Let your light shine: Computers for Christ

Ann M. Ponath

When Carl Kloehn started working with computers twenty-five years ago, he never dreamed it would lead to a mission opportunity, but, in 2004, when he retired from his work in electrical and electronics maintenance at a large Menasha, Wisconsin, printing company that is exactly where the Lord led him.

Known as “Computer Carl,” Kloehn receives used computers from friends and acquaintances who are upgrading. He cleans and evaluates them and reinstalls an operating system and drivers. He runs the computers for a few hours to ensure their dependability . Then the computers are donated.

To find new homes for these rebuilt computers, “word of mouth is the driving force,” says Kloehn. Nearby Riverview Lutheran School and Fox Valley Lutheran High School have been the recipients of his work. “Teachers in Nebraska know me and asked for help when the need arose. A pastor filling a temporary vacancy in Kentucky informed me that the church office needed a computer.” One of Kloehn’s biggest projects came from a unique connection between Fox Valley Lutheran High School (FVL) and East Fork Lutheran School, Arizona.

In February, 2015, Kloehn and his wife, Jere, were vacationing in Arizona. Baby blankets and quilts from St. Matthew Lutheran Church, the Kloehns’ home congregation, to East Fork Lutheran School were packed for the trip. In addition, Matt Schlawin, FVL technology director, asked Kloehn to prepare and transport some FVL computers to East Fork. A few months later, Schlawin contacted Kloehn again. FVL had an entire computer lab—forty two computers—that were set for replacement. “The thought of them going into electronics recycle was too much!” says Kloehn. He checked with East Fork principal Darrell Doberpuhl, but East Fork had enough computers. Doberpuhl suggested talking to Principal Benjamin Pagel of Peridot-Our Savior Lutheran School. “To my surprise, he informed me that he could use twenty-five.” Kloehn not only refurbished the computers, but hand-delivered them to Peridot last fall.

Principal Pagel is enthusiastic about the generous gift. “We needed to get the students more computer-ready for high school, and in talks with many parents, it was evident that we were not doing enough. The cost and lack of good internet were handicapping us. Now, with a large hurdle gone, we have already been making plans to give our students more computer education. The students were thrilled. They use the computers every morning and were very happy to get the chance to see Carl and his wife in person to tell them ‘Thank You.’”

“Being a young 72 year old, “ Kloehn says, “I would like to find more needs around the country and attempt to fill them. The other thing that would be nice would be to be made aware of schools that are upgrading their computers and getting the old ones to donate where they are needed.”

Kloehn continues, “Throughout my life I have been the kind of person that did not like seeing anything discarded that someone else could use. Repurposing the computers and finding a home for them has been quite satisfying for me. The fact that in this situation it serves our Lord is a big plus. When I observe how appreciative the recipients are it is a heartwarming feeling.”

If you or your organization has a donation of five or more matching computers or a need for a refurbished computer, contact Carl Kloehn at c-kloehn@sbcglobal.net.

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Author: Ann M. Ponath
Volume 103, Number 01
Issue: January 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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New Director for WELS CEF

New executive director for WELS CEF

Scott Page has been named president and executive director of WELS Church Extension Fund (CEF). Page joined CEF a year and a half ago to assist temporarily with policy and procedure writing. He then took a full-time position in loan servicing and in October 2015 was named president and executive director.

Prior to joining CEF, Page worked for JPMorgan Chase in loan servicing quality assurance management as a retail mortgage risk director as well as a host of other credit and loan management positions.

Page says he was drawn to this position because of the purpose behind the work. “You know the purpose; you know the reason why. It’s not just for making money and bringing wealth to shareholders, but to actually see God’s Word spread and for those brick and mortar facilities going up for congregations all across the country and the Caribbean and Canada—to have their worship homes—it’s really fulfilling,” he says.

“The reason WELS CEF exists is to help mission congregations with loans for facilities, land purchases—and to get those congregations off the ground, out of rented space, and into permanent worship facilities—that’s kind of cool work if you ask me,” says Page. “And a lot of times, these are loans that no other financial institution would make

Page, a member of St. Matthew’s, Oconomowoc, Wis., has been married for 35 years and has two adult daughters.

To learn more about WELS CEF, visit wels.net/cef.

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Issue: January 2016

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Meet the editorial staff: Schroer

Meet the editorial staff: Pastor Andrew Schroer

Rachel Hartman

If you ask Pastor Andrew Schroer what he is thankful for, he has a long list. After God’s full and free forgiveness and his family, Schroer notes, “I am thankful for Texas winters, a church family who supports me, Netflix, Uno games, and trips to the park.”

In fact, he recently penned a book on gratitude. Titled “364 Days of Thanksgiving,” the devotional journal, which was released in November 2015, focuses on finding happiness in God’s blessings.

Schroer resides in Edna, Texas, where he serves Redeemer Lutheran Church. He also writes a weekly column for the local newspaper. “It’s a free space to share God’s Word,” he notes.

The column is syndicated, and is published in a number of newspapers in Texas. Schroer’s writing also appears on his blog, 364daysofthanksgiving.com, which he updates twice a week.

Prior to graduating from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1999, Schroer spent his vicar year serving in the city of Monterrey, Mexico. There he met Clariza, a member of the Lutheran congregation in Monterrey, who became his wife.

After graduating, Schroer was assigned to help with mission efforts in Miami, Fla. He first went to Mexico City for a year with his wife, Clariza, where he served on a mission team and processed the paperwork needed for Clariza to come and live in the United States.

Once in Florida, Schroer participated in outreach work related to what is now Divine Savior. In 2003 he took a call to serve in Edna, Texas, which is located halfway between the cities of Houston and Corpus Christi.

During his time at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Schroer has helped develop a Spanish speaking ministry in the area. Since 2009, the church has held Spanish services on a regular basis.

In addition to his writing and congregational ministry, Schroer helps out with editing and translating work for Multi-Language Publications, which publishes Biblical material in foreign languages. He and Clariza often work together on Spanish-related projects.

While his various roles keep Schroer’s schedule full, he carves out downtime to spend with loved ones. “Free time is for the family,” he explains. He and Clariza have been blessed with two children. Their daughter, age 11, is involved in ballet and piano, and their son, age seven, enjoys the piano and sports.

In the upcoming year, Schroer plans to focus his writing efforts for Forward in Christ on current events. “I want to look at what’s happening in our world today, both in general and especially in entertainment and social media,” he notes. “I want to look at these happenings and explain what the Bible says about them.”

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Author: Rachel Hartman
Volume 103, Number 01
Issue: January 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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Extra funding provides opportunities

The Board for Home Missions has granted close to $150,000 since August 2015 to help support special projects in WELS mission churches.

“With our mission congregations diligently working to reduce their subsidy, sometimes it stretches a congregation financially,” says Keith Free, administrator of Home Missions. “When there’s a special gift, it can really lift the spirits of a congregation because they are able to do something extra to enhance their outreach ministry, which they wouldn’t have been able to do without that gift.”

These special project funds, largely supported through gifts from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS), provide money for various types of projects common to mission congregations including first public worship services, tools for outreach, children’s ministry, and facility or music equipment.

Peace, Aiken, S.C., a mission congregation that held its first worship service in December 2014, received a $3,000 grant to help the 50-member congregation promote the grand opening of its new worship location in downtown Aiken. “Peace’s biggest opportunity and challenge is simply to let our city and community know not only that we exist but also that we have an incredible gospel to share,” says Jonathan Bourman, pastor at Peace. “We are going to use this grant to get out that message as powerfully as we can in our community. In the past, mailers have proven to be an effective way to reach folks.”

Bourman says having those extra dollars really means the world to congregations like his. “They’re investments. They help churches like ours get rooted and established so that we can grow and prosper. Then with God’s help we can become not only a financially independent church, but also one which quickly and powerfully joins the party other established churches get to have when they support churches like ours.”

Good News, Mount Horeb, Wis., asked for help in starting a Morning with Mommies program in fall 2015 to reach out in its community of young families. The program, developed by a pastor’s wife from Knoxville, Tenn., offers themed educational playdates for parents and their children. “It’s a great way for neighborhood families to get to meet us, to get to know some of our families, and to see our facilities,” says Jonathan Bauer, pastor at Good News. He says it also provides him with face-to-face time not only with the kids but also the parents.

While the congregation already had plans to start the program before it received the grant, the extra money helped members buy the materials they needed to start the ministry, freeing up congregation funds for promotion. Most of the 20 people who attend the program are from nonmember families; one family has since attended the church.

Other congregations have used the grants for buying chairs for worship services, providing welcome packets for visitors, and starting up a preschool program.

Special project grants are given throughout the year to requesting congregations, but Home Missions was able to provide even more funding after receiving more than $140,000 in 2015 from LWMS through their fall and spring rallies, their national convention offering, and through the organization’s kids C.A.R.E. program. “Home Missions is blessed with many active partners who help to support the proclamation of the gospel,” says Free. “We say thanks ever so much to LWMS for the generous and continued support of WELS Missions.”

Learn more about WELS Missions at wels.net/missions. Learn more about the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society at www.lwms.org.

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Volume 103, Number 01
Issue: January 2016

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A new mission in the Philippines

A new mission in the Philippines

Pastor Alvien De Guzman was not looking to start a new church. Instead he was looking to be faithful to God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions. When the congregation to which he was called in metro Manila began practicing open communion and allowing women to serve as preachers, he and his family faced a difficult choice. In his words, “It never crossed our mind, not even in our wildest imaginations, that a day would come when we would have to leave this visible fellowship of believers with which we have spent precious years of our earthly lives. But the day did come. With a heavy heart, we made a painful decision: our loyalty to this visible fellowship ends where our loyalty to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions begins!”

But what would De Guzman do now that he was without a congregation? Where in the world would he find a church body that holds to the truth of God’s Word? He found his answer on the WELS website. In an email to WELS World Missions, he inquired, “What’s the probability that WELS will consider doing mission work here in the Philippines?” Little did he know that God was going to use him to open the door for WELS to enter a country of 100 million people.

In early 2015, representatives from the WELS Asia-Pacific Rim Administrative Committee conducted a colloquy with De Guzman and determined that he was in doctrinal fellowship with the WELS. It became clear that this man and the nucleus of believers who meet in his home are committed to reaching out into their community of Novaliches (Quezon City), outside of Manila.

Pastor De Guzman requested copies of The Promise and The Road to Emmaus to bring the message of God’s grace in Christ to a largely Catholic population. He began translating these materials in the local language of Tagalog for WELS Multi-Language Publications. He organized a door-to door-canvass, conducted a vacation Bible school, and implemented an evangelism program, Each One, Reach One.

Through the encouragement and (minimal) financial support of WELS, De Guzman is once again proclaiming the truth of the Scriptures in his new church home, Law and Gospel Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Robert Raasch, WELS Asia-Pacific Rim Administrative Committee member

WELS is continuing to support De Guzman and Law and Gospel Evangelical Lutheran Church with monthly contact and some financial aid. De Guzman is continuing his work translating Multi-Language Publications’ materials into Tagalog. He plans to attend Multi-Language Publications’ translating seminar in January, which is taking place in Hong Kong.

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Author: Robert Raasch
Volume 103, Number 01
Issue: January 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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Serving encourages studying

Serving encourages studying

Many Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary students take a traditional path—four years of study at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., then directly to Mequon, Wis.

Not all do, however. Last year, almost one-third of the junior class (first-year students) had taken some time out of their studies to serve abroad. This year, a number of incoming students also have a wide-range of service experiences.

Michael Hollmann graduated from Carroll University and spent one year in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. From August 2012 to June 2013, he served in a special disaster relief corps partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He was stationed in Vicksburg, Miss., for Hurricane Isaac and New York for Hurricane Sandy; then he worked on a long-term community relations project in New Orleans, La., as part of Hurricane Katrina recovery.

“The soul is eternal; homes and possessions are not,” he said. “Serving disaster survivors moved me to serve people in the most important way: a spiritual, Christ-centered way.”

After serving with AmeriCorps, he spent two years at Martin Luther College to receive his seminary certification.

Samuel Jeske spent two years abroad working and sharing his faith. “It was a tremendous blessing and has shaped and molded me so, so much! My life has forever been changed by God, by seeing his hand at work in the world. His Word truly does not return empty, and I’m so humbled he used me to carry out some of that work,” he says. “God is doing awesome things all over the world, and I’m stoked so many seminarians have experienced that prior to their call!”

James Gieschen holds the record. “How about nine gap years?” he asks. After graduating from Martin Luther College, he served with Kingdom Workers in Southeast Asia. He delivered sermons, organized liturgy, taught Bible information class, and encouraged everyone in the fellowship. He met his wife, who is from Japan, at class at a local university.

“I was blessed to witness the gospel to her,” he says. “She was baptized and now holds the same confidence as a child of God and an heir to eternal life. God be praised!”

While still abroad, Gieschen jumped back into studying Greek and Hebrew, using WLS’ Pastoral Studies Institute’s videos online. “My view of ministry has been affected greatly by this experience, which has convinced me of the importance of a servant’s humble heart, of the great need for called workers, and of the solemn undertaking to which we aspire,” he says.

Paul Wendland, president of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, notes, “It is so valuable for a seminary student to have a wide range of experiences because it helps him transfer what is in his head and heart to his feet, his hands, and his mouth. These students make a rich contribution to our campus—and ultimately to our churches.”

Linda Buxa

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Author: Linda Buxa
Volume 103, Number 01
Issue: January 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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Congregation’s garden strengthens roots to its community

“Even though Crown of Life has been located in New Orleans East for decades, there was still a disconnect between our congregation and our community,” says Jonathan Kehl, Crown of Life’s pastor since May 2013.

Kehl explains that most of Crown of Life’s members live many miles from the church, so local outreach is difficult.

“Much of this was the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina,” notes Kehl. “Many of our local members were displaced by the storm and never returned, leaving the church a stranger in our own community.”

With two lots of unused land in the back of its property, the concept of a community garden was proposed. In 2014, Crown Community Garden was launched, with a goal of having 13 raised beds that community members can rent at a low rate for their own use. People can also participate in co-op gardening, helping to care for a large growing plot and some fruit trees.

To jumpstart the development of the garden, WELS Christian Aid and Relief gave a grant to Crown of Life to help the congregation build a large tool shed, hook up to city water in the garden area, and send out invitations to community members inviting them to join the garden.

As Robert Hein, chairman of Christian Aid and Relief, explains, the organization has a twofold mission: “We respond on behalf of WELS members to offer aid and encouragement to people suffering from disasters and extreme medical and financial challenges. But we also partner with World and Home Missions to support humanitarian aid projects that help build bridges to share the gospel. As the missions address community needs, they also open doors to tell people about Jesus.”

In the past, most humanitarian aid projects were carried out in world mission fields. Recently, though, more projects are being conducted in home mission settings, especially in cross-cultural situations such as in New Orleans.

Kehl is excited about the interactions he’s having with community members as they work in the garden together. In the year since Crown Community Garden has started, one couple has joined Crown of Life and one more is currently in Bible information class. The garden allows Crown of Life members to build relationships in a more natural way than cold calling neighborhood residents and inviting them to church.

“Natural conversations arise about struggles and hopes, which present opportunities to share law and gospel and apply it directly to their lives,” says Kehl. “A common question is, ‘Pastor, what do you think about . . . ?’ People who would never have considered walking into a church are excited to be part of something like our garden.”

To learn more about other projects supported by WELS Christian Aid and Relief, visit wels.net/relief.


Christian Aid and Relief supports efforts around the world

The distribution of 441 tons of maize in Malawi was the largest disaster-related food distribution project in the history of WELS Christian Aid and Relief.

In January, Malawi experienced damaging floods that destroyed or damaged the homes of many families who are members of WELS’ sister synod, the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Malawi (LCCA). Initial relief efforts included providing supplies so these families could construct temporary housing.

The floods also washed away the families’ crops. This has been devastating for the local people, most of whom are subsistence farmers. To help families get through until the next growing season, Christian Aid and Relief worked with LCCA church leaders to distribute maize (the staple food of Malawi) to an estimated four thousand LCCA families in about 20 different areas. National pastors oversaw the distribution and conducted devotions and prayers with the families receiving the donations.

 

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Volume 102, Number 12
Issue: December 2015

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Pooling resources

Serving as a congregation president can be a blessing—and a challenge. Whether it’s calling a new pastor or teacher, dealing with financial shortfalls or windfalls, or making long-range plans, there is always work to be done.

“As a church president, sometimes you feel you have the weight of the world on your shoulders,” says Dennis Behnke, congregation president at St. John, Woodville, Wis.

To help lighten the load, Behnke started an informal group of area congregation presidents who meet face to face every other month to talk about common issues congregations and congregation presidents face. Since the group started two years, members have tackled topics such as compensation packages, insurance, the relationship between a congregation president and the pastor, buildings and grounds issues, and how men and women work together in service to the church.

“It’s been fantastic for me getting different slants and ways of looking at a situation,” says Behnke. “When you’re sharing with other people, you realize that you’re not in this alone. We’re a group. The Lord has placed us in this position, and he is going to help us through.”

Besides being a best practices forum, the group also has guest speakers. Most recently Joel Zank, Northern Wisconsin district president, talked to the group about the call process. “It’s really a neat thing to see these men work together, pooling their resources,” says Zank. “Pastors get together and have those brotherly conversations in circuits. It’s pretty nice when the laymen do that too. It’s just good communication between leaders.”

Between 20 to 25 church presidents from various sizes of congregations—some who have served for years and some who just have been elected—are a part of the group. “For a new church president to sit down with the guys who have been doing it for a while and to be able to draw from their experience is just fantastic,” says Behnke.

Behnke encourages other congregation presidents to start groups in their area. “As a congregation, we can only do this much. As a group of different congregations, we can do that much more,” he says. “If we talk to each other, we can take our different strengths and bring them to every congregation.”

Want more tips on starting a group like this? Contact Behnke at dlbehnke@frontier.com.

 

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Volume 102, Number 12
Issue: December 2015

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From pulpit to big screen

Ten years ago when Jeffrey Schallert wrote the sermon that he titled “The Advent Fairy Tale,” he never imagined it would one day be turned into a feature film. Schallert, pastor at St. James, Cambridge/St. John, Fort Atkinson, Wis., was merely writing one of his “storytelling sermons,” popular with members of all ages.

As Schallert notes, “Usually you preach the sermon, say your ‘Amen,’ and get to work on next week’s sermon. But I was rather fond of this one, and so I kept coming back to it again and again.” Over the years, “The Advent Fairy Tale” was shared during a chapel devotion for students at St. Paul, Fort Atkinson; on a local Lutheran radio program; and in bulletin inserts for Schallert’s churches.

A friend of Schallert’s passed the bulletin inserts on to Steven Zambo, president of Salty Earth Pictures and a member of St. John, Newville, Wis. Zambo was captivated by the story, which is a creative parallel to God’s plan of salvation carried out through his Son, Jesus. Zambo went on to write and direct the screenplay based on Schallert’s sermon. Now titled The Return, the film was released for distribution in November.

“I loved the ‘once upon a time’ aspect to this story,” says Zambo. “The fantasy world is so popular today. It’s an approach of storytelling that crosses ages and cultures. We as Christians can use stories like this to reach people of faith and unbelievers as well.”

It’s the kind of story that Salty Earth Pictures exists to create. The production company focuses on sharing stories that will, as its mission statement explains, “challenge minds, lighten hearts, and strengthen souls.”

Schallert has enjoyed watching the journey his story has taken from pulpit to big screen. He notes, “I hope viewers appreciate anew the poignant beauty of the love of Christ and the power that love has to make us better people.”

To learn more or to purchase The Return, visit saltyearthpictures.org

 

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Issue: December 2015

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Special Reformation 500 service being planned

The synod is planning a special service in downtown Milwaukee on Oct. 31, 2017, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

“The blessings that we enjoy today—knowing God’s grace and knowing the true God through the Word he has spoken to us in the Scriptures—have come to us as a result of what God did through Martin Luther. For 500 years, the gospel message has been preached and proclaimed to us and through us. Those are blessings that we can’t help but celebrate in a special way,” says Rev. Mark Schroeder, WELS president.

The service will be the culmination of two continuing education opportunities for WELS called workers held at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee on Oct. 30-31—Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s annual symposium and the Wisconsin Lutheran State Teachers’ Conference, which will be inviting WELS educators nationwide to participate. The service, tentatively planned to start at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, will be held downtown in a venue large enough to accommodate the thousands of called workers attending the conferences as well as all WELS members who are able to attend. “Although worship is taking place at the end of these called workers’ conferences, it is intended as a service of thanksgiving and celebration for all WELS members,” says Schroeder.

Choirs from all the WELS high schools will be invited to participate in the service. “With so many of the synod’s called workers present and choirs from all of the synod’s high schools, I can only imagine the closing service on Tuesday afternoon, the exact day of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation,” says Rev. Paul Prange, administrator of the Board for Ministerial Education and part of the service planning committee.

Special gifts will fund the event. According to Prange, the plan is to offer financial help to called workers whose travel costs might exceed their usual fall conference expenses.

WELS districts and conferences also are planning celebratory events in 2017 on the weekends surrounding Reformation day. The WELS website will be updated as information becomes available.

 

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Volume 102, Number 12
Issue: December 2015

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Let your light shine: Grace

Mike Graff from Crown of Life, Hubertus, Wis., shares a Christmas story that shows how anyone can share their faith and make a difference—no matter what their age.

For the past few years during Advent, our congregation has partnered with Institutional Ministries to collect personal need items, clothing and Christmas presents for the people they serve.

Around the middle of November 2014, I was approached by one of my favorite “little people” and asked an important question: “Mr. Graff, are we going to have that Christmas tree for the things to help people again.”

I thanked Grace for reminding me and told her that the Christmas tree should be going up soon. Little did I know she had a plan.

Grace’s mom e-mailed me more about Grace’s plan. She wrote:

“At the beginning of November Grace asked me if church was going to have ‘that tree for the things to help other people’ again. I told her we could ask you about it next time we saw you at church.

“A couple days later she asked if I thought our family might want to donate things to put under the tree as well. I told her they probably would love to do that.

“This led to her getting the idea to write a letter to all of her closest friends and relatives explaining Institutional Ministries’ mission and asking them if they would help her collect items to donate. She offered to shop for those who didn’t feel like shopping.

“She sent out her letters and also told anyone who would listen. She collected $240, plus numerous bags of items. As she started receiving calls and letters with donations, she insisted we make a shopping list of items that people would really need. She thought of everything from diapers to deodorant to warm blankets to “Jesus” books (‘so that they can learn about Jesus too,’ she said). She was amazed at how much she collected! She told me, ‘Wow, Mom, my little idea is going to turn into a lot of big smiles!’

“She also decided that she wanted to give something from her personally, so she chose to make fleece knot blankets for babies. At one point, while making the blankets, she was getting frustrated because ‘her fingers weren’t working well,’ so she stopped and said, ‘When I’m frustrated I’m just going to think of the happy face of the mom wrapping her baby in this blanket and the warm baby smiling; then I will have perseverance!’ (Yes, she does know the meaning of that word!). When she was finished with the blankets, she asked if we could put a ribbon around them with a note that said ‘Jesus loves you!’ Of course, I said yes.

“She told me she did this because Jesus tells us to help others, so that’s what she did.”

When given praise for the work she had done, Grace said she didn’t do it for that (meaning the praise). She said she did it because she wanted all of these people to know that Jesus loves them.

Oh yes. I did forget to mention something . . . Grace is six years old.

May our triune God keep the fire in your heart for outreach that Grace has demonstrated this Christmas!

 

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Volume 102, Number 12
Issue: December 2015

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Book Nook: The Mom God Chose : Sarah Habben

The Mom God Chose: Mothering like Mary

Upon reading the first few pages of The Mom God Chose: Mothering Like Mary, I had to wonder what I, a woman who was referred to as being of Advanced Maternal Age throughout her entire first pregnancy, could have in common with Mary. I am a thirty-something with a one-year-old! What could I learn from a teenager living centuries before me in a very different setting and time? Nevertheless, I ventured further into the book and am glad I did.

Author Sarah Habben writes a book that’s part history lesson, part examination of contemporary motherhood, and part devotion for the modern mother.

As we follow the story of Jesus’ conception, birth, life, and ultimate resurrection, the author examines the qualities that Mary possesses as the chosen mother of the Savior. We see that these qualities are not wisdom beyond her years, nor a depth of experience. Rather she has an unwavering faith in God’s promise and Word. Through hardship and trial she remembers that it is her job to raise the son of God, and that Jesus’ purpose is not for her ultimate happiness but to deliver the world from sin.

Through interviews with modern mothers facing a multitude of situations, readers gain knowledge and encouragement. Topics range from how to teach children to pray, how to raise children confident in their faith, and how to deal with technology in your children’s lives.

Each chapter concludes with a number of questions to ponder. And, finally, each chapter is wrapped in prayer.

Habben ultimately shows mothers that, though parenting can be a scary and intimidating task, if we rely less on flawed human understanding and realize God’s ultimate control, we will be able to worry less and mother better—mother like Mary.

Kristen Zimmerman
Eden Prairie, Minnesota

 

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Volume 102, Number 12
Issue: December 2015

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Booknook: 364 Days of Thanksgiving: A Devotional Journal

364 Days of Thanksgiving: A Devotional Journal

Occasionally, I come across a single book to satisfy everyone on my gift list. Pastor Andrew Schroer’s 364 Days of Thanksgiving, A Devotional Journal is such a treasure.

More than a journal, 364 Days of Thanksgiving is a journey from a place of discontent to a life of gratitude and joy. How can a humble journal be so powerful? Pastor Schroer’s writing motivates us to gaze with new eyes at life—the vacant seat at the table, the frightening diagnoses, the empty pockets—and to say “I’m so very blessed.”

Pastor Schroer never once shakes his literary fist shouting, “You must be grateful!” Rather, he nudges us to daily search the storms of life to find and record a single blessing. That’s it—one blessing a day.

By year’s end we can look back at 364 different gifts and be amazed by God’s hand in our lives and overwhelmingly grateful for his blessings. The 365th day is a full day of giving thanks, which we observe on Thanksgiving Day. The goal is to cultivate an eye for hidden blessings, develop the habit of gratefulness, and nurture a heart of joy and generosity.

Pastor Schroer challenges us and all Christians to realize how indescribably rich we are, to be overwhelmingly grateful for that richness, and to reach out to others with the overwhelming generosity of a heart that witnesses the daily blessings of an all-loving God.

I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from the challenge of 364 Days of Thanksgiving, both the book and the action. We all need to hear, “You are loved! You are rich! Be thankful.” The book is a gratitude-inducing reminder that our negatives are God’s positives designed as blessing—that’s a life-changing gift worth sharing.

Christy Bagasao
Las Vegas, Nevada

 

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Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015

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Q&A: Pastor Kurt Lueneburg, director of WELS Christian Giving

The 2015 synod convention launched the “One in Christ” special offering to eliminate the synod’s $4.7 million debt by June 2016—two years ahead of schedule. Many congregations will be conducting their “One in Christ” offering this month. Pastor Kurt Lueneburg, director of WELS Christian Giving, tells more about the background and goals of the campaign.


 

Q: How did we accumulate this debt?

A: The debt reached $22.4 million in the early 2000s as a result of capital projects and amalgamations at our ministerial education schools as well as internal borrowing.

Q: What caused the internal borrowing?

A: Some might recall that, unfortunately, in the 2001–03 biennium there was miscommunication between the synod’s financial planners and areas of ministry about the role that special funds would have in funding the proposed plan. This resulted in the ministry special funds being spent twice. Internal borrowing was needed to cover the double spending that resulted from the miscommunication so that we could maintain, instead of reduce, our planned ministry.

Q: What was the effect of the 2008–09 Year of Jubilee offering on the debt?

A: The amount of debt totaled $22.4 million before the Year of Jubilee. We praise God that the Year of Jubilee campaign saw $4.1 million in special offerings through 2008–09. Since 2009, donors have contributed almost another $1 million which, along with regular synod payments on the debt, have reduced the remaining debt to $4.7 million.

Q: What if we don’t meet the goal?

A: We will continue to make payments on the remaining debt until it is eliminated. Of course, having to make these payments would prevent these funds from being used for other ministry.

Q: What if offerings exceed the $4.7 million goal?

A: The 2015 synod convention resolved that the first $100,000 received beyond the goal would be used to provide funds for the Publications Coordination Commission. This commission prioritizes various publishing projects needed by the synod. Beyond that, the Synodical Council would be responsible for recommending the designation of extra funds in the best interest of synodical stewardship.

Q: Will our synod ever go back into debt? How will we handle future debt?

A: While it’s our synod’s goal to avoid going back into debt, there could come a time when it may be beneficial to assume some debt with future planned projects.

That being said, a string of recent synodical capital projects (the purchase of a new synod administration building, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s chapel renovation and road repairs, Martin Luther College’s Chapel of the Christ—initial construction and basement renovation—and Early Childhood Learning Center, and Luther Preparatory School’s chapel renovation) have been or are being accomplished with existing funds and gifts, without any loans. In addition, the recently formed Capital Projects Committee is working to ensure future capital projects are identified well in advance of their need.

Q: How does eliminating this debt affect our synod’s future?

A: The unknown factor is the strength of regular congregational offerings, the main source of funding for WELS ministry. In recent years those offerings have been steady, although they have not kept pace with the costs of maintaining ministry. Eliminating the debt will help us to continue the ministry that God has so richly blessed for us:

The training of our pastors, teachers, and staff ministers for proclaiming the unchanging gospel to an ever-changing world.

• Proclaiming the gospel in 23 countries in addition to our own, and making the most of every opportunity God puts before us.

• Providing resources and assistance to our churches and schools as they aim to glorify God in all they do.

If regular and special offerings come in stronger than expected, we can do even more! I encourage all of us to prayerfully and generously participate in this special offering, trusting in God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).


Find resources for conducting a “One in Christ” offering at your congregation or make a donation at wels.net/oneinchrist.

 

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Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015

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Workers for the harvest field

An important part of World Mission work is to train workers from within a culture to do gospel ministry among their people. “They know the people. They know the language. God makes them ready for the challenge,” says Larry Schlomer, administrator of WELS World Missions.

This summer, new pastors from Europe, Asia, and Africa joined the 174 national pastors serving in fields around the world.

Iliyan Boykov Itsov was ordained as the sixth pastor of the Bulgarian Lutheran Church (BLC) in September. The Board for World Missions Europe Committee called him to be the coordinator for outreach to Romani, also known as “gypsies.” Itsov, himself a Romani, will work with WELS Multi-Language Publications to prepare literature as well as seek to establish congregations when the Lord opens doors, not only in Bulgaria but also across Europe. Several European sister churches have already expressed interest and given support to this new ministry.

Founded by WELS Missions in 1994, the Bulgarian Lutheran Church has six pastors serving four congregations and 355 baptized souls.

Also in September, 12 men graduated from the seminary program of our sister church in South Asia. Another 40 men are currently studying while serving congregations on a part-time basis. Forty-five national pastors serve 5,500 souls in 120 congregations. In addition, this sister church operates seven children’s homes and a Lutheran grade school.

Earlier this summer, Peter Bur, a South Sudanese man who immigrated to the United States years ago, graduated from the Pastoral Studies Institute of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis. He was ordained and installed as the coordinator of South Sudanese Ministry at his home congregation of Good Shepherd, Omaha, Neb. Two hundred WELS South Sudanese members from Nebraska; Iowa; Minnesota Washington; and Calgary, Canada, attended the four-hour service.

Bur is coordinating the pastoral training of South Sudanese leaders in North America and also in refugee camps in Africa.

“Every seminary graduation in these places is an answer to the prayer Jesus asked us to pray, ‘Lord, send out workers into your harvest field,’ ” says Schlomer.

 

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Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015

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Supporting military members and their families

“Shoulder to shoulder in service.”

This phrase describes the Lutheran Military Support Group (LMSG), a new organization that is working closely with WELS Military Services and local congregations to strengthen the church’s ministry to the military.

“We are a national level organization designed to have national reach, but local impact,” says Philip Mowry, LMSG president. “We are designed to be both an auxiliary to WELS Military Services in their support of active duty service members as well as an independent organization supporting the needs of our military veterans and our military families of both active duty members and veterans.”

Run by a board of WELS and Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) veterans from across the country, the Lutheran Military Support Group is focusing on several national priorities:

• Providing logistical, financial, and educational support to WELS Military Services as it ministers to active duty military members. “As current and former military people, we bring a host of skills, relationships, and perspectives not generally found among civilian church leadership,” says Mowry, a member at Living Savior, Valrico, Fla., who served during the Gulf War.

• Helping address post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans.

• Supporting military families. “Not only are veteran family members supporting those who have served, but in a real and tangible way, military family members have also served, sacrificed, and suffered in their own right,” says Mowry. The group is looking to start an annual synodwide recognition day for those families as well as to help active military families in remote locations stay connected through, for example, catechism and Bible classes.

The LSMG is also working to create awareness and activity in local congregations. Its goal is to have a liaison—either an active military person, a veteran, or a military family member—in every WELS and ELS congregation who can help educate and encourage members. “We want our congregations through their liaisons to open their eyes and look around their congregations and community and say, ‘This is a mission opportunity we haven’t thought of before,’ ” says Mowry. “We’re driving awareness, which will stimulate individual congregational activity.” He notes that veterans and military families in the community may also notice this focus, which presents new outreach opportunities.

On a personal level, Mowry says this new organization has given him an opportunity to reconnect with his “military focus” since leaving the Air Force in 1999. “I’m loving the fact that after many years I’m re-engaging with it, and it is giving me a unique opportunity to help and be active in the church,” he says.

This group, he says, may also offer that same encouragement to other veterans. “Our new organization and its programs provide an opportunity to engage veterans, to reconnect them to their passion for serving others, which was developed through their military experience,” says Mowry. “And serving your Lord is as good as it gets.”

Discover more about the Lutheran Military Support Group, how to get involved, and tips on ministering to military members in your community at the group’s website, www.lutheranmilitary.org. Learn more about WELS Military Services, a part of WELS Special Ministries, at wels.net/military-services.

 

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Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015

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Small steps, big opportunities

“Lutheran schools/preschools are the front door our central Florida communities are using as welcome mats for the gospel,” says Donn Dobberstein, pastor at Our Savior’s, Port Orange, Fla.

Dobberstein says that even as there have been concerns about decreasing enrollment in WELS elementary schools, enrollment in WELS childcare and preschool ministries is growing in his area. Our Savior’s is a great example of this.

To better connect with the community, Our Savior’s began a Moms Morning Out in 2001. When the group began to number 15 to 20 kids, mothers began asking, “What else do you have for us?”

Our Savior’s worked with a WELS Forward with Lutheran Schools consultant team to conduct a feasibility study in 2002. In fall 2004, the congregation opened Small Steps Academy with 27 three- and four-year-olds. Enrollment grew into the 40s and 50s, and Small Steps Academy added a two-year-old program in 2012. Enrollment grew into the 60s, so in 2014 the congregation began a one-year-old program.

Present enrollment is 105 children with a staff of 17. Of those approximately 100 families, Dobberstein notes that 44 indicated that they do not have a church home, 19 indicated that they do, and 38 left the answer blank on their registration form. Only those with a church home have baptized their children, so Dobberstein estimates that sixty to seventy percent of the children are unbaptized.

“The ministry needs are great,” says Dobberstein. “We are working hard at developing an intentional harvest strategy.”

Part of the harvest strategy is creating “connect” points with school families. For example, the school hosts family events after school and on weekends so that families connect with church members, other school families, teachers, and the pastor. These connections help build relationships. In particular, Dobberstein is able to minister to these families as they encounter difficult times. It also offers him the opportunity to invite families to his “Fresh start” Bible study that covers key truths of the Bible.

God has blessed Our Savior’s hard work. Since 2004, Small Steps Academy has served 450 preschoolers and baptized more than 50 children. Twenty-five families have joined the church. Our Savior’s is now making plans to open an elementary school by 2020.

As Dobberstein notes, “The rise in Christian education is creating a path for the next generation of families to learn more than ABCs and 123s. These families are real people who really hurt just like you and me. It is such a privilege for this pastor, our teachers, and our congregation to love them.”


Christian education booming in central Florida

Donn Dobberstein, pastor at Our Savior’s, Port Orange, Fla., shared the following:

It was January 2014 at our pastor circuit meeting. The guys were going around the table telling what’s going on in their local ministries. A remarkable outcome—six of the ten congregations were either planning for, at the cusp of, or already in the process of building for Lutheran education.

• Risen Savior, Orlando—The congregation is putting the finishing touches on initial classroom expansion to open a new Lutheran elementary school in fall 2015.

• New Hope, W. Melbourne—Walls are going up on a four-classroom expansion for a growing Lutheran elementary school.

• Our Savior’s, Port Orange—The congregation is adding four classrooms to expand the childcare and preschool.

• Good Shepherd, Deltona—With 200 enrolled in childcare, preschool, and a recently-started Lutheran elementary school, the congregation is making plans for a building expansion within a year that would allow them to double their enrollment.

• Christ the King, Palm Coast—With an enrollment of 250, the congregation is on the cusp of a nine-classroom/early childhood center addition.

•Crown of Glory, Orlando—A new early childhood education building is being planned for 2016 to serve this childcare/preschool ministry. The long-range plan is to add grades K-2 on a second campus.

Ten years ago, only two of the above had fledgling preschools. In the coming five years, the gospel is projected to touch the hearts of one thousand children through the above schools.


 

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Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015

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Japanese congregation celebrates 50 yrs

For 50 years, the members of Aganai Lutheran Church in Japan have been sharing the message that their name proclaims—redemption through Jesus—in a country where it is estimated that only one percent of the people are Christian.

The congregation celebrated its 50th anniversary Oct. 11 with a special worship service, featuring a sermon delivered by Rev. Kermit Habben, who served in Japan for 40 years. A potluck and slideshow followed the service.

“It meant so much for us to have a former missionary couple who had spent more than 25 years in Aganai attend our special event,” says Kaori Egawa, a member at Aganai. “We were encouraged by Pastor Habben’s sermon to renew our commitment to serve the Lord faithfully until we reach our heavenly home. We truly wish to do so in Aganai Church with the help of God.”

More than 145 people attended events throughout the day, including the three other national pastors of the Lutheran Evangelical Christian Church (LECC), WELS’ sister church in Japan. “Celebrating 50 years of ministry in Japan was not just a closed event for the members but one of the biggest outreach events we ever had. It was wonderful that many people who have lost close contact responded to our invitation,” says Egawa. “God blessed us with beautiful weather that day and it became a great chance to tell our nonChristian friends and family about our church history and share our faith in Jesus Christ.”

The congregation works hard to spread God’s Word in its community. Egawa says that includes inviting members’ friends and families to the congregation’s café for coffee and snacks as well as offering special children’s events, parenting classes, and lunch parties. The congregation also has Bible classes, Sunday school, and worship in English on Saturday nights and in Japanese on Sundays.

“The appearance of our church building has served as a good tool of outreach,” Egawa adds. “Our building stands out as an ‘authentic’ church in a quiet residential area in Higashikurume. When someone is looking for healing and hope and wanting to know who Jesus Christ is, seeing the church’s pointed roof and the cross becomes an encouragement for them to knock on our doors. I’ve often heard people say that they feel comfort just by looking at it and coming inside to see the wooden interior. As they join our gatherings, they soon find out that it is God’s Word and the people who stay faithful to the gospel that makes a true church!”

Aganai is one of six LECC congregations. The 110-member congregation mostly has been served by WELS missionaries but now has a resident Japanese pastor, one of four for this national church body. The LECC currently has 378 members and no resident missionaries. Says Egawa, “We ask you to continue to keep us in your prayers as we walk with you the narrow road to heaven.”

 

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Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015

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My Son, My Savior available now

WELS’ newest outreach movie, My Son, My Savior, is now available. My Son, My Savior runs approximately 45 minutes and portrays Mary experiencing and pondering the miracle of Jesus’ coming and then humbly growing in her understanding that her son is also her Savior. The main message for viewers is that Jesus is their Savior too, which makes it an ideal Advent outreach tool.

WELS has created a number of resources to complement the movie, including an Advent by candlelight program titled A Mother Remembers, a small group study resource, and a four-session Bible study. Dave Kehl, author of the Bible study, explains that the study follows the storyline of the movie as it looks at the life of Jesus from the viewpoint of his mother.

“Angels appearing to the least likely people, babies born in miraculous ways, lambs led to the slaughter—what does it all mean?” Kehl asks. “This Bible study will help participants unfold the many deeper themes of the movie and help them apply it to their lives.”

The study can be used in large or small groups for congregational spiritual growth or outreach. It can also be used as a personal study tool.

In addition, the DVD includes a Spanish-language track so that it can be used to reach out to even more people.

Plans are already in motion for some WELS churches to host community-wide showings of the movie. Our Savior, Grafton, Wis., has rented an area theatre on Dec. 13 so that it can host two free showings of the movie. Other congregations are planning to distribute free copies of the DVD to neighbors with an invitation to attend Advent and Christmas services or to hand out DVDs to all members and visitors.

My Son, My Savior is the third in a series of four outreach movies that are planned as a collaboration between WELS Commissions on Evangelism and Adult Discipleship, Northwestern Publishing House, WELS Multi-Language Publications, and Boettcher+Trinklein Television, Inc. The first two movies, Road to Emmaus and Come Follow Me, have been distributed worldwide and received critical acclaim from a number of Christian film groups.

 

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Issue: November 2015

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A mother remembers

A mother remembers

On July 29, synod convention delegates were given a sneak peek of the trailer for WELS’ newest outreach movie, My Son, My Savior. The movie portrays Mary experiencing the miracle of Jesus’ coming. The film is scheduled to be released in October so that it can be used for outreach during Advent.

Congregations can expect a number of resources to be available that will complement the movie, including a four-session Bible study, a guide for those who want to use the movie during a worship service, a small group study resource, and an Advent by candlelight program. The Advent by candlelight program is titled A mother remembers. It is a first-person narrative told from Mary’s perspective.

As Kristi Meyer, the author of the program, explains, “Advent by candlelight programs often focus on the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. This program will look back at Jesus’ whole life through the eyes of his mother, and attendees can hear Mary’s reflections on her memories of her special child.”

In addition to the program, Advent by candlelight events often include music, fellowship, and dessert. Naomi Schmidt, a member of the WELS Women’s Ministry Committee, believes that Advent by candlelight can offer important ministry opportunities.

“Advent by candlelight serves so many important purposes,” says Schmidt. “Women often find themselves under tremendous pressure during the holidays. We want things to be meaningful, beautiful, and memorable. . . . The blessing of Advent by candlelight is the opportunity to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus and listen to his Word. Being reminded of the true message of Christ brings hope, calmness, and clarity as we face frenzy in the world around us.”

Schmidt also adds that Advent by candlelight programs offer a great opportunity for outreach. “Inviting friends, neighbors, or co-workers to an Advent by candlelight has many blessings. Participants hear the message of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our Savior. They meet other women who struggle with sin and life’s hardships but who also dwell in the richness of grace and forgiveness. They become familiar with the church and hopefully will return to hear more about our blessed Redeemer. It’s a great step in encouraging unchurched women—and one that might seem less intimidating because of the more casual setting.”

To find out more about My Son, My Savior and A mother remembers, visit wels.net/evangelism. If your congregation would like resources on how to plan an Advent by candlelight event, visit wels.net/women. The WELS Women’s Ministry site offers resources, guides, and examples.


More about My Son, My Savior

My Son, My Savior is the third in a series of four outreach movies that are planned as a collaboration between WELS Commissions on Evangelism and Adult Discipleship, Northwestern Publishing House, WELS Multi-Language Publications, and Boettcher+Trinklein Television, Inc. The first two movies, Road to Emmaus and Come Follow Me, have been distributed worldwide and received critical acclaim from a number of Christian film groups.

 

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Author:
Volume 102, Number 10
Issue: October 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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Summer conferences provide learning opportunities

Three conferences this past summer gave attendees opportunities to learn more about the work we do together as a synod as well as to strengthen their skills and network with other WELS members.

More than four hundred teachers, principals, school leaders, and presenters met at the Country Springs Hotel, Pewaukee, Wis., for the National School Leadership Conference June 15-18. “The conference was designed to help school leaders reflect and improve upon their spiritual, mental, and physical well-being,” says Shawn Herkstroeter, principal at Faith, Fond du Lac, Wis., and conference chairman. Worship, keynote speakers, and sectionals centered on the theme of soul, mind, and body based on 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Attendees also had the opportunity to network and interact with other WELS professional educators from preschool through college.

Ben Carlovsky was excited to attend the conference as the new assistant principal at Abiding Word, Houston, Tex. “The title of school leader is fairly new to me. For the past eleven years, I had served as youth minister in Wisconsin,” he says. “My new call as assistant principal has me looking for ways to improve upon the excellence of our WELS school.”

He says one area he was interested in learning more about was facilitating teacher development through standards. The conference helped him start to put a plan in place. “Our school is planning on using Individual Ministry Development Plans based on the WELS Teaching Standards. The purpose is to help each teacher grow professionally and spiritually in a method that follows a plan, holds everyone accountable, and is transformational through the gospel.”

The next school leadership conference will be held in 2018.

From June 25–28, more than one thousand women learned about and showed their support for WELS mission work at the 52nd annual Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) convention in South Dakota. Sola Millet, who has attended 47 of the 52 LWMS conventions, says, “[The convention was] exciting and inspiring, awakening understanding and renewing our efforts to share the good news with everyone. Renewing friendships and making new friends with like-minded ladies from all around is truly inspiring. This has been true of past conventions and was very definitely evident at this convention. The smiles and hugs and the shared concerns do unite us. There is nowhere else that we can receive so much information about the mission work of our synod.”

During the convention, more than $25,000 was collected to support WELS mission work. Throughout the year, LWMS chapters collectively offered $38,350 for Asia Lutheran Seminary and $38,350 for the Tools for Outreach project from Home Missions. The k.i.d.s. care Russia project received about $65,000, including a $15,000 matching grant.

New LWMS President Karen Fischer says, “This convention was warm and friendly while still being global in scope and impact. What a joy and privilege to experience the love and heart for missions from so many women of the LWMS.”

Next year’s convention will be held in St. Charles, Ill. Registration opens January 2016. For more about LWMS, visit www.lwms.org.

Attendees learned about where technology meets ministry at the third large conference this summer—WELSTech Conference 2015. About 250 people attended the July 9–11 event in Pewaukee, Wis.

“We envisioned the conference as a chance for people to share their experience and expertise across several different tracks—church, communication, office and productivity, outreach, school, system administration, tools, and web,” says Sallie Draper, WELS technology trainer and conference co-planner. “Many who attended told us they had problems deciding what to attend because there were so many great options.”

Draper and Martin Spriggs, WELS chief technology officer, broadcast the 400th episode of WELSTech at the conference. This weekly show explores the use of technology to further the spread of the gospel. “We’ve seen the WELSTech community grow steadily as more and more people contribute their experience and expertise to the show,” says Draper. “The conference was a great opportunity to gather this virtual community for some face-to-face sharing and fellowship.”

Download the presentations and watch the archived livestream of the conference at www.wels.net/welstechconf. View the latest WELSTech episode at welstech.wels.net.

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

Grace in Grenada becomes an aquaponics hub

“It’s not just raising fish but fishers of men,” says Daniel Rautenberg, pastor at Grace, Grande Anse, Grenada.

Rautenberg is referring to Grace’s aquaponics project, which was launched in May. Aquaponics is the practice of raising fish and growing vegetables in a self-contained system.

Dr. Robert Anderson, professor of biology at Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC), Milwaukee, Wis., developed the idea of implementing aquaponics at Grace. Anderson is the son of a missionary and has had a love for missions throughout his life. As a member of the WELS Board for World Missions since 2007, he has visited many WELS mission fields and talked with nationals about their church and community needs.

“What I have noted,” says Anderson, “is that a key aspect of spreading the gospel is the need for methods to engage with the local community. On some mission fields, community engagement involves teaching English or providing study centers. As I became aware of aquaponics, it occurred to me that aquaponics could be an outreach tool for our mission congregations in developing countries.”

Anderson secured a grant from WLC to pursue the idea of developing a simplified aquaponics system that could be built by nationals on the mission field. Anderson partnered with Kingdom Workers and targeted Grace in Grenada as the first mission to begin this project because there is a Kingdom Workers coordinator on the island.

As Ryan Hellpap, Kingdom Workers’ field manager in the Caribbean, explains, “One of the key roles I play in helping Grace is to alleviate the strain on local mission resources when an outside project like aquaponics is introduced into an outreach program. My biggest role then was to network on the island for membership, government, and community support; plan the event with the WLC team; and facilitate the training events.”

Anderson, with the help of WLC student Marilee Gloe, met with government officials and local farmers in Grenada in 2013 to gauge the potential for aquaponics in the community. Then this May, Anderson traveled to Grenada with 2015 WLC graduate Zachary Pappenfuss, who led five workshops on the technical aspects of aquaponics for members of Grace and its community. By the time Anderson and Pappenfuss left, a fully functional aquaponics system was in place on Grace’s campus.

“In just one week,” Hellpap reports, “aquaponics brought 54 residents to the campus who had not known or been to Grace before. Twenty of them attended worship services at the end of the week of training. Six participants have begun attending Bible information classes with the intention to join the church. These are the immediate blessings. Behind the scenes, the relationships that were created through the development and execution of the program will enable Grace to conduct beneficial programs in the future.”

Hellpap also says that the aquaponics system is a blessing to the community because it is “providing a sustainable food source that is resilient enough to provide sustenance through natural disasters like hurricanes, while helping to alleviate the problems of overfishing and degradation of the coral reefs. At the same time the process allows for a home-based business to help address the 20 percent-plus unemployment rate of the island.”

Hellpap says that three things are essential for any mission congregation considering an aquaponics program. First, conduct a community needs assessment. Second, understand the cultural significance of fish within a culture. “Here, fish is a main staple of the diet and the act of fishing is a cultural foundation,” notes Hellpap. “Therefore, the idea of raising fish is appealing as the fish population is changing in the ocean. Finally, patience, patience, patience. This program can often seem slow in developing. Ministries must identify strong local leaders in the membership to lead this and trust that they can drive it.”

Future aquaponics sites may include Indonesia, Zambia, and Malawi.

Pappenfuss concludes, “A project like this in a WELS mission congregation offers the benefit of reaching out using not only spiritual nourishment and sustainability, but also physical nourishment and sustainability. By incorporating aquaponics, Grace has positioned itself to be an aquaponics hub for the island of Grenada.”


 

What is aquaponics? Dr. Robert Anderson, creator of the aquaponics project at Grace in Grenada, explains, “Aquaponics combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) in a semi-closed system. Water from the fish tank that contains waste produced by the fish is pumped into a grow bed where plants are suspended in the water and use the fish waste as fertilizer. In this way the plants clean the water so it can drain back into the fish tank. One pump circulates the water through the system over and over again as the fish and plants grow, so you can produce good protein and vegetables and use only a small amount of water.”

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

Nearly 50-year-old ministry looking for new ways to serve

Nearly 50-year-old ministry looking for new ways to serve the visually impaired

It was 1969. Richard Nixon was president. The median household income was $8,500. Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, and The Beatles were on the radio. The war was still going on in Vietnam, and Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the moon.

That same year in WELS, there was a push to develop materials for the visually impaired. WELS President Oscar Naumann asked for Luther’s Catechism to be transcribed into Braille, and an appeal for Braillists was sent throughout the synod.

“A close friend and I, as young mothers, felt the need for some mental challenge in our daily routine so decided to give it a try. We began training by correspondence and were certified by the Library of Congress. It was truly a most enjoyable challenge,” says Sue Holzhueter, a WELS volunteer who has transcribed Braille for the past 47 years.

That transcription work was the start of WELS’ Mission for the Visually Impaired (MVI), which serves people who are unable to read normal print. Manned by volunteers, MVI produces devotional and other materials in Braille, large print, and cassette tape, which are then distributed free to people throughout the world.

Meditations and Forward in Christ on cassette had always been the most requested of our items,” says Cathie Humann, general manager for MVI. She says although the number of requests for cassette tapes has decreased over the past decade because of changes in technology, the production of Braille materials has nearly doubled—and those same changes in technology are making it easier to both produce and consume the materials.

“We recently received a letter from a woman who stopped receiving devotional materials on cassette because her tape player broke, but she is now listening to the daily devotions on the WELS Web site podcast channel www.wels.net/news-media/podcasts,” says Humann. “She made that effort because those devotions were that important to her. That letter made my day because she is using another means to get that message.”

The MVI is hoping for more success stories like that. In fact, James Behringer, director of WELS’ Commission on Special Ministries, has assembled a group of volunteers who help with technological projects, such as making sure the newly redesigned WELS website is accessible for visually impaired people who use Internet screen readers. “Blind people are becoming more independent now; they can get most things on the Internet,” says Behringer. “The group of volunteers I regularly consult with is helping us get into the 21st century—but at the same time, we still need experts in Braille.”

Mary Price, a Braillist who has served for the past 45 years, says even though the technology has changed, the need for the gospel hasn’t. “I pray that this work at the MVI will continue,” she says. “It may take forms other than Braille and tapes, but it should continue. When I began transcribing 45 years ago, there was always someone telling us of the new advances that would make our work obsolete. That prediction may come true, but there will always be those who need our service, and God expects us to serve them by telling them the story of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

To learn more about this ministry or browse the catalog of resources available through MVI, visit www.wels.net/visually-impaired.

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

Students share international experiences

MLC students share international experiences

This year, 13 graduates from Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn., elected international service, bringing the number to 60 MLC students and graduates who work in foreign settings.

According to Thomas Hunter, MLC director of International Services, this connection between MLC students and mission outreach is natural. “[It’s] rooted in the heart of the Great Commission,” he says. “This command moves the mission-minded servant to go beyond familiar borders and into places they have often never experienced firsthand before. It’s a natural connection here at MLC—the college of ministry—as students explore new areas of ministry.”

As a way to both inform and encourage others in worldwide outreach, the MLC International Services Office sponsors an annual Thalassa Contest, in which MLC students and graduates share a picture and a personal reflection on their ministry overseas. This year’s winner is Sara Schmeling, a 2011 graduate who served in Novosibirsk, Russia, teaching English and leading Bible studies and other church programs. The MLC International Services Office funded the $1,000 prize, awarding $500 to Sara and $500 to the mission she chose, Daylight in Russia.

Here is Schmeling’s winning submission:


 

God’s light in a world of darkness

Dark. Cold. Dreary. Those are words commonly associated with Russia. Having adventured through frigid Siberian winter and traveled through several days of Arctic night, I can attest to this.

Walking in sub-zero temperatures, on a January night, in St. Petersburg, was a moment that brought those words to my mind. Ahead was my destination, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, a giant Orthodox church engineered to inspire awe. However, the information plaques surrounding it focused more on its historical significance than the Savior of its name. Floodlights illuminated the church with a blinding intensity when compared to the night.

That wasn’t what caught my attention however. The moon was holding its own, shining down and spreading its glow, even as the church and the rest of the city lights tried to drown it out.

God’s love works just the same here. The darkness of the world, the inaccuracies of the Orthodoxy, and shadows of logic over faith try to obscure God’s grace. But there is always the glow, the glimmer—no matter how faint—of the gospel being faithfully proclaimed.

John 8 declares, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” From the missionaries welcoming us with open arms and the church members that are always ready with a smile and helping hands, to the joyful children who are learning to appreciate an oasis of love, God’s light and love is evident everywhere. For those we came to serve, we pray that they see God’s light in us.

Light. Warm. Loving. When I hear the word Russia, those will be the words that I think of, and I pray that HIS Light will keep shining in this country and all others.

Read the articles of past winners at mlc-wels.edu/thalassa.

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

Q&A with a Native American pastor

Kirk Massey graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., in 2015 through a joint program of the Apache Christian Training School (ACTS), East Fork, Ariz., and the Pastoral Studies Institute. Over the past 20 years, he and his wife, Sheree, has been involved with the Apache Lutheran Mission, especially in youth and family ministry. Kirk also served as field director, working with leaders in both the southern and northern reservations. Now he is one of two national pastors and two evangelists for the mission. Here he shares his hopes and goals in his new position.


Q: Why did you decide to become a pastor?

A: About ten years ago, one of the retired missionaries serving half time on the field encouraged me to consider becoming a pastor. It took a few years to finally realize that God was calling me to serve his people on the Native American field. It was in 2011 when the talk of becoming a pastor started to resurface, and the director of ACTS approached me with a plan. After praying about it for a while, I was led to take up the challenge.

I wanted to become part of a team and work alongside my brothers and also to be an example to the other Native American brothers and encourage them to take part in the work on the field.

Q: How did you feel when you graduated?

A: I felt happy, grateful, relieved, and humble. I was glad the official studying part was over and happy to get involved in full-time service to the church. I was grateful and humble to be walking through the ceremony on the campus where thousands of others walked after completing their studies.

Q: Where are you serving now? What are your responsibilities?

A: I am serving the whole Native American mission field but working closely with Open Bible Lutheran Church and Shepherd in the Pines Lutheran Church in McNary. . . . I will also teach in the Apache Christian Training School. But the biggest part will be to mentor the men in both congregations and walk and learn with them with the goal of one day getting them into the pastoral or evangelist tract of ACTS. Lord willing, maybe one day in a few years, there will be five to ten men getting ordained and commissioned to serve the churches on both reservations.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to have Apache men serve as pastors/leaders in Apacheland?

A: When the Wisconsin Synod sent missionaries to the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations, they were following Christ’s commission. . . . The Native American men who we will be mentoring and encouraging can take the gospel message to members of the reservations not only here in Arizona, but across the United States. I want my brothers to share in the joy of spreading the gospel to places that need to hear about their Savior.

Q: What opportunities does ACTS provide for Apache students?

A: The opportunity that ACTS offers to the students is the flexibility it has. . . . If a student has a full-time job and is available for only a few hours a week, the program can be delivered in a way to fit the student’s time but also can accomplish the goal of training the student in God’s Word. There are several levels in the ACTS program to train people to become a Bible teacher, evangelist, youth and family counselor, deacon, pastoral assistant, teachers, and pastors.

Currently, there are no men entering the evangelist or pastor tract, but there are many men who attend the classes to strengthen their Bible knowledge of law and gospel and ways to show their faith in Jesus and serve others. It will be an emphasis of the team as we work to move the Apache field forward to identify, mentor, encourage, and train more men and women on the field to become teachers and pastors to carry the name of Jesus to this reservation and to other reservations in the United States.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: Please continue to pray for the Apache field as it reaches inward to the members of the Apache field to strengthen their relationship with Jesus but also as we make plans to take this message to other tribes in America.

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

WELS Historical Institute

The WELS Historical Institute recently received a complete set of Luther’s Works published from 1729-33 in Leipzig, Germany. The 24-volume set was given to the institute by the John Hoenecke family. It was originally purchased by Pastor Otto Hoenecke, longtime director at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, and given to his grandson, Pastor John Hoenecke. These books arrange Luther’s writings in topical fashion, with two volumes bound together, for a total of 12 large pigskin books. Published by Johann Zedler in the German language, they are among the earliest complete compilations of all of Luther’s writings. This collection was added to Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s Rare Book Room at a ceremony in November 2014. In addition to members of the Historical Institute Board, several members of the John Hoenecke family were present, including John’s widow, Arline, and four sons, Jon, David, Mark, and Joe.

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 4
Issue: April 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

Relief efforts for Malawi flood victims

Relief efforts have been ongoing in the flood-damaged areas of Malawi. WELS missionaries in Malawi, leaders from the Lutheran Church of Central Africa-Malawi (LCCA), WELS Christian Aid and Relief, and WELS Kingdom Workers have been collaborating to meet the needs of affected LCCA members from WELS’ sister synod in Malawi. So far, Christian Aid and Relief has designated $50,000 to relief efforts, but initial assessments indicate that needs are extensive and ongoing.

In January, Malawi experienced damaging floods that destroyed or damaged the homes of an estimated 3,200 LCCA families and nearly 20 LCCA church buildings. The floods also washed away crops, depleting the local food supplies, and increased the threat of diseases such as malaria and cholera.

So far, Kingdom Workers volunteers and LCCA leaders, working with Christian Aid and Relief, have been distributing supply buckets with sheet plastic, nails, and blankets to provide temporary housing to affected families. To help expedite the travel and delivery process, Christian Aid and Relief is funding two more Kingdom Workers volunteers to rent additional trucks in Malawi and get supplies to members more quickly.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief Director of Operations Mark Vance traveled to Malawi in March to assess the damage and to determine ongoing relief needs, particularly food and medical needs in addition to the structural damage to homes and churches.

LCCA members are thankful for the support. “How can we thank God enough for you, our brothers and sisters in America! You have poured out your earnest prayers like a mighty flood before God’s throne. You do not know our names and we do not know yours, yet you have come to our assistance,” says Riphat Matope, president of the LCCA-Malawi Synod. “These gifts of love do more than warm our bodies in the cold hours of the night. They warm our hearts, for now we know that you are one with us in Christ!”

To help support relief efforts, you can donate online (choose Christian Aid and Relief) or send checks to WELS, Re: Christian Aid and Relief, N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive, Waukesha, WI 53188.

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 4
Issue: April 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

NPH to publish Lutheran Bible translation

Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) will be publishing a new translation of the Bible produced by the Wartburg Project, an independent Lutheran Bible translation effort by WELS and Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) pastors and professors.

Since late in 2013, more than 90 WELS and ELS pastors, professors, and others have been working through the Wartburg Project on the translation. The goal is to publish a New Testament and Psalms special edition in 2017, with a future date for the complete Bible yet to be determined.

NPH was chosen from among other publishers to publish this new translation. “Printing this translation aligns with NPH’s mission to ‘deliver biblically sound, Christ-centered resources within WELS and beyond,’ ” says Bill Ziche, NPH president. But he stresses that this will not be the only translation used by NPH in its materials. “NPH will continue to pursue an ‘eclectic approach,’ as directed by synod resolution, utilizing the best translation for the context of any given work. The Wartburg Project translation will be one translation option among others.”

Not funded, owned, or directed by WELS, the Wartburg Project formed after the 2013 synod convention. While convention delegates defeated a resolution calling for the synod praesidium to appoint a committee to explore producing a Lutheran translation of the Bible, discussion on the floor was encouraging for those who wanted to work on a translation on their own. “There were a number of groups doing that,” says Prof. John Brug, general editor and Old Testament editor for the Wartburg Project. “We thought, why not try to bring everyone together under one umbrella in a purely positive project.”

Brug says the Wartburg Project’s goal is to aim for the “middle road” in its translation. “We feel there are some translations that depart fairly freely, not necessarily from the biblical meaning, but they don’t preserve a lot of the traditional biblical language. On the other hand there are some translations that are kind of wooden and hard to read, but they’re quite close to the biblical language. We’re trying to aim for the middle spot.” He says that means they will preserve traditional biblical idioms like “the glory of the Lord” and “manger” but also look for better ways to say things that may be confusing in other translations.

While the translation is based on the original Hebrew and Greek texts, translators also will be building on the heritage of the English translations that already are available. “From the beginning, I’ve enjoyed saying that we are standing on the shoulders of giants,” says Pastor Brian Keller, New Testament editor. “We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Copyright laws are certainly being honored. But there is this long tradition of English Bible translation that provides a base to work with.”

They also are taking into account the language used in our current hymnal and catechism. “We want to be fresh, but we also want to be rooted in the language of worship and the hymnal and what people already know,” says Brug.

About 20 pastors and professors are the main core of translators and technical reviewers. More than 70 other pastors and professors as well as additional teachers and laypeople are helping with readability. All are volunteers, working on the project in their spare time.

“One of the blessings of the Wartburg Project is the great opportunity which it is providing to many of our pastors for continuing education in the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible,” says Brug. “The knowledge they are gaining will provide rich dividends to the church as it works its way into their preaching, teaching, and writing.”

Members of the Wartburg Project are excited that the translation is progressing so quickly. “We appreciate all the support, encouragement, and prayers,” says Keller. “We thank God for his blessing and ask for his help. If this translation turns out to be a blessing for many, may God alone have all glory and praise!”

Learn more about the Wartburg Project. Download a complimentary Passion History developed by the Wartburg Project and learn more about NPH’s publishing plans

Author:
Volume 102, Number 4
Issue: April 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

New spanish-language website for outreach and training

In an effort to get the gospel into the homes of more families in Latin America, a new Spanish-language website, Academia Cristo (Christ Academy), has been developed to provide further outreach and training opportunities.

“We have an opportunity to communicate the gospel in Latin America like we’ve never had before,” says Michael Hartman, field coordinator for Latin America, referring to the statistic that there will be 70 million smartphone users in Mexico by the end of 2015. “People are getting on the Internet, and they’re getting on with their mobile phones.”

Whereas Spanish-language printed materials developed by Multi-Language Publications had been used in the past, the goal is to replace this written material with videos and audio Bible studies that can be distributed more widely through the Internet. Hartman says this will be appealing to Latinos, who don’t have a reading culture but are regularly on their smartphones.

While there will be simple courses available for non-Christians, the point of the site isn’t strictly outreach. “Gospel outreach happens when you sit down and you talk with your friends or family about Jesus,” says Hartman. “What we really want to do is enable Christians to be able to do just that.”

For that purpose, Academia Cristo will also include a level of courses for local leaders that will show them how to share their faith. A future goal is to add seminary courses for those training for the ministry.

World Missions sees this site as a way to help serve scattered members throughout Latin America, providing ways for them to grow in the faith as well as share their faith with others.

For example, when violence erupted in villages in northern Mexico due to drug trafficking, members of churches in our sister synod Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Confesional (Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mexico) had to flee south to find safer places to live. “How do you help those people to gather around God’s Word?” says Hartman. “You provide simple Bible studies that people can work through and learn from even if there isn’t a pastor there.”

Or when members of our Bolivian church travel to remote areas and meet others who are interested in learning more about Lutheranism, they now have resources they can use to help them proclaim God’s Word.

With more and more Hispanics moving into the United States and connecting with WELS churches there, the site also offers a way for those far away from their homeland to share the gospel message they discovered.

This is not to take away the human element. A missionary or a national pastor is connected to each course, available to answer questions and concerns. Two members of the Latin American mission team also work directly with national church bodies and their members to explore new opportunities for outreach and training. One lives in Mexico; the other works with Hispanic members throughout the United States.

Author:
Volume 102, Number 3
Issue: April 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

 

 

Let your light shine: Marathon

Members of Eternal Love, Appleton, Wis., have turned an irritant into an opportunity to let their lights shine.

Every September the Fox Cities Marathon is run on a Sunday morning. The marathon’s route surrounds our church property, going down the street in front of our church early in the route and then on the street behind our church at about mile 18. As a result, the roads around our church are blocked off and closed at portions of the morning between 7 A.M. and noon. This makes it extremely difficult for our worshipers to get to our church that Sunday, and our attendance (and offerings) drop by about 30 to 50 percent.

For the first few years this happened, we were irritated by the marathon because it kept so many away from the Word. But for the past six years, instead of resenting it, Eternal Love has embraced it and has held hymn-sings down at the road as the runners and walkers go past.

More than five thousand marathon participants are greeted with our testimony of praise and a confession of our faith in the words of our hymns and praise songs. Many marathoners react in kind, pointing to the sky, giving us thumbs up, and running close to give high-fives to the singers. Almost every year runners send notes of thanks after the marathon for the Christian testimony that we give. The marathon is no longer an irritant, but an opportunity to share our testimony of praise to our God.

This year we made our testimony bigger and better. In spite of the rain, we set up a tent; rolled a keyboard out there; had a trumpet, guitars, and a lead singer; put up witness signs and balloons; and sang and cheered for 30 minutes as the mass of runners went by. It was awesome. We had about 35 participants from our church, in spite of the fact that it was 7 A.M., rainy, cold, and very hard to get to the church.

Next year, if the weather is better, we hope to double the numbers. We actually hope the marathon doesn’t change the route.

 

 

Author: Robert Balza Sr.
Volume 102, Number 2
Issue: February 2015

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Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us