“If God needs me to be a pastor, then I don’t care–wherever it is needed to make the church–I will go.” This the commitment of Simon, a South Sudanese PSI student in Renton, WA. Simon is just beginning his formal work in the PSI program. Though he doesn’t read or write in English, he and I were able to spend three days together digging into God’s Word discovering the beautiful teachings of Law and Gospel. He would read Nuer, his native language, and I would read in English. When asked why this class was so important to him, Simon responded, “God sent his Son to save the world. That is why we give [people] the gospel. To make people have a relationship with God. We need people to know this.” Simon talked about the change that learning the true teachings of God’s word has brought to his own life and his teaching. “When I took the confirmation class and became WELS, I was very happy. Before, I would say ‘If you do this, God will punish you.’ I didn’t know the difference. This message will change the people. Jesus is the one who took care of the world, died for you, even now he takes away your sin. You are free!”
Pray for Simon and all of our other Sudanese PSI students. They work long hours, they have large families, they lead their own churches, and they are studying long and hard to graduate from the PSI program. They also know why they are doing this. Simon said that it is all about having a unity in teaching.
“I see the teaching… Every year I go to Wisconsin for three or four days. All the teaching is the same. I don’t know. I’ve never seen this in a different church. We train you (the pastors) in the same place. Pastors, seminary professors, every single person, no matter who, has received the same teaching and uses it to lead his people. I said–What is this? What is this teaching? The same everywhere! …. We also want to teach the same thing so that the people are not confused. You get the same thing there and here, here and there, and you know that it is truth.
Simon is studying hard so that he can also know, believe, profess and share the same beautiful truth of God’s Word!
Jon Bare is the seminary’s International Recruitment Director.