Cynthia Pine, a missionary who received funds from Here We Stand’s International Ministry Initiative, recently returned to Michigan from two years’ service in the Dominican Republic, where she served as Regional Project Manager with LCMS Latin America & Caribbean (LAC). Here she talks about one of the projects she was involved with.
In a step of faith, the LCMS Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) regional team in 2017 inaugurated the new seminary in Santiago, Dominican Republic (D.R.) to provide formation and continuing education for Lutheran pastors who will plant and lead churches in their home country and language. The need was great. Other Spanish-language Lutheran seminaries in the LAC area were at capacity and the demand for training deaconesses was growing.
A key goal of the seminary, not fulfilled in the D.R. until last year, was to open a library to support the students’ course work and continuing education. On September 12, 2021, the Seminary held a ceremony to dedicate the fifth year of classes and to officially open the library of the “Seminario Concordia el Reformador” (SCR). In declaring “open” the facility, the Seminary’s Director, Rev. Joel Fritsche, acknowledged the many hours spent by local staff, seminary students, and missionaries on behalf of bringing this library to fruition.
We know the importance of books, particularly theological books. The Dominican people love to discuss our books and the knowledge contained in them. Rev. Ted Krey, Regional Director for LAC, tells of his arrival at the airport when he first moved to the D.R. in 2009. A customs official asked him about the books in his suitcase: in particular, one in the Greek language. When Pastor Krey explained to him that this was one of the Gospels written in the author’s own language, the official asked, “Why didn’t my church ever tell me about that?” Digging further, he found a book in Hebrew, and after hearing Krey’s explanation, the official asked the same question. Our seminarians learn the Scriptures in both those biblical languages. The seminary library now has texts—in Spanish—on reading the Scriptures in Greek and Hebrew.
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Naumann, the seminary’s librarian, explains: “The primary goal of the SCR Library is to serve local students, deaconesses, and missionaries with a functioning research library.” As a “research” library, no books will be lent out, only used within the facility. This first phase of the library’s development has focused on acquiring the important texts and resources needed to support students and faculty; on providing ample space for students to study; and on creating the infrastructure necessary for Phase Two, when digital books and online resources will be the focus. Another important feature of the library is that the quantity and quality of titles will help make the case for the Seminary’s accreditation by the Government of the D.R. when that application process begins.
As of this writing, the library boasts three main rooms: the “stacks,” where all books are housed once they are entered into the catalog and labeled; the conference room, containing a large table plus electronics for Zoom meetings; and the librarian’s office with shelves for periodicals. An adjacent unused classroom holds books and shelves waiting to be processed; and a large closet for WiFi equipment and specialty cleaning products takes up the remainder of the north side, second floor of the LAC Mission’s building in Palmar Arriba, just outside Santiago. You are invited to visit!
In 2021, $75,000 from the Here We Stand campaign was disbursed directly to missionaries. To learn how you too can support international mission work, visit michigandistrict.org/herewestand.
Photos courtesy of Cindy Pine