The last six months of the global pandemic has been especially difficult for our seminary’s education, since theological formation cannot be done exclusively online. Although we are grateful for the gift of technology, there is no replacement for physical interactions between students and their teachers when it comes to the training of pastors and church workers.
It becomes even more complicated in Haiti because students do not own computers and even if they did, the technological networks are unreliable. In Nicaragua, we are offering an online course taught by an Americans LCMS professor. Yet we are not able to do this in Haiti. In short, we need to wait until the end of this pandemic before we can recommence sending professors there.
On the bright side, Pastor Blaise Marin, of Haitian origin and who has taught for our 30 students in the past, (and who was scheduled to present for us at our last Annual Meeting which was cancelled) is ready to teach in Haiti at the first opportunity. In the meantime, students wait in anticipation and continue to practice the refreshing lessons that they have already learned through the Lutheran church and our courses.
These messages are so eagerly sought and embraced in a dark and confused society, where many false teachings and false religions run rampant. For instance, the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins, freely given by Jesus’ death and resurrection and by which our names have been written in the book of life by the very hand of our Lord in Holy Baptism. This message matters more than health, wealth and a long life, and continues to produce a harvest of spiritual fruit and the planting of new churches in the developing world.
Dr. Harold Ristau,
Associate Professor Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary