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Archive for February, 2014

Dominican Independence Day

I left the DR on their Independence Day. It was obvious a big celebration was planned. I left before the sun was up but it promised to be quite a part. They gave us these lollipops at the plane.
Christopher Columbus reached the island of Hispañola on his first voyage, in December 1492. On Columbus’s second voyage in 1493 the island became a colony and what would become Santo Domingo became the new capital, and remains the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the Americas. Columbus lived in what would become the Dominican Republic and believed that he was a missionary. He stayed and was buried there and his son was the first governor. The DR claims that his body is in a burial site there although another country also claims that honor. His burial site in the DR is a light house that casts a light in the form of a cross into the sky.
The path to independence from Haiti was long and bloody but people still speak of Columbus as a missionary that brought Christ.


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Do We Have The Conviction to Brave the Assaults if the Devil?

The words of the missionaries I met this week were adamant about the assaults of the devil and the darkness and messiness of the mission wherever it may be. Teaching the little ones becomes extremely important. Here is a preschool at Liessy.

Missions and the theology of the cross – there are no marching bands playing when a missionary steps on shore wherever it may be but there is a lot of brokenness.

As we traveled we were told again and a gain that mission work is messy. Work in the brokenness of the world is messy. We are surrounded by brokenness and yet the world says that it doesn’t need us and sometimes that what we say is evil and wrong. Yet the real world is full of brokenness and it is real death and real disease an we bring the Word that brings life.

We will not find honor; we will not find praise, and we will not find friendship in this world.
The devil will always ape Christ and build his chapel wherever we attempt to preach Christ crucified.


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Flag Raising at Pre-school.

This was cute and moving at the same time.

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What Is Wrong With This Picture?

My Taxi in Dominican Republic.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture?


I go all the way to the Dominican Republic and this is the taxi I get.

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Do We Have The Conviction That All The World Should Have The Gospel Preached?


Text: Mark 16:14-20. And afterward he was manifested unto the eleven themselves as they sat at meat; and he up-braided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them that had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.

Seeing this dog in church reminded me of something Luther said –

We have often said ‘heretofore that the Gospel, properly speaking, is not something written in books, but an oral proclamation, which shall be heard in all the world and shall be cried out freely before all creatures, so that all would have to hear it if they had ears; that is to say, it shall be preached so publicly that to preach it more publicly would be impossible. For the Law, which was of old, and what the prophets preached, was not cried out in all the world before all creatures, but it was preached by the Jews in their synagogues. But the Gospel shall not be thus confined; it shall be preached freely unto all the world.

There is no need, therefore, of commenting on the text as some have done, and saying that omnis creatura (every creature) means a man. For there is no indication in these words that the Gospel shall be preached to men alone, but it shall be cried out before the whole creation, so that earth shall not have a nook or corner into which it shall not penetrate before the last day. Such is the counsel of God, wherein he has decreed that even they who cannot read and have not heard Moses and the prophets shall, nevertheless, hear the Gospel.

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Do We Have The Conviction That The Church Is A Mission Society?


Dr. C.F.W. Walther asked to whom has the responsibility to preach the Gospel among all people of the earth have been committed? He answers, “Here we see that it is the people of the New Testament, or the Holy Christian Church, that God has prepared or established, to show forth His praise in all the world. That means that the church is to make known the great works of God for the salvation of men, or that which is the same thing, to preach the Gospel to every creature. Even Isaiah gives this testimony, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit: The true mission society that has been instituted by God is nothing else than the Christian church itself, that is the totality of all those who from the heart believe in Jesus Christ.

Pastor Ted Krey the Regional Director for Latin America was given this banner from his first church in Venezuela. It now hangs in a mission start in Santiago, Dominican Republic. It depicts the 6 Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine in the catechism and was given in thanksgiving for his witness to the Gospel through the catechism. As I heard stated at the Mission conference earlier this year, “Witness to Christ is as simple as John 3:16, but as fulsome as the Gospel of the incarnation, the humiliation, and exultation of Christ, his Baptism and ours, Absolution, the Holy Supper, the doctrines of grace, conversion, election, bound will, and more. The Gospel is in fact replete throughout the Scriptures and to be applied pervasively and winsomely in manifold ways according to the need of the hearers. As confession, the witness of the Gospel rejoices in standing for the creedal truth as it is in Jesus. It is as simple as the earliest confessions of the faith (“Jesus 7 Christ is Lord,” Philippians 2:11; LC II, 27), or the Small Catechism, or as replete as the Nicene Creed or the Formula of Concord. The Church’s goal is always to witness unto salvation in the simple message of salvation by the blood of Jesus, and growth into the full confession of the orthodox doctrine from Luther’s Catechism.

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Finally Arrived at the Place Where Columbus Stopped and Stayed.



The trip to the Dominican Republic was something of a nightmare. Four canceled flights and a hasty trip to Minneapolis to beat the blizzard that was supposed to be coming, unlocking frozen doors with hot coffee and spending an entire day at the airport before finally getting to Atlanta when I was supposed to be in New York. The arrival in the Dominican Republic was a shock just from a temperature standpoint. Worship this morning was at a place that sported a 7 foot poinsettia plant and a lot of ice water.

Once again we are seeing the organic reality that is witness, mercy and life together. We have been talking about how sometimes we have decoupled "mission" from the church, or we have decoupled mercy from the wittiness of the church. Sometimes we decouple witness from mercy. As we continue to look at the four "c"s of conviction, confidence, and competence, we will go back again and again to the organic reality aspect of what we are because of who we are in Christ.

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Conviction as God’s Temple



 We are almost out of Epiphany – the time we see God’s Glory shining in the face of Jesus and we are going into Lent soon

The light of Epiphany shines brightly through today’s Scripture readings. St. Paul confronts us with a frightful, yet amazingly graceful, truth about ourselves: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Each of the baptized is God’s temple, an in-dwelling of God’s Spirit! This could frighten us. Or—and this is what Paul was getting at—it could enliven us to show the mercy of God in our lives. Provide for the poor. Deal truthfully in business. Care for those with disabilities. Love your neighbor as yourself. Lutherans know that none of these earns us salvation; but we also know that since in Christ we are God’s temple, where the Spirit dwells, loving our neighbor as ourselves is not optional. It is the fruit that we bear as the people God made us to be. And so again God calls us to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This is bright Epiphany light indeed.  Creative Worship for the Lutheran Parish, Series A, Part 1. Copyright © 2013 Concordia Publishing House.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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Esther Augustin R+I+P


I remember Esther especially for the times we met with LWML activities or rallies.  She was a classy lady and lived the motto that “there is a place for everything and everything in its place”.

She was a home economics major in school and taught it.  Interesting for me is that the Greek word for home is also the root word for economy and morphs into our word for stewardship.  It also is used to talk about the “economy” or plan of God to save the world through the suffering and death of Jesus.  So Esther was a householder, a home maker, an economist who by virtue of her baptism fit her plans into God’s plans to save her and give her life.  She  stewarded her career and family in such a way as to witness to God’s gracious plan.  “A place for everything and everything in its place”, is not just a good motto, it’s good theology.  God has His place and we have ours in the economy of His Grace.  Esther knew that and now she is in the new home that God prepared for her before the foundation of the world in Jesus Christ her Savior

Esther Augustin, age 95 of Crystal, ND passed away Monday, February 17, 2014 at the Lutheran Sunset Home of Grafton.

Esther Emma, the daughter of Otto “O.C” and Minnie (Wilhelmina Dencker) Schulz was born November 4, 1918 in Lodema Township in Pembina County, North Dakota.  She grew up on the Schulz farm in rural Crystal and graduated from Crystal Public School.  She then attended North Dakota Agricultural College in Fargo, where she became a member of the Phi Mu Fraternity and earned a degree in Home Economics.  She taught Home Economics and Science at Crystal Public School until her marriage to Milton Augustin on October 16, 1948.  They were married forty-four years during which they lived and farmed in Elora Township.

Esther was a life-long member of St. John’s Lutheran Church of rural Crystal, baptized, confirmed, married and interred at St. John’s.  She was a Sunday school teacher and an active member of the Lutheran Women’s Mission League.  She was active in the community as a member of the Friendly Homemaker’s club, the American Legion Auxiliary and as a 4-H leader.  Esther’s interests and hobbies included:  china painting, drawing, water color painting, crocheting, knitting, baking bread, reading and traveling.  Esther and Milton enjoyed spending winters in Harlingen, Texas.  She made her home in Devils Lake, North Dakota after Milton’s death and later moved to the Lutheran Sunset Home in Grafton, North Dakota

Funeral services will be Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 11:00 A.M. at the St. John’s Lutheran Church of Crystal, ND.  Visitation will be Friday from 5-7:00 P.M. with a prayer service at 7:00 P.M. at the Tollefson Funeral Home of Grafton.  Friends may call at the church on Saturday for one hour prior to the service.  Interment will be at the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, Crystal

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