Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ethiopia from Claude and Rhonda Houge, missionaries

From Claude and Rhoda Houge, on assignment in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) is made up of almost five million members. Their church is divided into synods, or districts. This was Claude’s first visit to the headquarters of the Central Ethiopian Synod, the largest one. He was also able to see classes in session at Hope of Life Training Center, where there is a two-year program for training evangelists for the church. Their buildings are overcrowded, which is a good problem since that means many people are being trained. But, it is also a challenge for this school.

“Claude had not been to Gambella in western Ethiopia for some time, so he was glad for the opportunity to meet with church leaders there. There are many Sudanese in this area, because of refugee camps, but many are starting to move back to Sudan. Besides discussions with church leaders and EECMY synodical leadership in that area, Claude enjoyed Sunday morning worship with more than 1,000 people. He was also able to give the church 144 Nuer-language Bibles for distribution into areas of Sudan where the church is being planted.

“After returning to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Claude went to Awassa, about five hours south, and visited the leadership at a Tabor congregation. These people are serious about outreach, and the LCMS has helped support Mission Training Centers in this area. They have planted more than 20 churches in an area that is heavily Muslim. Their main church is very large, and they are in the process of building a bigger building (without asking for financial help from our mission).”

Friday, December 12, 2008

By Pastor John D Juhl

Lutherans for Life

Fully Human From Conception

Month 0

At the moment of conception a unique human being begins his or her earthly existence. Only one cell, yet fully human, with a unique set of DNA. This is how our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world.

While His conception was unique from all other humans, Jesus was fully human, beginning as one cell, just like each of us. He found His first earthly home in the safety of Mary’s womb for about nine months. See Matthew 1:18

Month 1

During this first amazing month of human life, Jesus grew to 10,000 times His size at conception. He was totally dependent on His mother just as every other human being at this stage of life. By week three, the Savior’s heart had begun to pump the blood which would one day be shed for the sins of the world.

Matthew 1:20b, 21

Months 2 and 3

Now a fetus (Latin for little one) the rapidly developing body of Jesus has teeth, fingers, toes and a functioning central nervous system. His ears, lips, and tongue can be clearly seen. By eight weeks all body systems are present.

John 1:14 and John 20:26b, 27

Month 4 and 5

Jesus’ brain has begun maturing-a process that will continue until He is about 14 years old. REMs (rapid eye movements) have begun-a sign of dreaming. Fine hair has begun to grow on His head along with eyebrows and eyelashes. Nutrients consumed by His mother, Mary, are passed on to nourish Jesus’ body within an hour or two. Three hundred quarts (75 gallons) of fluid a day are sent through His umbilical cord.

John 4:13, 14 and Luke 2:41, 42, 44

Month 6 and 7

Oil and sweat glands are functioning: these help regulate body temperature. Baby Jesus can now respond to sound. His lungs are fairly well developed. Babies born at this stage of development today are often able to survive.

Luke 1:35-37 and Luke1:46, 47, 50

Month 8

Baby Jesus is developing a layer of fat that will keep Him warm after He is born. In the ninth month He will shift to a head down position, preparing for birth. His lungs are now fully developed and capable of making the transition to breathing air. After birth, Jesus will continue the human growth process for many years to come.

Luke 2:4-5

Month 9

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manager”

Luke 2:10-12