In 2017, the WELS Joint Mission Council began a new South Asian Ministry focused on reaching out to South Asians residing in North America.
The first location for South Asian ministry is in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Pastor Paul serves in this location as South Asian ministry coordinator. He and his wife Aneela are South Asian natives who were forced to flee their home country. He graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2017 after completing classes through the Pastoral Studies Institute program. Christ Lutheran Church in Pewaukee serves as the host of an International Friendship Center, which provides programs and activities to engage internationals in the community by meeting any needs they may have. Pastor Paul and Aneela regularly visit Hindu temples to meet new people and invite them to events and activities. They also frequently invite their South Asian friends to their home for dinners and Bible studies.
The second location for South Asian ministry is in a large city in the Midwest. Haris (named changed due to the sensitive nature of his work) a Christian young man from South Asia, met the pastor of a WELS congregation in this large Midwest city. Even before finding WELS, he was gathering six study groups and a worship group of believers with Muslim backgrounds near his home in the U.S. After taking Bible information classes and becoming a WELS member, he began studying to be a pastor through the Pastoral Studies Institute. Around this same time his father passed away, and Haris inherited two Bible schools in South Asia. Haris is now working with WELS to provide solid scriptural training those two schools and is partnering with WELS in his outreach in his hometown in the Midwest. We are also renting a home in a thoroughly Muslim neighborhood in a Canadian city and are using it as a friendship center to befriend Muslims and to introduce them to their best friend, Jesus.
Jesus Christ commissions us to spread his gospel to the ends of the earth—and the ends of the earth are coming right to our doorsteps. An International Friendship Center could be a great addition to any WELS church. Though it would look unique in each setting, the goal of reaching our neighbors with the sweet gospel would be constant. If your church could benefit from starting an International Friendship Center, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how WELS Joint Missions might be able to help.
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