The LCMS Office of International Mission recruits, trains, sends, and cares for missionaries in approximately 90 countries. Here is a little information about a few of these pastors, teachers, and other church workers who are from the Michigan District:
Alyssa Anders (lcms.org/anders) – Russia (Home congregation: Christ our Savior, Livonia)
Alyssa currently serves in St. Petersburg, Russia, working with the LCMS partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia. Trained as an English teacher, Alyssa assists the work of the church by equipping the ministers, workers, and members of this church body with English language skills. Although we often take English for granted, for Russians, it opens a door to a larger community and more opportunities, helping the church to be less isolated. Alyssa also helps with various youth and children’s programs, as well as English Bible camps in Europe.
Rev. David and Joyce Erber (lcms.org/erber) – Ghana (Home congregation – Trinity, Jackson)
Rev. David and Joyce Erber serve as missionaries in Africa, based in Accra, Ghana, West Africa.
As a theological educator, David provides special training opportunities for Ghanaian and Nigerian pastors. Presently, he is working with a team of senior pastors in Ghana to develop a training program for men who are already employed but have time during the week and on weekends to study and serve as pastors. He is also working with a second group of pastors equipping them to serve as instructors for this same training program or to serve in other leadership capacities in the church. David also works with a group of Nigerian pastors who are conducting research in evangelism in their local communities.
Joyce serves as the business manager for the Africa region. She is responsible for managing the financial and accounting dynamics for 30 LCMS missionaries and 82 mission projects in Africa.
Rev. Roger and Amy James (lcms.org/james) – Philippines (Home congregation – Zion, Marshall)
Rev. Roger and Amy James serve in the Philippines, where Roger is a theological educator at the Lutheran Theological Seminary and Training Center (LTS) in Baguio City. This institution is the seminary of LCMS’ sister church, the Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP), and welcomes students from other Lutheran churches in Asia. In his work at the seminary, Roger supplements the work of the Filipino faculty in raising up new pastors and helps to provide continuing education for current LCP pastors.
Amy serves as an English tutor for the Seminary students.
Rev. Steven and Martha Mahlburg (lcms.org/mahlburg) – Sri Lanka (Home congregation – Zion, Tawas City)
Rev. Steven and Martha Mahlburg serve as missionaries in Sri Lanka. Steven serves the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) in Sri Lanka as they restructure in order to better reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He provides administrative support, Christian education, and mentoring for the pastors, evangelists and laypeople of the CELC. He travels to the CELC congregations around Sri Lanka to encourage a bold witness to Jesus Christ. Steven also assists Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Colombo by conducting the English service and providing English medium pastoral care.
Rev. James and Christel Neuendorf (lcms.org/neuendorf) – Puerto Rico (Home congregation – St. Paul, Ann Arbor)
James serves as a church planter and pastor in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. His focus is to establish a strong Lutheran presence in this city which will boldly proclaim the Gospel and meet the physical and spiritual needs of a community that is hungry for the Gospel and for hope. As pastor, James engages daily with Ponce community members to share in their lives and to bring them into the life-giving presence of Jesus in Word and Sacrament. He is also working to create a generation of local leaders and well-grounded laity and future pastors who will be able to continue to spread the Gospel throughout Puerto Rico, around the Latin America region, and the world.
As a deaconess, Christel is involved in the long-term disaster relief efforts at the mission’s various Casa de Amparo y Respuesta al Desastre (House of Refuge and Disaster Response) mercy houses. From these places, LCMS missionaries and Puerto Rican Lutherans offer food, water and other basic necessities to community members affected by the hurricane. She is also engaged in assessing needs in the community and coordinating efforts to meet those needs as a congregation and mission.
Jeancarlos and Caitlin de Ramirez (lcms.org/Ramirez) – Dominican Republic (Caitlin’s home congregation – Salem, Coloma)
Deaconess Caitlin Ramírez serves as a deaconess missionary in the Dominican Republic. She works as a congregational deaconess alongside the pastors. She serves as a mentor for the formation of Dominican deaconesses and works with the seminary in the Dominican Republic to train them on a congregational level. She also supports the work of the mercy houses in this country, seeking to strengthen their relationships with the congregations. She specifically works with the program Amigos de Jesus, “Friends of Jesus,” which is a disabilities outreach ministry.
Jeancarlos was born in Lima, Peru, and is a member of La Mision Luterana del Peru. He is currently studying at Seminario Concordia El Reformador, the LCMS seminary in the Dominican Republic. When Jeancarlos finishes seminary, he will receive a call as a pastor of La Mision Luterana del Peru, and he and his family will return to Peru.
These missionaries could not do the work they do if they were not financially and prayerfully supported by many LCMS congregations and individuals. The District’s Here We Stand Campaign (herewestand.michigandistrict.org), under its International Ministry initiative, sends financial support to these missionaries on an annual basis. Please keep these servants in your prayers and hear their stories through their newsletters found at michigandistrict.org/ministries/world-missions/.
Photo collage shows missionaries in order of appearance in article. Photos courtesy of LCMS Missions.