a special moment, as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (IELB) and The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) joined forces in this project to bring the love of Jesus to different peoples and cultures.
Concordia the Reformer Seminary launched her Deaconess Program for 2021 on January 14th, with an eight-week intensive course entitled The Catechism – Disciples for Life: Instruction in the Christian life from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Over 100 women from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela, signed up for the online offering, with Deaconess Caitlin Ramirez and Rev. Sergio Fritzler serving as the professors.
The countries of Belize, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama have been hardest hit by back-to-back hurricanes. Eta made landfall as a category 4 hurricane in Nicaragua on November 3rd, then lingered for two days over Central America before intensifying and moving on to Cuba, where flooding was already a growing problem.
Since 2008 the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF) has been producing materials in Spanish for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
In spite of the pandemic, Lutherans in Panama continue to reach out to those in their communities with the hope we have in Christ. On August 29, 2020, LCMS missionary, Rev. Arthur Rickman, in conjunction with Christ for all the Nations (CPTLN-Lutheran Hour Ministries in Latin America), had the opportunity to serve their neighbors with a workshop on family relationships.
Sixty Lutheran pastors and church members from Guatemala and Honduras gathered online for four days of Disaster Response Training last week. Pastor Alejandro Lopez presented the virtual classes from his location in Panama. Missionary Deaconess Cheryl Naumann from the Dominican Republic coordinated the instruction through the Mercy Center, an institute of Concordia the Reformer Seminary in the Dominican Republic.
As this pandemic has continued to spread, over the past several weeks, Panama has rapidly become the worst-hit country in Central America according to infections per capita, and second only to Chile in all of Latin America.
In this video, Missionary Pastor Brian Gauthier gives a quick update on the quarantine, how his young family is coping, and how the mission work is continuing to move forward in Panama.
For the first time in two years, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Panamá hosted a Luther Academy conference. Luther Academy provides continuing theological education courses in intensive formats to strengthen and assist pastors and leaders throughout churches in Latin America and around the world.
Diaconal formation continued in Panama September 28-29, as the ladies continued with their second course in the Deaconess Program, The Divine Service and the Life of the Church. A dozen ladies were in attendance from two congregations.