"Staying healthy and leading healthy Mission agencies In pandemic times" ALMA webinar series

Physical Health for Mission Leaders

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the physical, emotional, relational and economic health of people all over the world. Many mission leaders have had to pivot, and develop new ways to accomplish the goals of their agencies.

After nearly two months of quarantine orders for many in the US and elsewhere, many are left with questions.

How do I care for my own personal health at this time?

How to keep I keep my employees, volunteers, and constituents safe as we roll out plans for reopening communities?

What effects has the pandemic had on global missions and missionaries in various countries?

The "Physical Health for Mission Leaders" webinar features Dr. John Lautenschlager.  He will draw off his career experience in both the medical field and the mission field to help ALMA leaders understand how to maintain physical health amid the pandemic and quarantine.


Dr. John Lautenschlager's Bio

At age 11, John wanted to be a missionary. When LCMS missionary Rev. Harold (“Hector”) Ottemoeller married a young woman from John’s rural California congregation, he became John’s role model and later became a mentor.

John pursued a course leading to service in the Missouri Synod, graduating from California Concordia College, Oakland, CA, in 1960, got his BA from Concordia Senior College in 1962, and entered Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. During his first year there he found that his gifts and interests led him to service as a medical missionary.

He received his M.D. from Saint Louis University Medical School in 1968 and spent two years at Louisiana State in postgraduate medical training before becoming an LCMS missionary physician in Nigeria. He arrived in 1970 with his wife, Bobbie, who was a nurse. They also had with them their two-year-old son, David, and one-year-old daughter, Katrina. They arrived shortly after the end of the three-year-long Nigeria-Biafra civil war. For more than a year, they were involved in rehabilitation of war-affected health centers and did a short educational stint in Uganda and Rwanda.

The Lautenschlagers moved to the Ogoja region of eastern Nigeria and served among the Ukele people, who were rapidly making the transition from traditional religion to Christianity. They concentrated on village-based primary care clinics and public health work rather than large medical facilities far removed from the villages in distance and time. In 1985, after 15 years in Nigeria, the Lautenschlagers went to Sierra Leone where new mission work was being conducted among the Kono people.

The Lautenschlagers returned to St. Louis, MO in 1989 after 19 years of service. After receiving board certification in Family Practice, Dr. Lautenschlager served for 18 years as an outpatient primary care doctor for the St. Louis County Department of Health. During that time, he also served as a volunteer physician for Concordia Seminary and as an advisor for LCMS missionary health issues. He served as a member of the LCMS Board for Mission Services and on the board of Lutherans in Medical Missions (LIMM). His wife, Bobbie, who had worked alongside him as a nurse in West Africa, was on the LIMM board and later served as their executive director until her death in August, 2012.

In November, 2018, Dr. Lautenschlager remarried. He and his wife, Alice, moved the following year to a home in Florence, Oregon, where they are living in retirement.