The Preus Family visted Zion last Spring and delivered the sermon. Rev. David and Jennifer Preus serve the Lord as career missionaries through The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the Dominican Republic. The following is an abridged version of his May 2016 newsletter. The complete PDF version is available online.
Dear friends, welcome to our May newsletter! As we make the best of our present situa-tion, our spirits are undaunted. We are as excited as ever to move on to the next step of doing God’s work in the Dominican Republic. We thank you for all your continued prayers, encouragement, and financial support, and we invite you to continue following our journey!
Where is Jesus?
If my four-year-old son, Søren, were to ask me, “Where is Jesus,” what would I tell him? I would say, “Jesus is in heaven!” And this is true. We confess in the Apostles’ Creed that “on the third day, He rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Jesus’ disciples knew from experience that Jesus went to heaven. They watched him go off into the sky until a cloud hid him from their sight. Jesus is certainly in heaven. But what does this mean? If Jesus is in heaven, then it stands to reason that he is separated from us. He is absent, gone, somewhere else—somewhere, but not here. But reason is wrong.
On Pentecost, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit not as His replacement, but to demonstrate His powerful presence with His Church, even as He promised: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28, 20). Yes, today Jesus comes to us in a more splendid way than anybody ever saw or experienced during His earthly ministry. Every-thing Jesus has for us in heaven, he already gives us today through faith in his promise. Even if we could build a Tower of Babel all the way to heaven, if we did not possess everything that Jesus has to give right now, our efforts would crumble to the ground. As the hymn goes, “Yea, heaven itself were void and bare if Thou, Lord, were not near me.” Yes, Jesus gives himself to us entirely when-ever He forgives us our sins—in bap-tism, in the Lord’s Supper, in the pas-tor’s absolution, in the preaching and hearing of God’s Word.
Where is Jesus? We don’t need to look very far. He is in His Church in St.Louis, MO. In Billings, MT. In Clinton, IA. In Lincoln, NE. In Santiago, DR. He is ex-actly where He promises to be. Where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, we find the One who sits at God’s right hand pleading for us with His covenant blood. We receive the One who receives us and pre-pares us for heaven. Here we meet Him by faith. There we will see Him face to face. Lord, keep us faithful till that blessed day!
Mission and Mercy
Mission and mercy go together. This is not a forced combi-nation. Our support of mercy may not be separated from our love for the gospel. In fact, real mercy comes from a desire to have the gospel preached in its truth and purity. We know that faith comes from hearing the message of forgiveness that God has accomplished for us in Christ. And seeing the mercy that our caregivers give from a Christian heart to those like Lamona (to the right) is encouraging. Such self-less love shows that the gospel is alive and well in our churches. Indeed, we love each other because God has first loved us. Oh, and nice photo bomb, Francis!
Reflections from Home…by Hans
Our trip was nice. We got to visit our cousins and grandparents on my mom’s side of the family. But we did get some sad news during our trip. Since we are moving, my godpar-ents were taking care of my pet bearded dragon, Willie. But this month he got sick and wasn’t eating well, and then he died. See, my brother and sisters and I used to like to catch toads, and the toads we caught would die after about a year. So while we were living in Billings, MT, dad took us to the pet store to get a pet that would live longer. We picked out a bearded dragon. The one we chose was jumping against the glass and it seemed like he was saying “Pick me, pick me!” He ate carrots, apples, mealworms and crickets. I think he liked the crickets better, because he seemed to like to sneak up on them and hunt for them. Then he would stick out his tongue really fast and gulp them down. I really liked him. He was a fun pet to have.
So anyway, during our trip dad called to tell me Willie had died. I was kind of shocked at first and then I was just sad too, because I was really counting on being able to visit him when we came back to visit the United States from the DR. Then my dad reminded me that sin entered the world, and that things started dying then. But then he told me that since we’re Christians we don’t have to worry about death. We know that because of Jesus we get to look forward to going to heaven when we die. He also told me a funny story from when he was a kid about his pet hamster Fred, and how he escaped from his cage, and dad was looking for him and then found him by accidently stepping on him, and then he died. He was really sad because he wanted him to live longer. I thought that story was both sad and funny, and that kind of got me over being sad too. Well, that’s all for now. Bye.
¡Dios Los Bendíga!
God bless you! Thanks for your prayers, encouragement, and support. We hope you will stay with us and follow our journey to the Dominican!
In Christ’s love,
Rev. David Preus
Questions for Rev Preus
Below you will find my very brief answers to the two questions I am most often asked.
When are you heading to DR?
Great question. We are currently held up by the Zika virus threat in Latin America. Jenny is due on July 15, and we plan to leave as soon as we can get a visa for our newborn child. We estimate the birth certificate, passport, and visa process will take two months. That would put us in the DR by September 15. God grant it!
What are you doing now?
I am writing my PhD dissertation on the fellow pictured here. His name is Balthasar Meisner, a teacher of theology at the Uni-versity of Wittenberg from 1613 to 1626. He had a passion for the truth of the Bible. He believed that all the doctrine he worked so hard to defend and explain was more than just head knowledge. Since it proclaimed Christ and His work it was practical for leading sinners to salvation. I love learning about people from history who believed as we do!
To support our work financially, you may send a tax-deductible gift to:
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861
Make checks payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod or LCMS. Include “Preus-Dominican” in the memo line. Gifts can also be given securely online through the LCMS website at www.lcms.org/preus.