Rev. Dr. Slavik Horpynchuk, of Ukraine, addresses the crowd on Nov. 10 at the Mirage Banquet Hall in Clinton Township as part of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation 25th anniversary celebration. Horpynchuk serves as the LHF project manager for Ukraine.

Rev. Dr. Slavik Horpynchuk, of Ukraine, addresses the crowd on Nov. 10 at the Mirage Banquet Hall in Clinton Township as part of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation 25th anniversary celebration. Horpynchuk serves as the LHF project manager for Ukraine.

Photo provided by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation


Lutheran Heritage Foundation celebrates 25 years

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 16, 2018

 Special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Nicholas Salifu, of Ghana, holds up one of the many books LHF has translated and published in the Kusaal language of Ghana, Africa: “Jesus Never Fails.”

Special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Nicholas Salifu, of Ghana, holds up one of the many books LHF has translated and published in the Kusaal language of Ghana, Africa: “Jesus Never Fails.”

Photo provided by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — What goes on inside the Lutheran Heritage Foundation world headquarters, located on Romeo Plank Road north of 23 Mile Road in Macomb Township, has influenced hundreds of thousands of lives all around the world.

LHF is a global mission organization that celebrated 25 years of spreading the Christian message with a gathering Nov. 10 at the Mirage Banquet Hall in Clinton Township.

Over a dozen guests from overseas were in attendance, including LHF workers from Ghana, South Sudan, Latvia, Russia, Thailand, Germany and Ukraine.

The main speakers were the Rev. Dr. Slavik Horpynchuk, of Ukraine, and the Rev. Dr. Nicholas Salifu, of Ghana.

“It was a wonderful event,” LHF founder the Rev. Dr. Robert Rahn said. “We had around 250 friends and LHF donors celebrating with us.”

Last November was LHF’s 25th anniversary, but this year was chosen as the time to commemorate because 2017 marked the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

The local organization was founded in 1992 by Rahn in the basement of his Sterling Heights home to translate and publish books of the Lutheran faith for churches around the world.

Through the mission gifts of folks in the community, LHF translates, publishes, distributes and introduces books that are Bible-based and Christ-centered.

When the Soviet Union fell in the early 1990s, LHF’s mission work began in Russia, where the atheist government had destroyed churches, executed pastors and denied Christians good jobs for practicing their faith.

“This was something that the church needed and didn’t have before, and now is serving a big need thanks to the missionaries who go out,” Rahn said. “Before the Russian Revolution, the Lutheran Church was quite strong.”

As Rahn traveled throughout Russia, he saw a great need for books that explain the Bible to be translated into the people’s language. Thus, he founded LHF, and today the organization has translated and published nearly 1,000 titles in more than 90 languages.

“We put out a side-by-side Bible with the New Testament in Russian on one side and English on the other,” Rahn said. “That was the beginning of our work. Our goal was to restore Lutheranism in Russia. It’s the only place we, on our part, decided to go. Everywhere else we are, those other countries, we’re there because somebody asked us to come.”

Rahn said the international LHF workers who attended the celebration on Nov. 10 are representatives of LHF who generally are in charge of translation teams and are responsible for printing and distributing materials.

“They come to the U.S. for special occasions only,” Rahn said. “The last time they were here was 10 years ago.”

LHF’s work has led to the creation of two new Lutheran church bodies: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Sudan, which has 150,000 members, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cambodia, which is made up of more than 2,000 people.

“For a new believer — especially someone who isn’t well-educated — the Bible with its hundreds of pages can seem overwhelming,” said the Rev. Matthew Heise, executive director of LHF. “The books that help explain what the Bible teaches, including Bible storybooks for young children, are so important to help them see the love of Christ in a language they can read and understand.”

Rahn’s vision for LHF in the future is for it to be at work in all areas of the world where the truth needs to be taught and demonstrated.

“There’s a hunger for the understanding of Scripture, and we have the materials that can fill that gap,” he said.

Rahn is the author of several books and a booklet, all with the title “Jesus Never Fails.” Much of the material in the books covers the 25-year history of the organization.

LHF operates in 90 countries and in 107 languages and has produced over 3 million books, like “The Good News About Jesus” and “Luther’s Small Catechism” in those languages.

“‘Luther’s Small Catechism’ is the major catechism of the Lutheran Church, and people are amazed to find the contents of this book so helpful,” Rahn said. “What we hear a lot of is that folks from another denomination will study it and come to the conclusion they are Lutheran.”

To learn more about LHF’s work, go to www.LHFmissions.org.

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