For all, to all, by all

“The Word for all, to all, by all.”

Presentations and new fellowship opportunities highlighted this WELS World Missions’ mantra during the 2023 synod convention.

To kick off the convention, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society’s flag presentation provided an overview of WELS’ mission partners from 45 countries and prospective mission fields in 18 countries.

On Tuesday evening, three world missionaries shared more about gospel opportunities in Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

  • Missionary Matthew Behmer, who lives in Quito, Ecuador, reported on the work being done in Latin America through Academia Cristo. This multi-faceted program works to share the message of God’s grace with as many people as possible, to identify and train potential leaders, and to encourage these leaders to make more disciples who plant churches. Currently 25 church planter groups and 50 student-leaders are working through the program, which concludes with a confessional process to become a church that joins in fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, WELS’ sister synod in Latin America with which WELS reaffirmed fellowship at this convention.
  • Missionary Luke Wolfgramm, who lives in Leipzig, Germany, highlighted ministry in Europe. Wolfgramm shared that in a place that declares “anything but Jesus,” new opportunities are emerging. Immigrants are pouring into London, one of the newest WELS mission fields where two missionaries work with a dedicated core group. As WELS Europe Team leader, Wolfgramm offers support and encouragement to a dozen sister church bodies as well as works closely with the seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Germany to offer courses for students and continuing education for experienced pastors.
  • Missionary Guy Marquardt related the amazing opportunities to share the love of Jesus in a continent that contains 4.6 billion people, 60 percent of the world’s population. Work is concentrated on exploring new outreach opportunities, training future workers, and supporting partner churches.

On Wednesday morning, WELS expanded its family of believers by declaring fellowship with Obadiah Lutheran Synod of Uganda. Obadiah Lutheran Synod first came into contact with WELS in late 2017, with ensuing visits from missionaries and Malawian national pastors for training and fellowship discussions. It currently has 28 congregations, 9 preaching stations, and 1 mission field of South Sudanese refugees. Seven pastors, 6 evangelists, and 24 lay leaders serve more than 5,000 baptized members. Rev. Makisimu Musa, leader of that synod, joined the convention via Zoom to extend thanks and greetings to the convention delegates. “The Obadiah Lutheran Synod is grateful to God for the generous support from the WELS in both manpower and finance. This support has uplifted and strengthened the preaching of the gospel in Obadiah Lutheran Synod and the communities around,” he says. “To all of you, I express thanks on behalf of my church body. May the Lord of the Church Jesus Christ graciously bless this new fellowship to be fruitful for church ministry in Uganda and the world over.”

Convention delegates also affirmed fellowship with Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, a new synod that was formed in 2021 through the partnership of WELS sister churches across five countries throughout Latin America. Rev. Tonny Quintero, pastor at Most Holy Trinity in Medellín, Colombia, was at the convention representing Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional. He became Lutheran more than 40 years ago after meeting a WELS missionary. “The Word they brought has grown,” says Quintero about the work of WELS missionaries in Latin and South America. “We thank them and all of you who sent them.”

Finally, delegates heard from Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator of WELS World Missions, about how WELS helps, supports, and trains 500-plus national pastors who serve more than 1,000 churches and preaching stations around the world. He reported that with growing opportunities in Kenya, Vietnam, and Tanzania as well as the Academia Cristo/TELL online ministry, by 2035 WELS’ worldwide fellowship could number more than 750,000 people.

“The Word for all, to all, by all.”

Read more about WELS World Missions.

Learn more about Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional in this Forward in Christ article.





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