I was privileged to meet David Erber at our last Board for International Missions meeting and we had the chance to recognize he and his wife’s service of 28 years in the field. He is a humble and faithful servant of Christ and a witness in word and deed.
The Erbers have served in Africa since 1986. Before serving as area facilitator, the Erbers lived among the Bokyi people in Northern Cross River State, Nigeria, where Pastor Erber was engaged in church planting and leadership development. While there, David also completed the PhD. in Missiology degree at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. Then Pastor Erber taught at the Lutheran Church of Nigeria seminary in Obot Idim, Nigeria.
Before coming to Africa, David graduated from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Concordia Theological Seminary. Joyce (Clark) is from Loveland, Colo. and graduated from Valparaiso University. Together, the Erbers studied linguistics in Grand Forks, N.D., and Dallas, Texas. Joyce has also completed a master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages, which gives her opportunities to work with women in a witnessing context and to support the English language needs of our training programs.
Fascinating to me is that Grand Forks did not confer on him a Norwegian brogue and Dallas did not give him a Texas twang. Here is a part of his letter of thanks to the Board.
It has been a tremendous privilege to serve in LCMS International Missions for the last 28 years. We spent half of these years in a little rain forest village in southeastern Nigeria where we tried, to the best of our ability, to die as Americans and be reborn as Bokyi people that we might introduce people to the Savior! I spent the second half of these years teaching at the seminary in Nigeria, serving as an area facilitator and now serving as area director. I count it a great privilege to work with each of you, our other colleagues in St. Louis, our RDs around the world and our fellow missionaries in Africa. It is also a great privilege to participate in the effort to double and more than double our number of career missionaries. However, my greatest joy is knowing that already people (including former Muslims) are hearing God’s word, are being baptized and are being catechized because of the efforts of our new missionaries: Charles Wokoma, Dale Kaster, Steven Schumacher, Jacob Gaugert. I am also excited to more than double this number of missionaries with Micah Wildauer, Mark Moss, Doug Thompson, and Ryan McDermott as well as John Wolf (who will serve both East and West Africa). Without these men and their wives, Joyce and I (and perhaps Fred Reinhardt) would be the only career missionaries in West Africa! Again, thank you for your tremendous demonstration of love, support and generosity! Saturday morning was one of the most special moments of Joyce’s and my years of missionary service! Most sincerely, David Erber