From Bishop Serge Maschewski of Ukraine

Dear friends,

I send some thoughts on Lent from Ukraine.

The Word for the week Estomihi, 2022: Luke 18:31–43

“And taking the twelve, he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.’ But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

“As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ And he cried out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me recover my sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”

Very soon, on this coming Wednesday, the Church enters into Lent. A time of repentance and prayer, of teaching and self-examination.

Our local ELC entered the Lenten season a little earlier this year. Ukraine is on fire. Trouble has come to our land. On February 24, war broke out. Terrible, horrible, despicable. Automatic rifles shooting, bombing with grenades, bombing with missiles, sirens, curfews—all of this has become our reality.

The dead, the wounded, the tens of thousands of refugees—a terrible reality.

And now, we hear the Lord’s words to His disciples with special clarity and in a whole new way: “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” 

The Lord knew what awaited Him in Jerusalem. He knew He would be betrayed to the Gentiles, that He would be mocked, He would be insulted, humiliated, spat upon, crowned with thorns on His forehead, and killed. He knew about the Cross of Calvary. Jesus’ heart was filled with fear. But He still goes to Jerusalem. Going to offer Himself as the Sacrifice of Atonement for the sins of the world. Going to bring peace to men.

Now we, in the Holy Spirit, follow with Jesus the way of His suffering and death. The apostles could not imagine what the words meant: “betrayed, abused, insulted, spat upon, beaten and killed” …

Why does this have to happen? What does it mean? Isn’t there a way to avoid it? Why is God willing to suffer such a fiasco?

The disciples did not understand. Their hopes for the future were crumbling. Fear settled in their hearts, just as our hearts are now.

A war has broken out … And we do not understand God’s ways. Why? Why? How did God allow this to happen? We go through fear, panic, frustration. Why did this happen to us? Why? Kharkiv, Kyiv, Kherson … Why?

It took the apostles some time to grasp the meaning of what Jesus had said and done.

The Spirit of God had to illumine their minds and hearts. And then they began to preach: This was the only possible way for us to be saved.

At some time, it will also become clear to us why God leads us in such a strange way, and we will testify: “God’s way is for good.”

We have no illusions … Our Church has experienced persecution and pursuit from the state before. We know and remember how, on the orders of the German Embassy, the Ukrainian government services destroyed our congregations. We know the hypocrisy, deceitfulness, and meanness of our state officials … But we clearly distinguish the current government from our people, our country. And now the aggression is committed not against the authorities of Ukraine, but against her people. And we, the Church, with our children, with our brothers and sisters, are on guard and ready to defend our homeland to the last drop of blood.

Are we afraid? Yes.

Do we retreat? No!

And we believe that God keeps and protects us.

And it is no coincidence that in our Gospel passage we encounter two such different stories: Christ’s prediction of His suffering and death and the healing of a sick man! The blind man teaches us to see. He hears Jesus of Nazareth passing by. And cries out, shouts even: “Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me!”

The disciples silence him; but he cries even louder: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Christ is at the center of his life: “Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me!”The Lord asks: “What do you want from me?” He said: “Lord, that I may see.”

Jesus said to him, “See! YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU!”

And he immediately received his sight and followed him, praising God. This is how the blind, sick man meets the God who has mercy and heals. A God who does not pass by but hears the cry for help.

God, Who, in suffering Himself, hastens to show mercy to those who cry out to HIM. Our crucified Lord is no stranger to our pain, our need, our despair, our fear, our weakness.

Our crucified God overcame death and overcame hopelessness. He did all this for us. He walked this road to become the One who can save, the One who can help. In any situation, at any time.

He gives us a blessing and a future. He rewards us with a full life. And we believe that the Lord will help us in our struggle, the Lord will not leave us, but will overcome everything with us. Therefore, fear goes away, and we look boldly into the present and with hope into the future.

And blindness goes away … The ELCU (Evangelical Lutheran Church Ukraine) is active in volunteer and diaconal work, in the defense of our cities, and in the spiritual care of those in need.

We meet God in the Sacrament. And in it, Christ heals us.

We meet God in the prayer of our brothers and sisters. In the help and care of our Church.

I want to give special thanks to the faithful of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, and personally to President Rev. Dr. Mathew Harrison and Pastor James Krikawa (works at the IC – LCMS, International Center in St. Louis). God bless you!

We, by the power of God, will overcome all things, and the Lord will grant us victory!

Isaiah 58:8  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

                       and your healing shall spring up speedily;

                      your righteousness shall go before you;

                       the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Thank you all for your help and prayers!

In Christo, Serge

The Confessional Lutheran Church of Pakistan!

Here is an update from Pastor Jawed Dass who leads the newly formed Lutheran Confessional Church of Paskistan.

We praise God for this new year and for the new opportunities that we are being given by our Lord Jesus Christ! We are teaching about infant baptism, serving the Sacrament, and we are learning liturgy. We are exceedingly glad to share that we are already running short on space in our church as the local community is coming in large numbers to hear the Good News! All Glory to God! We pray that God will provide a larger space for us to gather and worship. We understand that His timing is the perfect timing.

Two more churches are in progress while I work with my newly ordained Deacon Samson Sohail. He has done his MDiv from a well-organized and internationally-recognized Baptist seminary. We all know that he has to continue to go through extensive Lutheran Theological training and teaching. He has been attending Pastor Droegemueller’s Catechism classes since 2020, and we hold three different classes here as well. We have two classes for Catechism instruction for adults and children. We also have regular Bible Study. Deacon Samson is participating in all of these opportunities. He is so eager to learn Lutheran Liturgy. Liturgy training is in its initial stages with our brother, Dave Koch, who is leading a music class via Zoom, which is entitled “Mondays for Musicians”. We are all learning to sing liturgy, and Dave Koch is learning Urdu to start writing music in Urdu for our non-English services. We are holding two worship services now; one service is in Urdu and the other is in English.

Two of our seminary students, Botham and Mushtaq, have begun Catechism classes in their own homes in Karachi. Ansar is still organizing a Catechism class in Islamabad. All of our seminary students are working diligently to grow in their understanding of Lutheran doctrine and preparing themselves for the mission field.

As a newly ordained pastor, I recognize the need for my own continued learning. I meet every Tuesday morning with Pastor Tim Droegemueller and Pastor Keith Lingsch. During our time together, they guide me, teach me, encourage me and strengthen my faith to serve in this new Mission Field. For this, I am very thankful. We also look for theological training and help from Dr. Art Just and Dr. John Bombaro. Many pastors attend a Thursday meeting, and we would like to offer them teaching through video taped messages on main theological issues such as Distinction between Law & Gospel, Sacraments and Theology of Cross.

We have an LCCP-Mission Board in Cumming, Georgia which includes members from North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas. I meet with them on a regular basis for administrative support. They have recently set up an LCCP website which you can find at www.lccpmission.org.

“We are Growing!” Praise be to God! We would like to invite you to come visit us and experience the Holy Spirit at work. We would love to invite all of you to participate in training our team as well! Our weather is good in March, and the harvest is ripe. We are preparing some adults for baptisms and confirmation. What a joy it would be for you to participate in this service as brothers in the larger Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

29

People reached

9

Engagements

Distribution score

Boost post

55

2020 Drop? Success!

Dear saints of God,

The 2020 Droege Boys Dropped! event was a success! We have been overwhelmed by support your love, support, and concern for the start of All Nations Lutheran Church. We will give you videos and an update on the amount raised very soon!

Thanks and the Lord bless you all!

Two More Days Till the Drop

In just two days, the Droege Boys will be dropped into parts unknown for the 50 hour survival challenge. No one knows the location at this point except for the Pat and Gail Deluca. Lord willing, the site they choose is in Georgia!

We want to thank you for the outpouring of your love for Christ, His Church, and His Mission to all people. We are presently being shocked by all your faithfulness to support this work to bring the Good News of Christ’s victory into a hurting part of the city. To share this with family or friends, send them to https://thekairosnetwork.org/blog/.

Stay tuned to watch the dramatic outcome of the drop! The Lord be with you!

Droege Boys Dropped (2020 Edition)!

These kids are not survival experts.  Neither is their father.  Or Uncle.  But the Droege Boys are getting dropped for a second time!  The players consist of North Georgia Droegemueller boys (shortened to Droege Boys) along with their Mississippi brother from another mother.  Ok. Yes, there are girls involved too. Really cool and tough girls. These girls are cool and tough enough that they willingly support the crazy stuff these boys want to do. And what are these boys going to be doing exactly? They are about to get dropped into the wilderness with practically nothing. But it is for a great cause.

Man, this kid looks tough. If you see him in a dark alley, run. He is presently training to make the cut next year.

Just to get this out to you up front. We are not interested in complaining about all the problems in the world or ignoring them. We are looking for ways to put our Lutheran faith into action. We believe in the pure truth of the Holy Bible. We believe the Gospel of our Savior Who died for us and conquered death. We believe in God’s miracle-working Word in Baptism. We believe Jesus forgives sins. We believe in a Savior Who shows up for His Church with His own Body and Blood in Holy Communion. And so, it is very easy for sinners like us, who have been saved by such obvious grace, to get into fields and the trenches with the hope we have in Christ. So . . . welcome to Droege Boys Dropped 2020!!!! Are you ready to be introduced to the people crazy enough to want to do this?

The Players

The players in this survival challenge are:

  1.  Isaac Droegemueller – Age 13
  2.  Luke Droegemueller – Age 15
  3.  Tim Droegemueller – Age 47
  4.  Jay Wendland – Age 56 (This guy on the right looks really professional compared to these other slackers)

The Location

The Droege Boys are getting dropped into a remote location in North Georgia that is presently only known by two people. These two people, Pat and Gail Deluca, will be leading the boys into this location blindfolded. Since this is a Thrivent sponsored event and Pat is a rockstar Thrivent agent, they are certainly the perfect people to help. Once the Droege Boys finally arrive at the chosen starting point, the challenge will begin.  Survival participants do not get to leave the allotted territory for rescue at any time.  Even if they were to run across another human being, they cannot ask for help or receive any.  If there is no water, tough!  If there is no food, tough!  There is no shelter of any kind that the Droege Boys will start with.  If they want one, they will have to make one with the raw materials they find around them.  Like wood from a tree. Or stones from the ground. They are completely and totally on their own in our good Lord’s rugged creation.

The Rules

  1.  The Droege Boys must survive for 50 hours dependant only on their own limited skills to survive.
  2. Everybody has to stay.  If one person cries, whines, and decides to quit, everyone loses.
  3. Each survival participant can bring one item.  The item cannot be food.  Or drink.  Or a tent.  Or any bedding supplies.  Or a fishing pole.  Or anything that makes instant flame.  Or water purification tablets.  Or any artificial lumination like a flashlight.  Good luck and choose wisely!
  4. The Droege Boys will receive two bonus items. One will be chosen by the Delucas. The other item will be chosen by oldest brother Jacob. It will not necessarily even be helpful, but we pray that it will be usable.  Be kind, Jacob!  If they are smart, his little brothers will be nice to him over the next couple of weeks! We are not entirely sure that is happening presently…

The Camera Crew

The camera crew will consist of 17 year old Jacob.  This lucky fellow will have access to all the creature comforts of home.  He will have a stocked cooler of ice cold beverages, delicious snacks, and a luxurious tent.  He will be recording the DROEGE BOYS DROPPED! experience with various recording equipment.  The conversations between him and his destitute relatives will prove interesting.

The Purpose

Our purpose is to raise support for All Nations Lutheran Church which reaches out to the immigrant families in Clarkston with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  All Nations is a new church start working in partnership with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

Pastor and Mrs. Chang Soo Kim

Through the ministry of Pastor Chang Soo Kim who was called home to heaven earlier this year, All Nations Society of Atlanta, Grace Lutheran in Midtown, St. Mark in Tucker, and Living Faith in Cumming, many people have been reached through Bible studies, catechism training, compassionate care, and food distribution. Pastor Kim, who is shown above with his wife Hyang, has certainly been one of our North Georgia Lutheran heroes. By supporting this ministry, All Nations Lutheran can find rental space to set up the church in the middle of the community. The central missionary that will be spearheading this ministry will be Vicar Isaac Baroi. As a joyful servant of our Lord who speaks more than ten languages, he is certainly the perfect person to help the people in the Clarkston community. He cannot wait to begin preaching the Gospel and reaching out with the mercy of Christ. Vicar Baroi will be ordained through Concordia Seminary St. Louis in spring of 2021.

Vicar Isaac Baroi

How to Participate

This challenge intends to raise support for All Nations Lutheran Church and it works this way.  If you want to participate, there are 4 different pledges that we are suggesting.  If you want to do something other than these suggestions, you are free in Christ to do so!

  1. A support pledge of $10
  2. A support pledge of $100
  3. A support pledge of $1000
  4. A support pledge of $10,000

To do this, simply write a check out to Living Faith Lutheran Church with All Nations Lutheran in the memo line and send it to:

Attn: Andrew Frerking

Living Faith Lutheran Church

1171 Atlanta Hwy

Cumming, GA 30040

If you would like to make a pledge by credit card, email Jay Wendland at droegeboycreations@gmail.com.  Arrangements are already set up and can be finalized within 24 hours.  All donations are tax deductible and you can receive a statement by simply providing your email to Jay.  We completely understand if you are not able to support the mission right now, but you can each help them by getting out this message far and wide by sharing or reposting!

The DROEGE BOYS DROPPED! event will take place July 30-August 1, but the results will not be made known until August 10, 2020.  If the Droege Boys are unsuccessful, no one will be held to their pledge commitment.  People will be free to do whatever they choose.  Once the DROEGE BOYS DROPPED! video is put together, you will know the results!  The results of the challenge will be on the Kairos Network website.  To get updates and results directly, sign up to FOLLOW the Kairos Network at http://www.thekairosnetwork.org. Thanks! Glory to God and salvation to man!

Kairos Network Banner for Website 2 (VDMA banner 2)