The Apache Mission is celebrating 125 years of God’s blessings in 2018 as the first world mission of WELS. The Apache Mission is located in eastern Arizona on the White Mountain Apache Reservation and the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Between the two reservations there are eight churches, one preaching station, and two Lutheran elementary schools. The Apache Lutheran churches are currently training future leaders for work as evangelists, teachers, and pastors through the Apache Christian Training School located at the East Fork Mission.
As we look to the next 125 years of ministry, the opportunity is great. The Apache Mission has selected three special anniversary projects for the year:
Apache Christian Training School (ACTS): Apache Christians are asking to be equipped to share Christ’s love. ACTS provides them with training and resources that prepares leaders for all levels of ministries on the reservations. With a solid program already in place, ACTS exists to provide trained workers for the ever-expanding ministries of current congregations. ACTS will also play a key role in the training of workers to share the gospel with other Native American communities.
Lutheran Church of the Open Bible—Whiteriver, Ariz: With approximately 1,000 members, Open Bible is looking to expand its ministry through increased use of trained volunteers and called workers. They will use these trained and equipped Apache Christians to serve as evangelists, deacons, and deaconesses. These trained workers will play a vital role in expanding outreach opportunities, small group study and support groups, addiction recovery ministry, grief counseling, youth ministry, and worship opportunities.
Peridot-Our Savior’s Lutheran School: With enrollment rising from 75 to 130 in four years and requests for solid, Christian education continuing to roll in, there is a great opportunity for expansion! Additional classrooms, building repairs, faculty, and resources are desperately needed to catch up with enrollment growth. Your gifts will help present-day ministry at the school and support the various projects that will allow Peridot-Our Savior’s to reach more children and their families with the gospel.
Apache Christian Training School: The school currently has about 60 students enrolled. Pastor Howie Mohlke serves as the Director of the program beginning in June 2017.
Apache congregations: Congregations at East Fork, Canyon Day, Cibecue, McNary, and Whiteriver on the White Mountain Apache Reservation to the North, continue to be served by one WELS missionary, two native pastors, and one native evangelist. San Carlos, Peridot, and Bylas congregations on the San Carlos Reservation to the South continue to be served by two WELS missionaries. The Native American Mission field coordinator also resides in Peridot. Each location continues to focus on building Christian leaders for the future long-term stability of the church.
Apache schools: East Fork and Peridot schools both have dedicated staffs of teachers who are sharing God’s Word. There are approximately 145 students on the White Mountain Apache reservation attending East Fork Lutheran School (K-10) and approximately 130 students living on the San Carlos Apache Reservation attending Peridot-Our Savior’s Lutheran School (K-8). The number of children our schools are serving continues to rise due to the higher academic and well-rounded curriculum and the Christian education we offer. Our WELS schools are now affordable to more families due to the State of Arizona instituting a voucher system allowing children to attend private schools.
Baptized members: 3,600
Organized congregations: 8
Preaching stations: 1
Teachers: 17 (4 Apache)
National pastors: 2
Bible Institute students: 60