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 is looking to approve new locations to plant world mission fields.
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.
Rev. Larry Schlomer, Board for World Missions Administrator, and Stefan Felgenhauer, Director of World Missions Operations, went on an exploratory trip to Dakar, Senegal, in September 2023. They had the opportunity to meet people from the business community, local charitable organizations, and an international school to determine how easy it is for Americans to live and work in the country. The highlight of the trip was connecting with a cross-cultural learning consultant that provided a cultural study and who WELS can partner with for cultural immersion opportunities for future missionaries. Aaron Wakeman from Friends Network was also invited on the trip to explore potential future partnerships for mission work in the country. (View more photos from the trip) The Board for World Missions will be considering a recommendation to send two new missionaries to Senegal.
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.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
After recent trips to Dubai for theological training and music workshops hosted by Multi-Language Productions, Pastor Paul, his wife Aneela, and other South Asian leaders connected with WELS have made connections with relatives and other Christian acquaintances from their home country who now reside there. They are currently training them up to be Lutheran leaders with the prayer that they will all work together to reach out to individuals in South Asian laborer camps in and around the city.
Over three years ago, a few South Asian Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM) members who immigrated from Hong Kong to New Zealand began meeting online with SALEM leadership for Bible Study and fellowship. This group, located in Auckland, has grown to over 20 members. In January 2023, they began a monthly worship gathering facilitated by local leaders, and they continue to meet every week online and in person. Thirteen members of their group are currently enrolled in a foundational course at Asia Lutheran Seminary. These brothers and sisters welcome all newcomers to their group with open arms. They want to see many more Chinese-speaking people brought to faith and strengthened in Christ, and there are countless opportunities to do just that. Chinese people already make up five percent of the population of New Zealand, and experts predict that this number will grow to ten percent in the next 20-30 years. WELS is excited to continue assisting our sister church SALEM as they foster this new mission in New Zealand. View photos from New Zealand.
New Native American Tribes
Missionary John and his wife Mindy Holtz (previously serving in Malawi) were welcomed to the Native American mission team in 2022. Missionary Holtz will be carrying on the important work of equipping Native American Christians to lead and serve God’s people through the Apache Christian Training School (ACTS).
The Native American mission team also looks forward to adding another missionary to help expand gospel reach to more locations. More than 500 tribes that are overwhelmingly not Christian are still waiting for the life-changing, future-changing seeds of the gospel to be planted in their fields.
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.