London is a great city. London’s population of almost nine million people includes migrants from around the globe. Nine percent of the total population of the United Kingdom (UK) has a nationality of a different country. The well-known children’s book character Paddington Bear said it like this, “In London, everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in.” Last year UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that he intended to allow nearly three million people from Hong Kong to move to the UK because of new national security laws imposed by China on that former British colony. Now people from Hong Kong are arriving daily.
On top of the many sights, smells, and experiences such a diverse city can provide to a traveler, one thing in particular will jump out at mission-minded Christians: There is opportunity to bring Jesus to the people of this great city. More people in London consider themselves non-Christian than Christian, including Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists, undecideds, and atheists. God has always been concerned with the masses who do not know him. In the last verse of Jonah, we read, “So should I not be concerned for Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand people who do not know the difference between their right hand and their left?” (Jonah 4:11). God has loved them from eternity and has sent his Son to save them. Jesus’ saving work is done, and now God’s messengers take this Good News to the world—to places like London.
Since the 1980s a group of WELS-connected believers have been gathering in London. They worshiped and studied the Bible together with visiting pastors but did not have an organized church to call their own. There are now more than 50 families who could potentially form a new congregation in the capital of Great Britain. We are also making connections to brothers and sisters from Pakistan who reside in London. And more than 20 percent of members and leaders from WELS’ partner church in Hong Kong have already moved to the UK, with more on the way. It’s time for a new mission start! With God’s guidance we have called Missionary Mike Hartman to serve the gathered and scattered in London. He accepted the call, and his family hopes to move to London in mid-2022.
You can help! Your prayers are needed; there are major challenges when starting a new mission. Your Spirit-filled excitement over this new opportunity can help us spread the news to fellow members. We estimate the cost for our first year in London to be over $125,000. We need to make visits to the dozens of connections we have across London and the UK; find and rent housing, office, and worship space; and develop outreach publications and media. And if God wills it, we plan to call a second missionary to help with the work. If you are able, your gift of support is most welcome.
We share our Lord’s concern for great cities like London. The many diverse people need the gospel. God has given us an open door to share it. May he bless his people with his Spirit as he leads many more to join his family for eternity.
Your Brother in Christ,
Rev. Larry Schlomer
Administrator, WELS Board for World Missions
Prayer: Jesus, you are the head of the Church, and we praise for finding ways to bring the saving gospel to your people all over the world, even in places where most people have turned away from you. Thank you for hearing the prayers of your people in the London area and sending them Missionary Mike Hartman. May the congregation continue to be zealous for outreach so that people from many nations find their everlasting home. Amen.