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The Greater Heartland Region held its biannual convention at Faith Lutheran Church in Holstein, Iowa. It was an important time to reconnect with pastors and lay people from various churches. The first day began with registration at 3:00 and our first session at 4:00.
Faith Lutheran began without any church affiliation or pastor, simply people who wanted to study the Word of God as inerrant and Jesus Christ as Lord of life. They first gathered for worship September 26, 2010. One year later they purchased a bar on Main Street and renovated it into their current church building. It wasn’t until the spring of 2012 did they decide to join the AALC and call their first pastor, Chris Schroder. Their hospitality has set a new standard as they were very generous, caring, friendly and helpful.
We had inspiring worship services and engaging meetings. The highlight was our bus trip to Mission Central. “Mission Central is the largest mission supporting agency in the entire United States of America for our Lutheran church (LCMS) and supports the majority of all the missionaries in the Lutheran church.”
We first gathered in the tiny “Wayside Chapel” that seats, I believe, twelve people. We were the largest gathering with standing room only, of course. We were given an introduction to the Mission and began with prayer. We then proceeded to the missionary museum where there were hundreds of items from all over the world, many of which no one will ever see outside the museum. For example, a mask from a witch doctor, spears made only for the purpose of killing humans, a blow gun and the dragon head of the ornate dragon used in Chinese parades, idols worshipped today in Papua New Guinea and so much more.
We then proceeded to the dining hall where the walls were decorated with pictures taken by missionaries of very significant events. After that we had dinner and returned to Holstein. Repeatedly we were told the greatest threat to Christianity at this time is radical Islam, and in America is the advancement of homosexuality. “The church needs to wake up!”
Thursday evening we were briefed on the state of the AALC by Dr. Curtis Leins, our presiding pastor. As he said, “the bleeding has stopped and we are holding the fort. The next move we are preparing for is to take the frontier.” Relations are being mended and relationships reconciled, the seminary is growing and we have a well-structured administration in place. The AALC is not dying, merging with another denomination, but is beginning to show signs of real life and growth. We must keep praying for the association, Pastor Leins and his entire administration.
Elections were held for our region and I was elected to a three-year term as regional mission’s director. Thank you to all who participated Saturday morning at “meeting our Presiding Pastor” and for all who came Sunday morning to hear Pastor Leins preach.
Learn more about Mission Central at their web site: missioncentral.us