New world mission fields
More than 7,000 people groups in the world live without access to the good news of Jesus Christ. With these unreached people groups and the Great Commission in mind, the Board for World Missions approved new locations to plant world mission fields and will be providing additional missionaries to support thriving world mission work.
Plans are currently being made for more thorough follow-up research as well as multiple exploratory trips to each new location. We pray that these explorations will allow WELS to send missionaries who will learn a culture and language, plant churches, and start the journey of raising up leaders who will be able to pastor them in the future. While much more time is needed to investigate, plan, and prepare for potential mission work in these areas, it is our prayer that the Lord of the harvest might use WELS to reach into more of the earth’s darkest corners to reach people with the light of Christ.
Wolof people in Senegal
The country of Senegal in Western Africa has a population of almost 17 million people. The Wolof tribe makes up about 40 to 45 percent of the total population and is less than 0.01 percent Christian. Despite the fact that Senegal is an overwhelmingly Muslim country, the constitution staunchly defends freedom of religion and is a relatively peaceful and stable place. It would be the goal to send in two resident missionaries to begin sharing the gospel and gathering a congregation.
More than 50 WELS-connected families have been identified for a potential new congregation in the capital of Great Britain. In addition, more than 20% of members and two pastors from WELS’ partner church in Hong Kong, SALEM, have moved to the United Kingdom. With the Lord’s blessing, it is the prayer that such a congregation could provide a springboard for further work on the continent.
Online outreach efforts through Academia Cristo have connected the Latin America missions team with potential church planters in every Latin American country. 35 people have come into doctrinal agreement with WELS through Academia Cristo, with additional men and women being added to that number weekly. Additional manpower is needed to follow up with these contacts and continue training new Christians in grace-starved Latin America. Plans are underway to add up to five new positions to the team, which could be made up of pastors, staff ministers, teachers, and laypeople.
In addition, three WELS missionaries and a handful of other confessional Lutherans have also visited villages in the Tequila villages of Mexico. No religious group other than Roman Catholics were found working there, and it appears this may be one of those places where little to no gospel ministry is occurring at this time. It is the prayer that new missionaries will also be able to take the gospel to this part of Mexico that has been largely unreached by confessional Lutheranism.
A Christian young man from Bangladesh who recently became a member of a WELS congregation is now studying to be a pastor through the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI). When his father passed away, this man inherited two Bible schools in Bangladesh. He is now working with WELS to provide solid scriptural training to those two schools and is partnering with WELS in his outreach in his hometown in the Midwest.
Ethnic Thai in Thailand
While WELS has had a presence in Buddhist Thailand before, the Thai people have been largely unreached by previous efforts. Even most other missionary groups have focused on non-Thai, Hill Tribe people. The Thai are very proud of their language, history, culture, and religion, and leaving Buddhism for another religion is considered an abandonment of what it means to be Thai. WELS has a small foothold with the Thai people, something other mission groups cannot claim after decades of work. New missionary Mark Zondag was recently assigned to reach out to this new group and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, in September 2021.
Consider supporting exploratory world mission work with your prayers and gifts.
Browse through and share pictures of world mission work, taken by WELS missionaries and national workers.