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Global Stories

Have you ever been told, "the longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it finally arrives"? This was the case for LHM's Thailand ministry center when it celebrated its 25th anniversary Nov. 11 - approximately one year after its official anniversary date. The original anniversary celebration was scheduled for November 2016, but was postponed due to the death of the Thai king a few weeks before the event.

This year's celebration dinner was attended by nearly 200 donors and supporters of the ministry. The event began with a time of worship and special songs and dances performed by ministry partners followed by Rev. Dr. Douglas Rutt, LHM's director of international ministries, sharing a message based around the anniversary theme of "Thank the Lord for He is Good." LHM President & CEO Kurt Buchholz provided an overview of LHM's worldwide work and Gunya Na Thalang, LHM's regional director for Asia and the original director of LHM-Thailand, thanked donors for their continued support.

"I feel joy and give thanks to God that we have been able to continue doing ministry for so many years without opposition," says Monta "Boom" Ekwanit Denow, LHM's director in Thailand. "I'm also thankful for the leaders and staff in our St. Louis headquarters who provide encouragement, prayers, and financial support and for our advocacy board, radio speakers, and staff who work so hard."

LHM-Thailand primarily concentrates on using mass media technologies to proclaim the Gospel to the Thai people and to support local churches and LCMS missionaries in their evangelism efforts. LHM's work is rapidly expanding out of Bangkok into the central, southern, and northeast portions of Thailand. According to staff members, there is great potential for bringing the Savior to millions of Thai people who don't yet know Him since the government and people are currently quite open-minded and receptive to this message.

The ministry has impacted thousands of people through its outreach activities over the last 25-plus years, but Denow says two memories immediately come to mind.

"We assisted victims of the December 2004 tsunami by providing kitchen supplies, life jackets, transistor radios, and fishing boats," she says. "We then worked together with two local Lutheran pastors and church members who continued doing follow-up activities with the victims. As a result, 35 people who received our help were baptized.

"I also remember how God used our radio ministry with a man who listened to our broadcasts on a transistor radio while selling ice cream from his motorcycle," says Denow. "He told us that he learned about God from our programs and he never felt alone while he was listening because He knew that God was with him. He got baptized and is now very active in his church."

We give thanks to God for blessing our work in Thailand and pray that He will continue to show us the
way toward the accomplishment of His mission.

"I like to invite my classmates to activities at our church!" says David. David is a sixth-grade student at Jesús en los Pobres School in Loma Cova, a suburb of Panama City. He is also a volunteer for Project Timothy, an emerging outreach program of Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama.

"Project Timothy grew out of our Project JOEL program," says the director of LHM's Panama ministry center. "We have seen tremendous success with Project JOEL, which uses biblical principles to teach values and healthy life choices to children and youth." The program has been approved by Panama's Department of Education and recognized for its excellence.

"But since Project JOEL focuses on character-building," the director says, "we saw there was room for a program whose purpose was evangelistic."

As in most places, pastors and churches are not permitted to interact directly with teachers and students in Panamanian schools. But children may invite their classmates to a Sunday school, youth group, or congregational activity at their church. Project Timothy helps local congregations coordinate events like that and also trains and motivates children to reach out.

"So Project Timothy is targeted at children and youth in the community that is served by a particular congregation," says LHM Panama's director. "The goal of the project is to connect the children with that local church."

David grew up learning to know Jesus at Dios es Grande (God is Great) Lutheran Church in Loma Cova, a congregation that has long enjoyed a close relationship with LHM-Panama. Project Timothy has provided him a context for putting his faith to work by inviting his fellow students to know Jesus as he does.

"For the Glory of God, David is the result of the interplay of Project Timothy and the leadership of the Lutheran Church in Loma Cova," the LHM director says.

"I have learned things from God and values that I really enjoy sharing!" David says.

Look for more on Project Timothy as the LHM-Panama program grows.

"We are celebrating with a very cool project," says Lutheran Hour Ministries Uruguay Director. "It's called 'Luteraventuras'!"

Luteraventuras, or Luther Adventures, features the Special Edition Martin Luther figure made by international toy manufacturer Playmobil. Students at San Pablo Lutheran School in Montevideo can take the Luther figure home for a week, along with a copy of Paul L. Maier's book Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World. They are encouraged to take Luther with them on their daily adventures, snapping photos of him, uploading the images to social media such as Facebook, and including the hashtag #luteraventuras.

Little Luther has been getting around. "To our surprise, many kids have had fun with the idea and have had great adventures with Martin! We are delighted that our ministry can be 'godparents' of this initiative to help make know our legacy as Lutherans in this special year."

What's a good way to start building a relationship? How about dance? For Lutheran Hour Ministries' outreach center in Latvia, having a dance party isn't just a good way to start-it's a great way.

"For our ministry, opportunities to share the Gospel come when we build relationships in communities and make friends," says LHM-Latvia Director. "Through the years, we have found that really the best way to get friends with people, with many audiences, is to have fun together. For the kids we work with, having fun means moving-dancing."

Which is why the center sponsors "Laiks dejot"-"Time to Dance," an event that brings children and youth together for a little bit of learning and a little bit of hip-hop dance. A typical lesson with an LHM volunteer from a local dance studio lasts about 45 minutes, during which participants become acquainted with Christian hip-hop artists and music while learning some exciting dance steps. Often in conjunction with Time to Dance, LHM-Latvia will sponsor a movie or seminar for the parents of participating kids.

In early July, LHM-Latvia sponsored a Time to Dance event at Saulkrasti Lutheran Church, in the village of Saulkrasti on the Gulf of Riga. Emils, a dance instructor at the Dance Beat studio in Riga, taught the kids that you can praise the Lord while busting a move to up-tempo Christian hip-hop.

"Youth from the Saulkrasti congregation invited their friends to come-in all, we had 50 participants!" the director exclaims. Now that's relationship-building in the spirit of the Gospel.

Nearly 300 people have been killed and another 2,000 left injured after a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked central Mexico Sept. 19, causing hundreds of buildings to collapse in the capital, Mexico City. With a ministry center located in Mexico City, Lutheran Hour Ministries is uniquely positioned to have its staff and volunteers assist with helping those who have been affected.

"The needs of the earthquake victims will be very great far into the future. We already have begun and will have more opportunities to help those who have suffered because of this earthquake," says Rafael Ruelas, the director of LHM-Mexico. "I have met with leaders of the Lutheran Synod of Mexico, LCMS missionaries, and government officials to begin gathering information about what we can do to be the most helpful as people begin to rebuild their homes and their lives."

In addition to providing basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, and medicine, LHM's response will also include offering spiritual counseling to people in shock. The local team will demonstrate the love of Christ by standing alongside those who are suffering, and by ministering personally and through various print materials that address the questions people facing such loss are asking.

"More than anything, we want to deliver hope to these people, and give them consolation through the message of our Savior, Jesus Christ," says Rev. Dr. Douglas Rutt, LHM's director of international ministries. "While we thank and praise God for His continuing grace and mercy to us in keeping our staff safe, we also ask that you please pray for the people of Mexico, especially those who have lost their jobs, homes, and family members."

Click here to deliver hope to earthquake victims today!

Read more stories from our ministry centers around the world:

2017 Stories

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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