Today I was blessed to meet with Bishop Lu Guan Ho of the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS). I had the pleasure of meeting with him late last year as well, and it was nice to build on those initial introductions to one another. We were also joined by his assistant, Martin Yi.
While the LCMS is not in official church fellowship with the LCS, we certainly have an opportunity to work on improved relations in this part of the world where there are few Christians and fewer Lutherans. In particular my work as a theological educator may open doors in terms of partnering in pastoral or lay training opportunities focused on our shared Lutheran heritage and theology. Already the LCS is grateful for the work the LCMS has done in translating resources into Mandarin, which my colleague Rev. Dr. Michael Paul in Taiwan is associated with.
I also was able to learn about a fascinating mission the LCS engages in to the many, many seamen who work either as commercial fisherman or on container cargo boats and other vessels in the very busy Singapore Strait. This is a vital shipping corridor between the East and West. A chaplain provides material needs (clothing, food, wi-fi access, etc.) and even goes out to particular ships who invite him to provide Word & Sacrament to employees who can’t otherwise go off-ship. Growing up in the desert Southwest of America, I might never have even considered such a ministry!
I suggested and we discussed the possibility of a larger-scale gathering of Lutheran pastors from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore late this year or next year. It’s always good to remember the global and eternal nature of God’s Church and work! Please continue prayers for improved relations and future cooperative efforts, all to God’s glory!