By Pastor Alan Kethan, synod team member for our companion relationship to the Lutheran Church in the Central African Republic
To my fellow colleagues and members of our Gulf Coast Synod, I want to thank you for your prayers during my trip to the Central African Republic last fall. As your representative, I was able to experience what a blessing our synod and church body is as it accompanies our brothers and sisters in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic. What a privilege to see the work of Christ on the ground there from our missionaries, to the leaders and members of the church, as they are sharing the good news, healing, educating and basically making the world a better place.
When we arrived at one of the 20 schools we support in CAR, 700+ children were lined up waiting to greet us. It was really impressive. As their eyes and faces lit up upon our arrival, the teachers had them sing the National Anthem and thank us for visiting. These were children who once lived out in the country but were displaced by the civil war and had to take refuge in the city. The Lutheran church stepped up and began building and educating all these children. I was awestruck at the notion that the church was not going to sit idly by just because the government didn’t have the resources to educate these children. Lives are changing, and these children have a brighter future because of what we collectively are doing to support the church there, especially in the area of education.
At another village, the Lutheran church is educating over 160 Muslim girls. The Muslims have very high regard for the Lutherans and what they are providing for their daughters. Without the church’s efforts, these young girls’ lives would be shorter lived and engrossed in a life of continued poverty. They are learning skills, like sewing and arithmetic, so they can sell their goods in the local market. This is church at its best.
I would be remiss to not mention the hard work of our synod’s leadership team to CAR and all those churches and individuals who have, are, and will be supporting this vital ministry. Please know that I would feel honored to share with you pictures, videos, and what I learned during my visit. Your gifts, time and prayers are the work of Christ to the ends of the earth. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well done good and faithful servants.