A Message from Bishop John Bradosky
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ-
During this Advent season, as we anticipate the incarnation, Immanuel, God with us, we hear the admonition to be ready, to watch. We will remember God’s preparation for His Son to enter our world through Mary, Joseph and John the Baptist who was preparing the way. We also remember their long journey as strangers in a strange land. We remember the neglect of those around them forcing the Holy Family to a cow stall for Christ’s birth.
This Advent season presents us with a unique opportunity to prepare for Christ’s birth by helping a mission congregation to fulfill Christ’s mission, providing them with an adequate space for their ministry. These brothers and sisters have been on a long journey from Ethiopia to the United States. While they seemed at first to be strangers in a strange land, their commitment to Christ has established an eternal bond with us in Christ. Their passion for reaching people with the Gospel of Christ Jesus is a source of inspiration and has caused them to grow beyond each temporary building they have occupied. They have tolerated unsafe conditions and inconspicuous locations but have never failed to boldly proclaim the truth of the One born in Bethlehem, our Savior, Jesus Christ. They have been preparing the way for a more permanent location for their mission and ministry, but now they have asked for our help.
One of our congregations has come along side of them to locate a site that will provide for their continued growth in mission and ministry. I am writing to you to invite your participation and support. This opportunity is beyond what any one congregation can do. However, I believe that with the support of every congregation in the Ohio Mission Region we will be able to meet their need and have the joy of participating in this mission miracle. I am asking every congregation in the Ohio Mission Region to set aside one Sunday in this Advent season to give every family a chance to become a Mission Partner in this endeavor. In addition, I am inviting every congregational council to set aside a mission gift during these next two years to help accomplish this goal. I realize there is nothing convenient or easy about implementing this request, but in a similar way, there was nothing easy or convenient about Christ’s birth. In order to take advantage of this unique opportunity, we must be ready to close by January 15th and convince a bank of the mutual support for the Oromo congregation in Columbus, by their brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the NALC Ohio Mission Region. Your faithful response will make a profound difference.
Beginning with ten Oromo immigrants in 1998, the Oromo Evangelical Church of Columbus has now grown to over 120 communicant members, and more than 90 children under the age of 16. Approximately 35% of the members have arrived in the United States within the last year. The congregation is consistently growing at a rate of 20% per year. Having outgrown their current home, this new site has tremendous potential for dramatically increasing their ministry and reaching people groups that few in Ohio have been able to reach, expanding the Kingdom Jesus came to proclaim. Making disciples who become disciple makers is the core identity of this congregation as they share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their joy is evident in all they do and say – not only in worship – but in their everyday lives. Such joy attracts others and is contagious.
The journey of the Oromo Evangelical Church of Columbus has been marked by sacrifice. The two pastors who faithfully serve this congregation do so without any pay. While many of our congregations struggle to give even three percent, most members of the OECC give far beyond a ten percent tithe of their finances. Time is also given in abundance. This sacrifice is not limited to members of the congregation. Many individuals outside the congregation – architects, relators, business men and women, and passionate individuals have donated more hours than can be tracked. Tremendous financial gifts have already been given, but there is a critical need of additional funds to meet the down payment required in a short amount of time.
We lay this need before you – asking that you prayerfully consider partnering with us for the sake of the One whose birth we prepare to celebrate.
Bishop John Bradosky
The North American Lutheran Church
*St. John’s Lutheran Church has accepted Bishop Bradosky’s invitation and challenge, committing a year-end gift. If you are interested in partnering with this incredible mission individually, please visit: http://bit.ly/2Bo6zrT