Non-resident missionary to Nigeria called

In an attempt to strengthen national leadership and provide more hands-on opportunities to work with leaders and members, the Africa Committee of WELS World Missions has called Rev. Douglas Weiser to serve part-time as a non-resident missionary to our two sister synods in Nigeria, Christ the King and All Saints. Weiser started his call in July.

Weiser has served as liaison to Nigeria since 2002 and has conducted 21 field visits since that time. As liaison, he traveled to Nigeria twice a year for three weeks at a time as well as arranged instructors to teach at the Nigerian seminary—besides serving a parish call in Bellevue, Washington. Now as a non-resident missionary, he will make quarterly visits for a month at a time as well as have more time to do administrative work and conduct presentations back in the U.S. “With dividing my time between two synods, [before] I could only spend five or six days with each and only meet with leaders. There are all kinds of other groups and people I should spend time with,” says Weiser, now retired from full-time ministry. “This gives me a lot more time for mentoring and hands-on training.”

WELS especially works closely with Christ the King and All Saints in training their pastors. Since the seminary opened in 1992, WELS professors and pastors have traveled to Nigeria to teach courses. Currently seven students from All Saints and three students from Christ the King study on Christ the King’s seminary campus in Uruk Uso. Weiser says that if classes stay on schedule, these students will graduate in January 2015, the fourth graduating class from the Nigerian seminary.

Weiser made his first trip to Nigeria as a non-resident missionary in July. On that trip he presented several courses requested from the president of All Saints at three different locations as well as helped dedicate the first synod office and preseminary classroom for All Saints. Now All Saints will offer its own preseminary courses for two years before students take three years of seminary courses at Uruk Uso.

Weiser, along with Dr. E. Allen Sorum and Rev. Scott Mews, plans to return to Nigeria in October. Sorum and Mews will be teaching classes at the seminary while Weiser visits various congregations to meet with the national leadership. An August teaching team’s visit had to be canceled due to an outbreak of ebola in Nigeria. “Our office, in conjunction with the risk management team, will continue to monitor the ebola situation with the understanding that we cannot put our called workers in harm’s way,” says Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator for WELS World Missions.

Currently 18 national pastors serve more than 50 congregations and 4,200 members in our two sister synods in Nigeria. While Congregation Mission Offerings provide partial funding, the growth of the work in Nigeria is made possible by special gifts.

“I pray that there’s a growing army of trained confessional Lutheran pastors who can take the leadership of the Nigerian church well into the future,” says Schlomer.

Read more about the Nigerian church.