Learning Christianity in a Holy Atmosphere

by Pastor Eric Andræ
“Hoki” faithfully attended our English as a Second Language (ESL) class for the year that she and her family were here in Pittsburgh. She appreciated the open atmosphere and the willingness of the instructor to field her many perceptive, unique, and challenging questions. We studied many different Bible stories and how the Old Covenant points to and is fulfilled in the New Covenant, especially in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Before she recently returned to Japan, she attended Christian worship for the first time, here at First Trinity at the Easter Vigil. She e-mailed me later from Japan:

Easter service was very impressive for me!I saw that big candle for the first time. Many lily was beautiful!Thank you for good experience. … I felt holy atmosphere in Ester Vigil. It was very comfortable for me. I can’t say well, my skin become sensitive in such a place [read: goose-bumps!]. Though I couldn’t understand all what pastor said (because it was English), I enjoyed attending. I forgot the time passing in that Vigil. …My daughter is going to Christian’s kindergarten from June. The area where we will go to is country side. We don’t have another kind of kindergarten. So, I can continue to learn about Christianity from now on! … Also, thank you for teaching Bible for me! It was a special experience for me. I will not forget many your words in future.

During this half year, International Student Ministry-Lutheran Student Fellowship (ISM-LSF) of Pittsburgh is involved in two exciting and perhaps life-changing conferences. In June we attended the Corpus Christi youth conference outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, with other high school and college youth from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, USA, England, Latvia, Canada, and Lithuania (www.CorpusChristi.se).As Sweden is perhaps the most secularized nation in the world, we also viewed this very much as a mission trip.

In January 2013 we plan on attending the first national campus ministry conference in the LCMS in a decade (www.lcms.org/campusministry). The Rev. J. Bart Day, Executive Director of LCMS National Mission, states, “It is wonderful to see campus ministry engaging in ‘Witness, Mercy, and Life Together.’ The heart of the church is lived out daily on college campuses around the nation. I am so pleased that students are taking up the call to serve others in witness and mercy. Mission trips and service opportunities abound. It is a blessing that Pittsburgh campus ministry will have such opportunities. The national campus conference will give students a great time to connect and grow. I would encourage ISM-LSF of Pittsburgh to join us in St. Louis.” Please consider an additional/designated generous gift, to help defray the costs of these trips and so that we might take as many students as possible.