Building Missionaries...

When you think Mexico, do you think of an all-inclusive beach vacation in sunny Cancun or Cozumel? Seven members of the CLS community will spend just over a week in Mexico this May, but rather than a chartered plane and a taxi to the hotel, they will enter Mexico in a 15 passenger van from one of the poorest counties in the United States, crossing the border between El Paso, Texas and Jaurez, Mexico.

As part of the seminary's Missionary For Lunch program, started by Rev. Dr. Ed Lehman in 1997, Rev. James Avery (Mission Study Centre Director and CLS Alum '07) invited Chris Hill and Erin MacKenzie of Yselta Lutheran Mission to make a presentation to the seminary community on April 15, 2011. Chris and Erin spoke with passion about the work that God has given them to do, "People are lost and hurting all over... our mission field is the US/Mexico border". As lunch turned into mid-afternoon, they taught the small group helpful Spanish phrases, and talked about things to expect while in Mexico.

The Ysleta Lutheran Mission began in 1982, and is situated 1 mile from the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. Their focus is two-fold; church planting and holistic ministry, aiming to serve the body as well as the soul. The mission organizes over 40 servant events annually, facilitating projects on both sides of the border such as church improvement and property maintenance; evangelism; medical, dental, and eyeglass clinics; and repairs to houses and trailers.

In less than one month, not long after final exams have been written, Cody Cooper, Keith Hoveland, Mark Schultz, Roland Starke, Ian Wemyss, Prof. Jonathan Kraemer, and Pastor James Avery will be in El Paso and Jaurez, building a new house for a family who has been "on the waiting list" for four years, and visiting various preaching stations that are supported by the mission. The students will not earn academic credit for their time and energy, but instead will receive a life changing experience that will impact their ministry for many years to come.

The Master of Divinity program seeks to form future pastors through various contextual ministry experiences and servanthood opportunities as part of its co-curricular program. CLS, in partnership with the separately funded Missionary Study Centre, endeavours to offer multiple serving and mission opportunities to students throughout their program, and expects each seminarian to take advantage of such opportunities. You can support this aspect of seminary formation by praying for students as they travel, study, and serve, and by sending donations to the CLS Missionary Study Centre.

For information about this short term mission trip, or the Missionary Study Centre, contact Rev. James Avery (

Read more about Ysleta Lutheran Mission at


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