Global Missions in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod:

the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church
on the island of Sumatra

November 18, 2011

Dear Praeses Piter and Sisters and Brothers of HKBP District V,


I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
[Philippians 1:3-6]

I am sorry that I am not able to be with you as you celebrate 150 years of mission and ministry as the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church. I am grateful that Franklin Ishida and Lanny Westphal are able to bring greetings and gifts from the Indiana-Kentucky Synod along with their presence on behalf of Bishop Mark Hanson and the ELCA as a whole.

Please know that my spirit is with you as you celebrate. Your sisters and brothers throughout the Indiana-Kentucky Synod are also giving thanks for you and praying for you as you celebrate the past and move toward God’s promised future.

Two times in the last couple of months I have preached for congregations in our synod also celebrating 150 years of mission and ministry. I have encouraged them to think about the wonder and goodness of their ministries being born in Indiana or Kentucky 150 years ago at the very same time that the same thing was happening among your ancestors on the other side of the world in Sumatera. This is a strong witness to the amazing grace of God that spans both time and space. For centuries God has been gathering people, drawing them into the death and resurrection of Christ, and sending them into the world marked with the cross of Christ and sealed with God’s Spirit to share in God’s mission of healing, reconciliation and hope in the world.

We are profoundly grateful to be companions with you on this amazing way. We give thanks to God for your faithful witness to the gospel and your commitment to the well being of God’s beloved world. And we pray that God’s Spirit will continue to inspire, lead and sustain you as you follow the crucified and risen Jesus into the future.

Peace be with you,

The Rev. Dr. William O. Gafkjen, Bishop