Thank you, each and every one of you, for your encouragement and support – especially over the past months since we were evacuated from Nigeria in March 2012. During our extended home-service period, we were able to visit many of you – we are sorry we were not able to visit all of you. We will be looking forward to connecting with you again at our next home-service. (We plan for that to start at the end of June 2015, but we continue to submit ourselves to God’s plan and His wisdom rather than to our own.)
You have been generous in your financial support, and we thank you for your partnership in ministry through this support. We are still in need of additional support (about $21,000 per year more than what we have received in funding so far during this current fiscal year) in order to meet our budgeted ministry expenses through June 2015. Any unspent money from this fiscal year automatically rolls over into next year. We invite you to continue supporting us throughout the duration of our 30-month term on the mission field. It is through your faithful support that we have the opportunity to serve as missionaries. We trust that God uses this not only to bless the ministry here in West Africa but also to bring special joy to each of you who are giving.
A Specific Need
Please join us in thanking God for helping us work through the first part of bringing our vehicle to Ghana. Last night I was able to confirm that the 20-foot container containing our 12-passenger van for hosting short-term teams left the port in Houston on the 25th. At this time, the only information I know is that it is expected to arrive in Antwerp (Belgium) on the 13th of February. I won’t have an update on the next leg of that vessel’s trip until it leaves the port in Antwerp. Please pray with us that the vessel will not encounter any delays and that God would prepare the customs officials and clearing agent here in Ghana ahead of time for the arrival of the container – we are eager for its arrival at the port in Tema (Ghana) so that we will have the van available for the Concordia-TX team’s visit in March.
After a long but uneventful trip, we arrived in Accra, Ghana, Thursday night. Friday morning we went to the synod office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG) to present ourselves to our partner church and received a warm welcome from the leadership. Friday afternoon we met up with our new landlord, received our house keys, and started the process of setting up our home. The house came completely unfurnished except for a stove/oven, so we have a lot of things to take care of. Saturday we continued shopping for the most urgent items – fridge, bed, toiletries, washer & dryer, food. All of this is a little more challenging without our own vehicle.
This morning we worshipped at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Kanda, Accra. What a blessing it was to be surrounded by our Ghanaian brothers and sisters in Christ! President Fynn introduced us to the congregation and expressed his excitement and anticipation for our partnership in ministry for the coming years.
I met briefly with the second pastor at St. Paul to start working on the details for the Concordia – Texas short-term mission trip in early March. On Monday I hope to meet with the Director of St. Paul Lutheran School to start working out the details of the program the team will be involved with at the school. At this point, we are planning on a team of 8 college students and 1 team leader (staff member). Please pray for all those involved in the planning for this trip, that it serves its purpose of edifying the church through the church schools and brings glory to God.
- Pray that God will raise up short-term mission teams from among you to partner in various ministry opportunities with our partner churches in West Africa.
- Thank God for safely bringing us to Accra.
- Pray for our family as we adjust to being apart from our kids for a prolonged period of time.
- Pray for smooth processes in bringing our van into Ghana from Houston and our pickup into Ghana from Nigeria.
- Pray for the upcoming meeting of Volunteer Coordinators (for short-term mission trips) in East Africa during the last week of February.
- Pray for the college team from Concordia-TX as they prepare for their trip to Ghana during their Spring Break in March.
- Pray that God will provide new and renewed partnerships and support for us that will enable us to continue serving Him in West Africa.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership with us. We need and appreciate your prayers. God uses your letters and notes of encouragement to help motivate us. He uses your financial support as a means for us to reach out with His Gospel as we continue serving Him in this ministry to which He has called us.
We invite you to partner with us through your financial support. 100% of every gift you designate for our ministry will be applied to our ministry account. If this year’s needs have already been met, the gift will be applied toward next year’s needs. You can give securely online at http://www.lcms.org/rasch or send a check made payable to Lutheran Church Missouri Synod with “Ivan and Jennifer Rasch support” in the memo line to:
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 790089
St. Louis, MO 63179-0089
Support gifts for us can also be submitted to Mission Central in Mapleton, Iowa.