The Fork in the Road When I first began teaching at the Ingrian Lutheran Seminary ten years ago, my biggest fear was in not knowing when to get off the bus. Honestly. I needed to take a 45-minute bus ride from St. Petersburg into the countryside, and I was always afraid I that would get off at the wrong stop and have to ask for directions. As you all know, men don’t ask for directions! And plus, I would be asking for directions in Russian. With my American accent. In the countryside. Where people are naturally suspicious, let alone towards one asking for a Lutheran seminary in an Orthodox country!
So I was always relieved when I saw the fork in the road. The previous theological educator, Rev. Douglas Reinders, had coached me to recognize it when I saw it. So as that great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “When you see the fork in the road—take it!” And so I did, making my way up the hill and through the woods and onto the seminary campus.
Now after ten years of teaching at the seminary, I have come to another fork in the road, metaphorically speaking. After much prayer and contemplation, I have decided to leave the Office of International Mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Suffice it to say, I am completely at peace with my decision and really believe that the Lord is leading me onto different paths now.
What will I do? Future Plans I will be finishing my work overseas and coming home at the end of the calendar year. And the next step? —Beginning the writing of my dissertation. Some of you are aware that I have made great progress in researching my topic which is entitled “My Brother’s Keeper: How American Lutherans Attempted to Keep the Russian Lutheran Church Alive: 1921-1937.” I have been blessed with access to previously secret documents that tell stories of the great faith of Russian Lutherans in a very dark time. I believe that this is a history whose time has come— it should be told. But until I return to America, I will still keep you updated on the missions with which we are engaged. (You didn’t think you could get rid of me that easily, did you)? Then I will write a concluding newsletter in January 2014.
I cannot begin to thank those of you who have shared this journey of missions and faith with me for the past twelve years, but there will still be time to do that in the next few newsletters. Meanwhile, please do not send any more support for me as I am sufficiently funded until the end of my time on the field.
New Class at the Ingrian Lutheran Seminary
In my Introduction to the New Testament class, we had the privilege of using a new Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF) translation, F.F. Bruce’s classic The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? I have long searched for good translations to explain how we received our Bible and now thanks to LHF, have been able to put one to good use.
So many people hurting physically. Please keep in your prayers Pastor Alexey Shepelov and Cousin Shawn Nunnink, both people of great Christian faith who are real fighters. Please also pray for peace and comfort to our cleaning lady, Olga Olegovna, whose husband Anatoly passed away this past week. You may remember Anatoly from my newsletters as the one with whom I would have conversations about the weather. Anatoly was always disappointed when it wasn’t colder, even if it was already -10 Fahrenheit!! I just know that the Lord greeted him with a brisk heavenly snowstorm, much to his delight! Rest in His peace, Brother Anatoly.
Please also pray for safe travels to Moscow, Tbilisi, and on to Mongolia in November.
Thank the Lord with me for the great opportunity I have had these past twelve years to serve Him in His Mission overseas.