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Asia Ablaze! Newsletter - March 2010

INDIA ABLAZE!
Groundbreaking Ceremony for College of Nursing at Bethesda Hospital
The College of Nursing at Bethesda Hospital in Ambur, Tamil Nadu, India held its groundbreaking ceremony on February 11, 2010.  The College of Nursing is an important step forward for the hospital. With the nursing program upgrade, graduates will be fully certified as nurses and the hospital can continue to expand.  Initially, Dr. Joel Nasaraj, director of Bethesda Hospital, was not sure how the India Evangelical Lutheran Church or Bethesda Hospital would be able to afford to start building the College of Nursing.  “We are starting in faith. I believe that we have a lot of treasure in our Father's house, so He can give at any time when we are in need,” said Dr. Nasaraj. A representative from the State Bank of Mysore also attended the groundbreaking ceremony. He said he hopes the bank will be able to help develop the College of Nursing at Bethesda Hospital. With the support of the State Bank of Mysore, Dr. Nasaraj hopes to have the College of Nursing built within one year. It was more than 100 years ago that LCMS missionary Dr. Deoderlein first established a mobile clinic to be used around Ambur, Tamil Nadu, India. By 1919, construction had begun on Bethesda Hospital in response to the growing need for medical missions in the area. The original 16 bed hospital was dedicated in 1921.  In the following decades, the hospital continued to grow and in 1998, the School of Nursing program was established at Bethesda. The young women in the program are trained in basic medical care, but they are not fully certified nurses.  With the nursing program upgrade, graduates will one day be fully certified.
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Asia Lutheran Churches Support Relief Work in Haiti
The terrible earthquake in Haiti on January 12 has led many Lutherans in Asia to pray for those who lost love ones, homes and livelihoods. around Asia, churches of the International Lutheran Council in Asiaacted to bring God's compassion in practical ways. Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK), the Lutheran Church-Hong Kong Synod (LCHKS)the Japan Lutheran Church were quick to respond to the needs in Haiti and the Lutheran response to this devastating tremor. LCK President Um writes, "It was with great sadness that the members of the Lutheran Church in Korea learned of the devastating earthquake which recently took place in Haiti. response, LCK members contributed US$6,000 to LCMS World Relief and Human Care in their efforts to assist in the relief and recovery.” LCHKS President Yung says, “Ours is a Spirit led response to the needs of many in Haiti.  We hope our actions can serve as an example to other Lutheran churches in Asia as we work together to share God’s love and care in a global community.”  The LCHKS was able to send US$10,000 in the effort to help. The Japan Lutheran Church is in the process of taking collections to send as aid. In addition, LCMS volunteers at Concordia Middle School and Concordia English Language Academy held a drive for clothing and first aid medical supplies for victims of the Haiti earthquake.  Altogether, three boxes were shipped to Glorei Dei Lutheran Church, an LCMS congregation located in Davie, Florida, where they were then sent on to Port au Prince.
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.KOREA ABLAZE! 
2010 Retreat for Evangelists and Pastors-in-Training
A retreat for evangelists and pastors-in-training of the Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK) was held December 14-15, 2009 just south of Seoul. The theme was “Pastor’s Commitment” with special lectures given by Rev. Seon-Joo Yoon and Rev. Won-Sang Kwak. There were opening and closing worship services, as well as a Compline and Matins.  This is an annual retreat where pastors-in-training and evangelists receive their calls from congregations for the next year. The candidates meet individually for a face-to-face talk and are assigned to their future fields of ministry. The documents for the call procedure are prepared by the responsible General Assembly Committee.  Members of the Committee are LCK board members and the dean of the Graduate School of Theology at Luther University.  One of its main duties is to bring together future ministers and local churches. Currently, the LCK has 12 pastors-in-training and 12 M. Div. students.
New Year’s Eve Worship Service of LCK
On December 31, 2009, all of the local congregations of the Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK) held their New Year’s services. For the Korean Church, New Year’s Eve Service is very important. It begins around 11 p.m. on December 31. The first part is held as a New Year’s Eve Worship (“sending the old”), and the second part after midnight is held as a New Year’s Worship (“greeting the new”). In many churches it is customary for church members to give a special offering, to dedicate the main issues of prayer for the New Year, and for the pastor to give a special prayer of blessing. The LCK has 44 congregations throughout South Korea and about 5,000 church members. The LCK hopes to put down roots even deeper as a church that delivers Christ to the world through its New Year’s Eve services.
LCK Pastors Visit Japan Lutheran Church
Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK) President Rev. Hyun-Sub Um and Clerk of the General Assembly, Rev. Kyungman Hong, together with three LCK pastors, visited Okinawa from January 12-15, 2010, at the invitation of the Japan Lutheran Church (NRK).  The NRK invited the LCK delegation to its annual pastors’ retreat at Okinawa Lutheran Church under the theme “As Peace Makers.”   The program consisted of worship services, a keynote speech, discussion, and visits to war memorial sites like Okinawa Peace Park. LCK President Um and NRK President Yutaka Kumei held a public bilateral conference on the mission exchange between Korea and Japan. They agreed to study the possibilities of exchanging pastors for a substantial promotion of mission relationships between the Lutheran churches of both countries. As a first step, they pushed ahead to give NRK’s graduate students of theology the opportunity to study in the Graduate School of Theology at Luther University in Korea and to receive practical training within the LCK this coming summer.
Retreat for Lay Church Members from Seoul and Incheon
On January 17, some 200 church members from Lutheran Churches in Seoul and Incheon participated in a retreat at Luther University/Seminary (LTU). The retreat began with a worship service, followed by a special lecture and a dinner. In his sermon at the opening worship service, LCK President Hyun-Sub Um spoke of “the vision of making every effort to start more congregations, and of mission and service for the whole world.” In his special lecture under the theme “Here We Stand,” LTU’s Dr. Jin-Seob Eom introduced the theology and faith of the Lutheran Church from Martin Luther’s Reformation in the 16th Century through to the present. The retreat is held annually in January for the unity of Lutheran churches in the metropolitan area and for the promotion of faith among lay church members.
Opening Worship Service for Maleunsam Shelter
On January 31, 2010, the Maleunsam Shelter, which is an outreach of the Maleunsam Lutheran Church, held its opening worship service. The shelter is an apartment with multiple bedrooms that will provide free housing for low-income cancer patients from the nearby National Cancer Center and their relatives during their time of treatment. The church hopes not only to meet the real need for housing, but also share the love of Jesus with the people they are able to serve.  This program was made possible through cooperation among the congregation, sponsors, and the Lutheran Church in Korea General Assembly.
40 Year Anniversary of Daejodong Lutheran Church
On January 21, 2010, the Lutheran Church in Korea held a special event marking the 40th anniversary of Daejodong Lutheran Church in Seoul. The memorial worship service was attended by about 250 church members and guests. On this occasion, two church members were appointed Kwonsa (a honorific title for long-term model church members).  Through its future-oriented mission and service, the congregation has shown a renewed determination for evangelization. Guests at the event included former pastor Rev. Joshua Younchul Kim, who at present is serving as pastor of Holy Mountain Korean Lutheran Church in New York, other pastors who had previously worked as evangelists in the congregation, and former members.  It was a time of celebration and thanksgiving.
Inauguration of 6th LTU President
On February 18, 2010, at the new, 400-seat Luther University/Seminary (LTU) auditorium, students, alumni, professors, employees, and guests attended the opening worship for the spring semester and the Inauguration Worship Service of Dr. Hae-Chul Kim as the new LTU President. Dr. Hae-Chul Kim founded two congregations, and pastored a third.  He has served as LCK Church President and as Professor of Church History at LTU. On the occasion of his inauguration, President Dr. Kim announced the plan “to educate new workers who will propagate Christ in society, through LTU, which was founded on the spirit of Martin Luther’s Reformation.” LTU has continued to grow and develop, most recently with the construction of a new classroom building and admitting 200 new freshmen in 2010, which is the maximum allowed by the government.
Continuing Education for LCK Pastors in 2010
From February 22-25, 2010, the continuing education for pastors took place at Luther University/Seminary (LTU). The topic was “Korean Church History.” The speaker was Dr. Man-Yeol Yi, a retired professor from Sookmyung Women’s University and chairman of the Korean History Publication Committee. Dr. Yi dealt with the topic by interpreting Korean mission history in connection with relationships to nations like China and Japan, and by analyzing the activities of missionaries from America, Europe and Australia, and their relationships with each other. It was an opportunity for participating pastors to realize once more the noble religious mind that was received through the Korean mission history. Through a correct understanding of church history, the participants were encouraged to spread the Gospel in their areas.
Publication of Lutheran Hour Meditations
The Korea Lutheran Hour has published a book for Lent 2010 with meditations under the title “Sitting in Dust and Ashes,” which has been distributed to all Korean churches. Through financial support from Lutheran Hour Ministries headquarters in the U.S.A., Korea Lutheran Hour annually publishes materials for meditations during Lent and Advent. This year’s daily meditations were written by Rev. Ken Klaus, Lutheran Hour speaker, and are combined with letters written from Lutheran Hour stations in countries like Uganda, Latvia, and Cameroon.
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JAPAN ABLAZE! 
Lutheran Schools Week
Members of Nozomi (Hope) Lutheran Church in Niigata, Japan were introduced to the celebration of Lutheran Schools Week. This week of celebration is traditionally observed in the U.S., where there are thousands of Lutheran schools.   After some discussion with Nozomi Church and the Volunteer Youth Ministry (VYM) Board, it was decided to make prayer the focus of this year’s Lutheran School Week.  The school asked congregation members to share information about their children.  Then, Bible verses were chosen for each day of the week. A sheet of the Bible verses was printed and each member was given an index card with the name of the children and various schools they attended. It was great to see the congregation having discussions about their families and how they could pray for each other.   Please keep the VYM program in your prayers as they seek ways to help serve the churches and schools in Japan.
2010 Pastoral Theology Seminar
Four Lutheran bodies from around Japan gathered at Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary (JLTS) on15-18 for a three-day seminar focusing on ministry to and through one of the largest demographic groups in Japan: people between the ages ofand 65.  While similar in age to American “Baby Boomers,” people of late middle age in Japan comprise a much smaller part of the population since the post-war birth rate in Japandeclined after 1950. However, Japanese people of late middle age are the largest demographic group among Japanese Christians today.   One of the more interesting presentations heard at the seminarfrom a writer who contributed to a book recently published in Japan entitled Eriyah no yoh ni (Like Jeremiah). The presenter talkeda movement started by a group of foreign missionaries, Japanese pastors, and lay business leaders that set out to discover what could be done to reform the way the church in Japan goes about evangelism. Why, after so much effort, are there still so few Christians in the country? After performing a kind of "market research" on the Japanese consumer in the religious marketplace so as to discover the answer, at least oneidentified for future growth: meaningful study of the Bible  for interested non-Christians. Though most non-Christians tend to shy away from invitations to study "Christianity," research indicates that interest among many of them continues to exist for study of the Bible. So as to encourage lay people in the church to engage non-Christians who are interested in study of the Bible, especially at a time when more and more people were trying to manage economic and political crises, an organization called  the International VIP Club, from Isaiah 43:4: “You are precious and honored in my sight,” was born. The VIP Club offers lectures and activities organized around popular hobbies (golf, cooking, etc.) for Christian laypeople.  It does so outside the confines  of Christian church buildings, where Christians cannon-Christians in a non-threatening atmosphere, share their faith story, and encourage them to encounter God in the words of Scripture. Seminar participants were grateful for the opportunity to consider ways to not only welcometo church activities, but to also direct Christian laity outside the church and into the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
VYM Volunteers Gather in Tokyo
Twice every year, LCMS volunteers serving with partner Japan Lutheran Church’s Volunteer Youth Ministry (VYM) program gather from their different ministry sites in Japan. From February 18-22, the ten VYM participants met in Tokyo to share, worship together, pray, and encourage each other. During the event, a special recognition ceremony was held for five individuals who will be completing their faithful service in Japan: Cindy Charlton, Cassie Frankie, Carol Becker, Lindsey Gibbon, and James Rush II. Their dedication to sharing the love of Christ to the people of Japan is a great encouragement to the local Japanese church.
LLI Closes Its Doors
After 57 years of ministry, the Lutheran Language Institute (LLI) in Tokyo closed this March for financial reasons. The school, which opened in 1953 and featured both English and Japanese classes, has served people from all walks of life, including missionaries, children, retirees, businesspeople, and church members. The school’s long run was celebrated on March 13, with a short worship service and party. Around 65 people—including current and former teachers, students, staff, and friends—gathered to raise their voices in thanks and praise to God for His enduring love. The shared memories highlighted one thing: LLI was a beacon of God’s love. People came for English class, and left with changed lives. The current pastor of Center Church, which shares the building with LLI, first came as a non-Christian looking for an English class, and ended up committing to Christ.
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CAMBODIA ABLAZE! 
Saved by Grace
LCMS missionary, Rev. Dr. Fungchatou Lo, was recently called upon to baptize a very sick ten-year-old Cambodian girl from Sihanouk province named Mei.  Mei is suffering from a terminal illness.the time, Dr. Fred Kiehl, part of a team of medical professionals working with Global Health Mission and a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Cameron, Missouri, was visiting the Lo’s in Phnom Phen.  After seeing photos of the girl, Dr. Kiehl decided he would like to see her.  Thankfully, Mei and her parents, who are Christians, were able to meet with him. After examining the girl, Dr. Kiehl looked at test results from her Cambodian doctor and told Rev. Lo, “I believe what the girl needs now is not Dr. Kiehl but Dr. Fungchatou. You can minister to her.” sat with the parents and talked with them about God’s love and assured them that while medical doctors may not be able to save Mei, God can save her and give her eternal life. After Rev. Lo finished sharing with the parents, they had Mei baptized right there in the hotel room. In baptism Mei has received all of the blessings of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Thank God for His gift of Holy Baptism.
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THAILAND ABLAZE! 
National Children’s Day
Children’s Day is a significant national holiday for the people of Thailand. Every year schools and communities gather for a day of events that include games, songs, performances, gifts, and reciting the children’s day motto given to them each year by the Prime Minister. This year LCMS-WM and Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation – Thailand (CWEFT) were invited to join the Karen community in the Mae La refugee camp along the border with Burma and the Hmong in Pakham Mai village in Northern Thailand. Special guests visiting from the U.S. included James and Martha Brueggeman, and David and Mary Karkan.  The children worked on crafts and decorated crosses with jewels to remind them of the precious gifts that God gives to us.  After the games and crafts, David shared the story of David and Goliath. In all, 206 children and more than 25 adults attended the events. They received toys, school supplies, and clothing from CWEFT, but more importantly they were able to hear about Jesus who loves them and cares for them every day. They learned that no matter how young or small they are, this Jesus is strong and can do great things through them.  
Valentine’s Day Outreach
Valentine’s Day at the Concordia Gospel Ministry (CGM) Center in Bangkok, Thailand is always a wonderful time to share God’s love with the students, as well as enjoy fellowship through songs, games, and food.  This year, after the party at the center, the group went to a nearby bowling alley for more fellowship and fun.  One student who has been studying English at CGM has also been attending the local Journey Into Light Lutheran Church for three months now, thanks in large part to the ministry and outreach at CGM and through special activities like the Valentine’s Day Party.
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HONG KONG ABLAZE! 
LCHKS Celebrates 60 Years
As part of its 60th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration, the Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod organized a photo-shoot to "Hold the Cross High." than 2,200 students from LCHKS schools and clients of Lutheran Social Services gathered on January 30, 2010. The participants gave thanks to Christ for the 60 year history of the LCHKS and that He continues to hold the cross high in Hong Kong.
HKIS Dedicates New Middle School Building
Hong Kong International School (HKIS) dedicated its new Middle School building on January 21.  Used by students for the first time in August 2009, the new eight-story building has increased the number of classrooms in the Middle School by 15, and houses state-of-the-art conference and meeting rooms. David Brown, Head of Building and Energy Efficiency for the Business Environmental Council, presented HKIS with its Platinum certificate from the BEAM Society for the environmentally sustainable design and construction of the building.  At the ceremony,of School Richard W. Muellerthe Honorable Henry Tang, Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration.addition, Christopher J. Marut, Acting U.S. Consul General;Vuylsteke, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong; HKIS Board member Dale Koehneke, Pastor, Church of All Nations; Abbi DeLessio, Vice-chair of HKIS Board of Managers; James Robinson, HKIS Facilities Committee Chair; Linda Anderson, Middle School Acting Principal; and Clifford Chiu, Member of the Chairman's Council, joined Mr. Mueller and Mr. Tang for the ribbon cutting ceremony. HKIS has been blessed, growing in just under four and a half decades from one building and 630 students at its Repulse Bay campus, to four buildings on two campuses, with 2,640 students. The new Middle School building is the latest chapter in this development.
LCHKS Dedicates New Educational Building
The Lutheran Church-Hong Kong Synod (LCHKS) has moved closer to realizing its goal of making every church, school and social ministry unit a place where people can hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On January 20, 2010, they dedicated and unveiled a new Educational Building in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong.  Converted from a single primary school—Holy Cross Lutheran School & Mission—this facility is now also home to eight cutting-edge educational programs in the LCHKS including a popular children’s call-in program, “Touch-the-Bug,” which receives over 32,000 calls a month; a parent’s hotline where staff receive and make calls to consenting parents to see if they have prayer needs; a family counseling center where families can come for on-going support and encouragement; and, a continuing education unit that is starting Concordia English Centers in several of the LCHKS schools.  Holy Word, an LCHKS school, has already seen a 70% increase in enrollment due to the English center and the three LCMS volunteers serving there!
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CHINA ABLAZE!
CISS Hosts Student Teachers from Concordia University Campuses
Since 2003, Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS) has offered student-teaching opportunities to students from Concordia University Wisconsin, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University St. Paul and Concordia University Nebraska.  CISS recognizes the importance of mentoring and nurturing student teachers as they continue to develop skills as professional educators. In return, CISS benefits from working with young men and women who have studied the most current and up-to-date educational philosophies, methods and practices at universities. An additional benefit for CISS is using the student teaching program as a recruitment tool. In the United States many teachers—seasoned and new graduates alike—may not be aware of the possibilities and rewards of teaching in a Christian international school. teaching at CISS opens many minds and doors!
Dr. Maier Speaks at Shanghai History Day
Professor of Ancient History, Dr. Paul L. Maier was the keynote speaker of the 2nd Annual Shanghai History Day on March 6, addressing a standing-room-only audience on the topic of the historian's craft. Dr. Maier spent the first week in March visiting classes and addressing groups at Concordia International School Shanghai and sharing archaeological and historical evidence to support Biblical accounts.
New CISS Elementary School Principal
Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS) is pleased to announce that Mrs. Krista Nagy has accepted the call to serve as Elementary School Principal, beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.  Mrs. Nagy grew up the youngest of three daughters and attended Lutheran schools from Kindergarten through college and is an alumna of Concordia University Chicago, where she met her husband Scott, a Director of Christian Education and teacher.The Nagys are blessed with two children, Emma (age 12) and Andrew (age 4).    Mrs. Nagy has served as a teacher for students in Preschool through Grade 10 as full-time classroom teacher, substitute, or simply to teach one content area/subject.Her formal education includes a Master’s degree in organizational leadership and post-graduate coursework in educational technology.
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INDIA & SRI LANKA ABLAZE!
Mass Baptisms
Once again, there were mass baptisms (around 200) in sections of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church.The custom is to provide the converts with white clothing for this day, symbolizing the new life in Christ through the forgiveness of sins.
Karunalaya Hospital Revived
The India Evangelical Lutheran Church has made a major financial investment in closing out the Karunalaya Hospital in northern Kerala State.A delegation visited in order to make plans for its re-opening. It is a major witness in this area.
CCCS Visit
Mrs. Angela Jeppesen, Asia representative of the Children's Christian Concerns Society (CCCS), visited the work of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) and the Lanka Lutheran Church in January and February.In India, she visited with children affected by HIV/AIDS at Bethesda Hospital, Ambur, and with children at the IELC School for the Blind.
Self-Support for Widows
Two LCMS Congregations, Luther Memorial in River Falls, WI, and Ascension in Portland, OR, provided funds to enable 24 young widows who have school-going children with the means of providing self-support.The congregations used these donations to purchase cows, goats, sheep, sewing machines, or sarees to help the women develop out-of-home businesses.
Pastors Refresher Course
Around 260 pastors, deaconesses, probationers, and seminarians gathered for the annual Pastors Refresher Course of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church in February 2010.Rev. John Mehl, LCMS World Mission Regional Director for Asia, was a keynote speaker.Rev. Robert Preece from Zion Lutheran Church in Dallas, TX also presented.
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PHILIPPINES ABLAZE!
Typhoon Relief Impacts Families
In September 2009 a devastating typhoon ravaged the northern area of Luzon, destroying hundreds of farms and affecting tens of thousands of people. Through the financial support of LCMS World Relief and the assistance of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines, seedlings, fertilizer, pesticides, and water pipes were provided for 587 families in the Northern Luzon provinces. Those affected have lost everything and have not been able to earn any income as a result of complete destruction to their farmland. With this relief assistance, these families were able to begin farming for vegetables and rice once again, without having to go into extreme debt to pay for these items.  It would have taken most families many years to pay back the debt incurred from borrowing money for materials and goods. In some situations it would have been nearly impossible to pay back the debt at all because of high recurring interest rates. This project not only encouraged and gave relief to hundreds of families, but also provided hope and the ability to quickly recover from this natural disaster.  Mr. Ernesto Alvarez and his family felt very hopeless when they saw all of their current and future earnings suddenly disappear.  Income from the sale of crops and rice grown on their farm goes to cover many daily and monthly expenses, as well as covering long-term costs such as school fees for the children, and medical expenses. The Alvarez family saw no immediate help coming from either the local government or community services. Their hope began to dwindle as their worries and concerns for the future began to increase.  Then in October, local LCMS pastors visited the homes impacted by the devastation.  The pastors were looking for families who needed not only financial assistance, but encouragement and compassion as well. The Alvarez family was completely surprised when they realized that there was a plan to help them through this difficult time of struggle.  Within three months, truckloads of supplies began to enter several of the Northern Luzon provinces. Ernesto and his family eagerly waited to receive not only the supplies, but also the renewed hope for the future that came with this help.
Care Packages for Seminary Students
This past month a group of Filipina women from Church of All Nations (CAN) in Hong Kong spent time preparing a dozen care packages to send to Lutheran Theological Seminary students in Baguio City, Philippines. Each package included a towel, bath soap, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, noodles, candy, and coffee.  In addition, some cash was also sent to be used to purchase food, clothes and school supplies locally in the Philippines. The seminarians on campus were very surprised and encouraged by the unexpected gifts.  They plan to continue to pray for the Filipina women from CAN as they work and serve in Hong Kong, knowing that many are far away from their families.
NLHD Sunday School Teacher Seminar
On March 9, 32 teachers and pastors from the 17 congregations in the Northern Luzon Highland District (NLHD) of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines gathered together at St. Stephen’s Church in Baguio City for a three-day Sunday School seminar. The seminar included lessons covering challenges and methods for teaching Sunday School, as well as understanding children’s behavior.  Rev. Luis Dagano, Senior Pastor of Mount Sinai Church, led devotions during the seminar.  Rev. Dagano attended in order to bring back creative ideas and methods for Sunday School teachers in the four worship stations that he overseas in the Northern Luzon Highlands. Divina Fausto, a Sunday School teacher, hoped to learn better techniques in teaching as well as finding better methods of teaching children the Gospel in order to internalize and understand the stories and lessons. There was a vote at the end of the seminar to continue holding annual trainings and regular sessions in the future.
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MACAU ABLAZE!
English Bible Studies Ablaze!
One of the major ways the Concordia English Center (CEC) in Macau is Ablaze! is through offering weekly English Bible studies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The majority of students who come to these studies are eager to learn English, but know little or nothing about the Gospel message. Nearly every week a new student attends and each week the foreign teachers share the Gospel with dozens of uncommitted Chinese people through Bible stories and activities. This Easter two of these students will be baptized.  Praise God!
Christmas Eve Celebration
Concordia English Center Macau and St. Paul Lutheran church held a joint Christmas Eve worship service that included a buffet dinner, Christmas carols, five baptisms and communion. Over 80 people attended, including several who had never been to a Christian service or witnessed a baptism. This opened many opportunities for deeper sharing about the Christian faith with uncommitted students.
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TAIWAN ABLAZE!
Short-term Team Visits Taiwan
Campus Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri recently sent a short-term mission team to serve alongside LCMS volunteers at Concordia Middle School and Concordia English Language Academy in Min Hsiung, Taiwan. The group, consisting of six members, was led by Pastor Kent Pierce. Over the course of one week, the group was not only able to experience the ministry in Taiwan, but interact with students, faculty, and community members through classes, outreach events, participation in worship at local Salvation Lutheran Church, and by preparing a delicious Mexican-style feast for the LCMS volunteer team serving in Taiwan.
Christmas Outreach to Orphans
Of the many activities that took place during the Christmas season, one exciting opportunity arose at a local orphanage in Chiayi, Taiwan where LCMS volunteers teamed up with local Salvation Lutheran Church to share a skit, songs, and games with the children at the orphanage. This event also involved the participants of Salvation’s Saturday School program, a weekly outreach event that brings more than 30 children to the church for games, Bible activities, and small group time.
Taiwan Sends Short-Term Team to India
During the Chinese New Year break, a team of eight Americans and two Taiwanese went to India traveled to the southern part of India to meet with some seminary students and deaconesses to practice spoken English and encourage these brothers and sisters in Christ.This trip was born from another trip that Petrea Schwahn, a Taiwan-based LCMS volunteer, took five years ago. In 2005, Petrea had gone to India with a short term World Mission team. There she met and worked with a group of seminary students who are now pastors working in various places in India. She had prayed that she would one day be able to see them again as pastors.   While they were there, there was a pastor’s conference and deaconesses meeting scheduled at the southernmost tip of India that the team was able to attend.  Along with doing a spoken English workshop with the deaconesses, the team was able to visit a Christian school and do activities with the students.  They also visited a girls’ home and a boys’ home for orphans and other children, along with visiting and worshipping with two different congregations.  Additionally, they were able to visit a Compassion International site, and fellowship and serve with seminary students at the seminary.The Christians in India are surrounded by so much need. However, their joy and love for the Lord are evident through their words and actions. Meeting these people, seeing their circumstances, seeing their work, and seeing their faith made the Taiwan team realize how weak we are and how great our God is! It was a wonderful reminder.
Taiwan Volunteers Visit Malaysia
During Chinese New Year, LCMS volunteers Ray and Emilie Dubert and Ben and Amy Riley went to Malaysia where they were hosted by the PJ North Gospel Church in Putaling Jaya, south of Kuala Lumpur. The week was a whirlwind of opportunities that included worshiping with brothers and sisters from Malaysia, visiting churches, teaching at a Burmese refugee school, and leading a Burmese refugee home service. They praise God for the opportunity to see how God is working through the Malaysian brothers and sisters to bring people to faith.

  

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS
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Ms. Adelina Balunsat (database administrator) 
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Blanke (Japan)
Rev. Carl Hanson (East Asia)
Mr. Sean Harlow (East Asia)
Rev. Dr. Herbert Hoefer (India & Sri Lanka)
Ms. Anna Hu (China)
Rev. Kyungman Hong (Korea)
Ms. Betsy Karkan (Thailand)
Ms. Megan Kincaid (Hong Kong)
Rev. Dr. Fungchatou Lo (Cambodia)
Mr. James Manning (Hong Kong)
Ms. Robin McCoy (Thailand)
Ms. Anna Meyer (Taiwan)
Rev. Patrick O’Neal (Korea)
Mr. Ben Riley (Taiwan)
Rev. Malte Rhinow (Korea)
Mr. James Rush (Japan)
Rev. Joel Scheiwe (Hong Kong)
Ms. Karin Semler (China)
Ms. Kim Sherwin (Japan)
Mr. Ed Strohschein (newsletter coordinator)
Ms. Heidi Tannarat (newsletter design)
Ms. Mary Eddy U (Macau)
Mr. Matt Wasmund (Taiwan)