2021–2023 LWML Mission Grant #8
Light of Christ in Eastern Europe
Mission Central — $56,000
About This Mission Grant
For decades, Christians in Germany and Czech Republic had to hide their faith. Churches that stood for centuries were closed and generations lived with no knowledge of the Christian faith. The Lutheran Church is striving to meet the urgent need to bring the love and light of Christ to people who have been living in spiritual darkness. Recently, immigrants and refugees from the Middle East have settled in Europe, many in Germany. Our missionaries are meeting the additional challenge of reaching out to those of the Muslim faith with the message of the Triune God. Thousands of immigrants, and German and Czech citizens of all ages, need to hear the Gospel. This grant will help in the support of eight missionaries working in Germany and the Czech Republic.
Missionary Ben Helge, right, leads an English Talk Group as part of his ministry in the Czech Republic. This group meets every Wednesday evening to practice English and to hear the Gospel. The group is open to any high school student, and God continues to send new members to the group, who need to hear the Good News. ETG, as it's often referred to by the students, connects unbelievers to the church plant in Haví?ov-Šumbark.
Deaconess Kim Bueltmann teaches refugees, and other new believers, about the Christian faith. Learning the Farsi language has enhanced her ability to connect with immigrants. She helps refugees learn German, and provides compassionate support and friendship, including hosting casual meals for small groups. As of July 2020, Kim was able to resume Farsi worship services in Leipzig, with up to 15 people, and is live streaming the services, for those who are hesitant to attend in person.
Approved Resolution at the LWML Convention
WHEREAS, the people of Germany and the Czech Republic lived for decades under oppressive governments, unable to worship freely, and are once again able to worship publicly, without punishment, and begin anew to know the love and mercy of our Savior, Jesus Christ; and
WHEREAS, missionaries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod are now serving in both countries, bringing the light of Christ to the people, through in-person worship and Bible study, as well as outreach through varied, multi-lingual social media platforms, and by building caring relationships; and
WHEREAS, by faith, these missionaries are answering God's call to serve, boldly proclaiming "Here I am! Send me" (Isaiah 6:8), while raising their own financial support to remain with the people they serve, continuing their ministries; and
WHEREAS, our hope is that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts and minds of German and Czech people, and Muslim immigrants and refugees, to hear the Gospel, shared in Christian love by our missionaries, For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness (Psalm 18:28); therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the delegates of the 2021 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Convention scheduled for Lexington, Kentucky, vote the sum of $56,000 to help fund Light of Christ in Eastern Europe.
More Mission Grant Photos
Prior to serving as a missionary in the Czech Republic, Rev. Dale Kaster served LCMS congregations in New Jersey and Florida, and was a theological educator in Ghana from 2014 –2018. He and his wife, Suzanne, now serve at St. Michael Lutheran Church, the only English language Lutheran parish in the city of Prague. Instruction in the basics of the Christian faith is offered whenever a person wants to know more. An open-door policy is maintained for all who seek Christian counsel and the ministry of the congregation.
Workers for the Lord serving in the Czech Republic, front row; Rev. Dale and Mrs. Suzanne Kaster, Missionaries Chelsea Irwin & Cynthia Wrucke. Back row, Eurasia Area Director, Rev. James Krikiva, Deacon Martin Damasek, and Missionary Ben Helge. Photographed at St. Michael the Archangel Lutheran Church in Prague, Czech Republic, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Spring of 2020.
Missionary Rev. Dale Kaster, center, serves as senior pastor at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Prague, Czech Republic. During the COVID pandemic he set up pod casts of the Sunday sermons, that were accessible in the Czech Republic and the U.S. The church also lent assistance to families financially burdened by the COVID outbreak. Rev. Kaster serves as an educator and mentor to Deacon Martin Damasek, right, on his path to becoming a pastor.
Deaconess Kim Bueltmann serves the Lord as the only LCMS missionary in the former East Germany. She assists congregations in outreach to refugees from the Middle East, and also shares her Christian faith in the face of atheism among many Germans. During the COVID-19 pandemic Kim used her musical gifts to play her guitar, creating videos of hymns, for use by Rev. Hugo Gevers. Videos were posted in German, Farsi and English.
Rev. Gary Schushke, serves as an LCMS missionary pastor in Frankfurt, Germany. He shares this story, "The Henry family is one of the many families at Trinity Lutheran in Frankfurt, Germany who are from India. Their daughter, Sthuthi, was born just as the pandemic restrictions began. This photo was taken on July 5, 2020. This was the first opportunity they had to bring her to church. Like so many of the children in this very international city, she will grow up speaking three languages." Rev. Schushke's hope is that this Christian family will share their faith with others while in Germany and when they return to India.