Saturday, May 10, 2008

UPDATE: Plug Pulled on Missionary to West Africa

The following is a report from Pr. James May regarding his mission work in West Africa.

Rev. Kurt Hering, Pastor,
Trinity Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
of Layton, Utah

I was sent to Ouagadougou to learn French. There are no Lutheran churches here. I was directed to take my family and worship at non-Lutheran churches. I was forbidden to plant Lutheran churches in Ouagadougou.

In my daily life I was often encountered by locals asking who I am and what I am doing in Burkina Faso. I explained that I am a Lutheran pastor and am learning French. Many people wanted to know more. In a country that is 80% Muslim and animistic, I was happy to confess my faith in the savior Jesus Christ. People wanted to know more.

I was insubordinate and started Bible studies, and the area facilitator said that the regional director would not be happy, and therefore, even though he was informed, he said that he would turn a blind eye. Later while in the language learning process a friend of mine named his first born son after me.

My regional director had expressly told me that if someone wanted to be baptized I should send them to the Baptist church and NOT baptize them. Again I was insubordinate and preferred to disobey that order rather than break a relationship by insulting him and refusing to baptize his son. The father, Etienne Sam, has used his tailor shop to publicize and distribute Good News magazines.

A second time a man came from Cote d’Ivoire and was very poor. He couldn’t afford to send his kids to school which costs about $4 per child. His youngest son became very sick with dysentery. During a two week span he ceased eating and we feared for his life. His father was a Catholic but had been attending our Good News classes. I asked him if his son was baptized and he said the Catholic Church demanded $15 per baptism and he didn’t have the money. The Baptist Church was not going to baptize the child. Again I was insubordinate and baptized him so that his parents would have the assurance that even if dysentery won, the devil would not because Jesus would make Victorien His child. Miraculously the day after his baptism he also began eating and the dysentery left.

Finally, Rev. Dr. Anssi Simojoki, the Vice President of LHF and director for the Africa region, was making a trip through West Africa and contacted me. His son is the godfather of two of our children. I offered our house for him to stay in. I received an email from Rev. Dr. Paul Mueller in which he stated that he had not given me permission to have Anssi stay in my house. I was not aware that my personal home is ruled by World Mission. Again I was insubordinate and allowed Anssi to stay at our house.

In my most recent conversation with Rev. Dr. Paul Mueller in Conakry, Guinea, he said it is due to these acts of insubordination that he has determined I am a detriment to the LCMS WM team in Africa and that I was directed to seek another call. He would not put this in writing, rather he stated that I am unwilling to live in a primitive village, and therefore should leave Africa. This is untrue. I was unwilling to move to a village where access to emergency care is unattainable during rainy season. I have a pregnant wife and four children, one of which already had a medical emergency and nearly lost her fingers. Planting of churches and visiting of those remote congregations could have been done from cities with hospitals. This request was denied.

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

By His Grace alone,Pr. James May

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Laughing Martin? I'm not laughing. A sad day in the LCMS. The problem is that this is typical not atypical for the "New" LCMS. Those new confessional Lutheran church bodies sure look like great opportunities to do mission work (ACLC, CLC, CLCC, CoLC, OLCC, ELDoNA, ULMA, etc.)
-A Lutheran Missionary who doesn't want to get whacked by the LCMS bureaucracy