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Pastor David Ernst

I was called and ordained as a national missionary by the Lutheran Church of Venezuela in December 2008. From 2003 to 2006 I served here as a lay volunteer with LCMS World Missions.

My wife, Luz Maria, is a deaconess and, in fact, is one of two national coordinators of the Venezuelan church's deaconess program. Together we started Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca in western Venezuela. We are about a four- to five-hour drive from the Colombian border and eight hours from the national capital, Caracas. We maintain a preschool with an enrollment of 30 children, ages 2 to 6, and Luz Maria tutors older children in reading, mathematics, geography and other subjects during the week (she also has a degree in elementary education).

Every Sunday there is a worship service and Sunday school. From 2004 through 2008, we were served by visiting national pastors and by Pastor Theodore Krey, the one remaining LCMS missionary pastor in Venezuela. However, these pastoral visits were limited to once or twice a month, and early on I saw the need to prepare myself to assume the responsibilities of an ordained pastor. I began taking extension courses in theology, often traveling to Caracas for week-long seminars taught by Pastor Krey or by visiting professors from the St. Louis and Fort Wayne seminaries in the United States, and from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina's Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires.

We have had 11 baptisms and 5 confirmations at Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca. Since January 2009 I have preached and administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to our confirmed members every Sunday.

We follow the order of service in Culto Cristiano, a hymnal published by CPH. Writing in the Epiphany 2010 edition of Logia theological journal, Douglas R. Groll, professor emeritus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, called Culto Cristiano "a fine mid-century Lutheran hymnal considered by many non-Lutherans to be the best Spanish language hymnal of the last century."

I preach in Spanish and will be uploading mp3 files in that language for linking to our Spanish-language Web site, caramuca.ilv-venezuela.net. But the sermon texts posted here will be in English.

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