The Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki, Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, recently spent two weeks teaching in Russia, traveling to numerous locations across this vast country. Through his travels, he was able to support the ministries of two LCMS partner churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR) and the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC).
His first two stops were in support of the ELCIR; lectures given to the students at the Theological Institute located in Koltushi, outside of St. Petersburg and leading a week-long seminar at the Siberian District Pastor’s Conference in Omsk, Siberia. After his time in Omsk, Dr. Masaki continued on to visit the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC), spending time participating in an outreach event at St. Mary’s congregation in Tomsk before continuing on to Novosibirsk to teach. While in Novosibirsk, Dr. Masaki was able to participate in the life of the seminary and the local congregation, St. Andrew.
Reflecting on his time in Russia, Dr. Masaki noted,
“Although it is only my second visit to Russia, it has become one of my favorite countries. The opportunities of preaching and teaching were my privilege and treasure. I have been impressed by brother pastors and missionaries who serve there so diligently and faithfully. I respect Lutherans who are gathered around Word and Sacrament in a very challenging environment. Russia has a very different religious, historical, and cultural context for Lutheranism if compared with the ‘Western’ world. It was refreshing to hear unexpected questions and comments concerning preaching, the Lord’s Supper, and Christian life in general. As in US we must always be aware of American Evangelicalism or Roman Catholicism, you must be conscious about Eastern Orthodox religiosity in Russia, which may pose many good questions. On the other hand, as I have experienced everywhere internationally, the confession of Christ is still the same in Russia. How our Lord has answered for our sin on Calvary and how He continues to deliver His forgiveness to sinners everyday through the means of grace and the office that serves them are truly universal. I remember all whom I met in Russia in my prayers. I pray that under the leadership of faithful and competent bishops and district presidents, the Lord may richly bless both ELCIR and SELC. I plead my brothers and sisters in LCMS to continue to support them in prayer and gifts as the Lord blesses them.“
- Pray for theological education that the LCMS and partner churches participate in around the world.