Seminary at Morondava

I entered one classroom and then talked to the students and faculty. I got to teach at a seminary in Madagascar!

I started with a discussion of Matthew 5: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see God.” I talked about how people see wealth, health, power, etc as making for happiness, but that God (who sees things differently from people) turns this on its head. True happiness comes when we see God, but we don't see God in the midst of our success, but rather in the midst of our failures.

Then we talked about ELCA and its differences from LCMS. The essence lies in our understanding of the Bible. They believe that the Bible “contains” God's Word where we know that the Bible “is” God's Word. From that stems their ordaining women (they liked the word, pastorette) and approving of homosexuality.

I talked about the internal evidence in the Bible for its being written by the prophets of God (“These are the generations of” as signature not title; same chapter in 2nd Kings and Jeremiah; Ezra's Chronicles at the end of the Hebrew canon) as well as the New Testament canon set by John, the last Apostle (who says, “don't add or subtract” from this book = Bible in Greek, not from this letter or writing). They requested that written down, so I have a task as soon as I get back – among other things.

They have 17 pastoral students in a 4 year program. Obviously, they need more pastors. Their library is short of books, not to mention trustworthy books. [Lenski, Leupold, and others]. Their computer is long broken. The faculty would like to improve their training, but it is hard to study and/or prepare when you can't even type your papers without going to a cybercafe. They are beggin for assistance, books and/or teachers. I did tell them about GLO and our request system. We'll see.

What I see are people serving our Lord faithfully in a limited situation. The gospel is present and being proclaimed.

This afternoon I talked about the problems of the various institutions. The day school had half its buildings destroyed in an arson fire a couple years ago and can't afford to rebuild – they can run but not build. The Bible School (Catechist training) would like to train the pastor's wives in sewing and cooking, but can't afford the needed materials (they have a well qualified teacher but no money to pay for flour etc). The seminary is just losing its subsidy to pay its teachers (already they work half time for local churches).

And then the teacher who is advanced studies material and would love to study at Concodia, but has no time to practice English (although he did decently with me). Kai! God has a great set of problems here. It will be fun to see what he does with them.