Monday, 17 May 2010


Lídia and I were in Brazil from March 28th to April 28th to take part in the 60th General Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil – IELB (Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil), to have meetings and to give reports; and we had two weeks of vacation with our family (we did also an intensive medical check-up using our health plan in Brazil).
All our children and some friends were waiting for us at the Porto Alegre airport on Monday evening. (29th March) and we had dinner together there

It was just then Dickson’s birthday (our son-in-law) and we celebrated with him, his parents, relatives and friends.
Our little grandson Henrique (one year and seven months old) was happy when he received some gifts from the grandparents.
We were in Brazil when Henrique was born on 23rd August 2008 and I baptized him.

But after this we were following his growing just through skype. It was so good to see him and to hug him!!!

Grandma Lídia gave him a Children’s Bible and was telling him some stories.
Our son Leo and his wife Carol came from Germany and we spend all the time together with our 3 children and their families: We went to the services together, we visited Martin’s grave (our 13 year old grand-son who died in an accident last November 22nd), and we celebrated Easter together, the Feast of Hope and Life!

Our family on Easter Sunday (from the left): Paulo & Flávia, Carol & Léo, Carlos Walter & Lídia, Henrique + Tatiana & Dickson.

Before Easter lunch we exchanged the Easter gifts: Chocolate eggs and sweets.
Henrique likes music and Paulo played the violin for him. He enjoyed it!
We are so proud and thankful to God for Henrique!
He is a lovely and cute child. We love him!

Our niece Inês Martina, who visited us in July 2009 with Martin, invited us for a lunch at her apartments. Her mother Ruth (my sister) prepared a good homemade lunch for us. In the picture: Lídia, Ruth, her husband Hiltor, Carlos Walter, Léo , Carol and Jairo (Inês’ husband).

My sister Dora invited us for a lunch. Our nephew Heitor and his wife Angelita were also there.

The time was too short to go to my home city Santa Cruz do Sul. So, my sisters, my brother and theirs families came for a lunch to Porto Alegre on Sunday April 11th . Some cousins and their families came as well. It was a nice family reunion and we had the opportunity to see all of them + our nephews and some grandnephews.

The five remaining siblings: Clara, Carlos Walter, Dora, Oscar, Ruth (Else passed away in 1992).
One afternoon we had a café and cake at Paulo & Flávia’s apartment: Our cousin Lia, my sister Dora Lidia’s sister Kuki (Eunice) and Lídia came together. We had a good chat.

Dickson’s parents, Valdir and Marilu, invited us twice to their home for lunch and to be with our common grandson Henrique all the day. It was a lot of fun!

Our cousins Paulo & Lia, plus Valdir & Marilu and Walter & Lizete invited us for a nice supper in a German Restaurant. - We had dinner also with our friends Paulo and Elisa,and with Rev.Arnildo and Amabile at their homes.
Some friends from our former congregation invited us for a lunch as well: Pastor Gustavo Scholze & Hildegard, Vera Cavalheiro & her husband, Dayse Lüdke, Mercedes Müller and her daughter Agnes, and Lori Blank (who took the picture).

Lídia met at Concórdia Service two friends from her youth time: Madalena Rieger and Iris Hegele Kunzendorff. Since 1963 the three of them haven’t been together!

We met also our fiend Elsa Zaffari at her shop downtown Porto Alegre,

And our friend Regina Joris came from the city of Gramado specially to see us! – We met many other friends in the services and meetings. It was so good!

I had also some meetings: The first one was with the IELB National Board. I gave a report about our work and challenges in Kenya and we talked about future possibilities.

Rev. Adilson Schünke invited me to speak to the graduating class at Concordia Seminary, São Leopoldo.

It was nice to share with the future pastors the mission challenges in a foreign country.

My former congregation “Concordia” invited me also to have a presentation about our work, with time for questions & answers.

It was a good opportunity for Lídia and me to meet old friends and to share our experience in Kenya.

Leo and Carol were supposed to go back to Germany on 18th April. But the volcano in Island didn’t allow them to go back that day.

But even so we had a farewell lunch with the children before Lídia and I went to the IELB General Convention. (Paulo and Flavia in the picture).

And we enjoyed the presents of our grandson Henrique with their parents Dickson and Tatiana.
Our family again after the last service we attended together (18th April) before coming back to Kenya: Paulo & Flávia, Léo & Carol, Lídia & Carlos Walter, Tatiana + Henrique & Dickson.


We traveled to the Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil -IELB - 60th General Convention in Foz do Iguaçu, PR, from 21st to 25th April. It was a 16 hours bus drive.
More than 800 participants took part in this Convention, which happens every four years.

The Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil – IELB has 236.345 members, 898 pastors, 2,107 congregations and preaching points. It is spread all around the country, in all the Brazilian states.
I was invited to have a presentation about Cross-Cultural Mission, sharing our experience in Kenya.
– It was like to “recharge our batteries” as Lídia and I met so many friends at the Convention.

A new President was elected: Rev. Egon Kopereck, a good, old friend.

Rev. George Groh, LCMS World Mission Regional Director for Latin America, was also there, representing LCMS President, Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnkick.

Rev. Marcos Fernando Ziemer, the President (Rector) of the Lutheran University of Brasil – ULBRA, spoke on behalf of the University.
We met also some relatives there: Rev. Carlos Hasse (Lidia’a brother) & his wife Lenir, Ignez (Lidia’s cousin).

Three old friends came together again: Rev. Carlos Walter Winterle (former IELB President), Rev. Paulo Moisés Nerbas (current IELB President at the time of the Convention), and Rev. Nilo Lutero Figur ( Lutheran Hour Ministries – Secretary for Latin America).

We were Youth Group Mates in the 1960s /1970s. The three of us sang at a Cultural Youth Competition at that time… some years ago and some kg(pounds) less…
One afternoon was free for excursion. Most of the participants visited the Itaipu Dam and the Iguassu Falls.
“The dam is second only to the Three Gorges Dam in its generating capacity. It is a bi-national undertaking run by Brazil and Paraguay at the Paraná River on the border section between the two countries, 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the Friendship Bridge. The project ranges from Foz do Iguaçu, in Brazil, and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, in the south to Guaíra and Salto del Guaíra in the north. The installed generation capacity of the plant is 14 GW, with 20 generating units providing 700 MW each. In 2008 the plant generated a record 94.68 billion kWh, supplying 90% of the energy consumed by Paraguay and 19% of that consumed by Brazil.
Of the twenty generator units currently installed, ten generate at 50 Hz for Paraguay and ten generate at 60 Hz for Brazil. Two 600 kV HVDC lines, each approximately 800 km long, carry both Brazilian and Paraguayan energy to São Paulo where the terminal equipment converts the power to 60 Hz.” (Wikipedia)

“A fantastic piece of engineering work, Itaipu is a gigantic hydroelectric power plant… One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, chosen by the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), Itaipu impresses bu its sheer numbers: the dam extends nearly 8 thousand meters, stand 196-meters tall, and its spillway handles 62,200 m³;sec. and 18 turbines.” (From: Iguassu Guide).
After the Itaipu Dam, we visited the Iguassu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu).
“Their name comes from the Guarani or Tupi words y (IPA:[ɨ]) (water) and ûasú (IPA:[wa'su]) (big).[1] Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful aborigine named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river creating the waterfalls, condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.[2] The first European to find the falls was the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541, after whom one of the falls in the Argentine side is named.[1] The falls were rediscovered by Boselli[2] at the end of the nineteenth century, and one of the Argentine falls is named after him.
Iguazu Falls was short-listed as a candidate to be one of the New7Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation. As of February 2009 it was ranking fifth in Group F, the category for lake, rivers, and waterfalls.[3]

The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along 2.7 kilometers (1.67 miles) of the Iguazu River... Some of the individual falls are up to 82 meters (269 ft) in height, though the majority are about 64 meters (210 ft). The Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese), a U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide and 700-meter-long (490 by 2300 feet) cataract, is the most impressive of all, and marks the border between Argentina and Brazil. Two thirds of the falls are within Argentine territory.[1] About 900 meters of the 2.7-kilometer length does not have water flowing over it. The edge of the basalt cap recedes only 3 mm (0.1 in) per year. The water of the lower Iguazu collects in a canyon that drains in the Paraná River at Argentina, shortly downstream from the Itaipu dam.
The falls can be reached from the two main towns on either side of the falls: Foz do Iguaçu in the Brazilian state of Paraná, and Puerto Iguazú in the Argentine province of Misiones as well as from Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) on the other side of the Parana river from Foz do Iguaçu. The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). These parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1987, respectively.[4]

On the Brazilian side there is a long walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of the Devil's Throat. From Foz do Iguaçu airport the park can be reached by taxi or bus to entrance of the park. There is an entrance fee to the park. Free frequent buses are provided to various points within the park. The park opens at 9 am and closes at 5.30 pm. The town of Foz do Iguaçu is about 20 kms away and the airport is in between the park and the town.

The Argentine access is facilitated by the Tren Ecológico de la Selva (Rainforest Ecological Train), which brings visitors to different walkways. The Paseo Garganta del Diablo is a one-kilometer-long trail that brings the visitor directly over the falls of the Devil's Throat. Other walkways allow access to the elongated stretch of falls on the Argentine side and to the ferry that connects to the San Martin Island. The fall area provides opportunities for water rafting and rock climbing.” (Text from Wikipedia).
The Closing Service of the Convention took place on Sunday morning, 25th April. Former President Paulo M. Nerbas and the local pastor Rev. Celso Wottrich lead the entrance processional.
The sermon was preached by the newly elected Pres. Rev. Egon Kopereck.
The new Board was installed by Rev. Nerbas: Pres. Rev. Egon Kopereck: 1st Vice-President Rev. Arnildo Schneider; 2nd Vice-President Rev. Geraldo Walmir Schüller; Secretary Rev. Rubens José Ogg; Treasurer Mr. Renato Bauermann.

A special honor was given to those who presented papers at the Convention. We thank God for this opportunity to be with our home-church at this 60th General Convention!