Rev. Walter Ries is an inspiration to us all. After ordination through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, he began serving in the Dominican Republic in the fall of 2005. Pastor Walter is committed to the Word of God, passionate about teaching and preaching the Good News, full of charisma, enthusiasm and energy. Every man studying to be a pastor in Brazil has to learn to play an instrument before leaving seminary. Pastor Walter plays the guitar and livens up the worship services with music. The people love it! When Pastor Walter was installed in Santiago a group of people from the other side of the island came to the installation and asked him “Will you come and teach us about Jesus?” And Pastor Walter has been busy ever since! (See his photo album on this blog).
The first thing you see when you meet Pastor Walter is his BIG WARM SMILE that invites you to enjoy the world with him. He is great with youth, great evangelist and teacher, loves his family, makes you laugh, and is really fun to be around.
A couple years ago, Pastor Walter married Ana, who joined him in the mission field. Anna is equally as enthusiastic and full of energy and she too has a beautiful smile that warmly welcomes you. Ana is from Brazil and while she misses her family terribly, she remains supportive of Pastor Walter and frequently joins him in his work. Ana is busy teaching Portuguese at a Santiago school and attending the University (business, I think?). Ana is great with children which is super helpful during worship service and church gatherings. Whenever we visit the DR, Pastor Walter and Ana cooks us churrasco (grilled meat) at their house which is delicious!!!!!
Please join me in praying for Pastor Walter and Ana:
Lord Jesus, “During your earthly ministry You called men to be Your apostles and still today You call men to be pastors in Your Church —to proclaim the Gospel of forgiveness of sins, to baptize, to nourish Your people with Your holy Supper, and to minister in countless ways to Your flock. Grant to Pastor Walter fidelity to Your Word, wisdom by Your Spirit, and strength from above, that he may carry out his calling faithfully. Make him a fearless confessor of Your truth. Keep him from error in his teaching and family scandal in his life. Give him courage to admonish those who stray, compassion to bind up the brokenhearted, and discernment to apply Law and Gospel to all appropriately. May he protect Your flock from ravaging wolves and shepherd Your lambs into green pastures.” Grant Anna your Holy Spirit to continue to fill her with patience, kind heartedness, gentleness and love that every pastor’s wife needs. Bless her endeavors in schooling, her love of children, and her gift of teaching so that others may be blessed and your kingdom expanded. Send your holy angels to encamp around Pastor Walter and Anna to protect them every day from all harm and danger. In Your most precious name, Amen.
(“quoted section” from the Lutheran Book of Prayer, Concordia Publishing House, 2005, page 153)
In future blogs I will introduce you to the other inspirational missionaries that serve in the DR. For today, I randomly started with Pastor Walter and Ana but am excited to tell you more about Danelle, Pastor Krey, Rebecca and beautiful little Esther.