Tag Archive for: Called to Proclaim 2023

World Missions

WELS World Missions conducts gospel outreach in 44 countries and is exploring outreach opportunities in 18 prospective new mission fields. World Missions brings the light of God’s Word to the world through evangelism efforts, church planting, training national workers for ministry, and providing religious materials in foreign languages through Multi-Language Productions (MLP).

World Missions supports mission work:

  • on Native American reservations, where the gospel has been shared on the Apache reservations in Arizona for more than 125 years and exploratory mission work is beginning on other reservations throughout North America;
  • in Africa, where missionaries partner with national church bodies in six countries and are exploring outreach in at least seven more countries throughout the continent;
  • in Asia, where the two missionary teams have joined together to equip, encourage, and empower others to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to 1.8 billion unreached souls;
  • in Latin America, where hundreds of thousands of people are being reached through Academia Cristo online courses and more than 40 individuals are being trained to plant a church;
  • in Europe, where missionaries partner with national churches to train the next generation of church leaders and bring the true gospel to countries without a strong Lutheran presence;
  • and through Multi-Language Productions, which has produced materials in more than 56 languages and reaches tens of thousands of English-speakers in more than 30 different countries through the TELL online training platform.

For more information, visit wels.net/missions.


Did you know?

Forty-nine world missionaries partner with almost 500 national pastors to conduct outreach and train more than 380 students for service in Christ’s kingdom.

Academia Cristo

Meet Marli (front row, second from right) in Cuernavaca, Mexico. After intensive study with Academia Cristo, Marli now participates in the advanced classes of the program and is personally guided by a missionary as she shares the Word of God with the small group in her community (pictured). Her group meets regularly, digging into the Word of God, sharing Sunday school lessons with youth, and even doing periodic humanitarian services in the area.

As Academia Cristo has grown, many of those studying God’s Word are women. Elise Gross is now serving as the dean of women for Academia Cristo to encourage these women to carry out the Great Commission in their homes and respective communities while embracing biblical principles and Christian freedom.

Gross’s primary focus is the same as that of the rest of the Academia Cristo mission team:

Make disciples in Latin America by sharing the message of God’s grace with as many people as possible.

  1. Identify and train potential leaders.
  2. Encourage those leaders to make disciples who plant churches.

For more information, wels.net/academia-cristo.



Over a year ago Joseph stumbled across a Facebook ad for TELL and had to see what it was all about. After completing the three self-study courses he began live group classes with a pastor, studying the Bible and Lutheran catechism on Zoom. He formed friendships with students thousands of miles away. His best friend is from Trinidad. They make TELL T-shirts and share what they’re learning with others.

In October Dan Laitinen, a TELL missionary, visited Joseph’s home in Nairobi, Kenya. The two (pictured) finally had a Bible study together in person. Sitting knee to knee Joseph told Laitinen his story. He is the eighth of eight children, raised by his oldest sister. His parents passed away before he knew them. As a child, he learned how to work and paid for his own schooling through grade twelve.

Joseph could identify that sin was the problem and God’s grace was the solution. He has learned how to read the Bible and express his faith to others. Throughout the visit, Laitinen encouraged Joseph in his studies; introduced him to the local church affiliated with WELS’ sister church body, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ–Kenya; and presented the next steps for him to gather in a Bible study group.

“Did you go to church as a child?” Laitienen asked. “No,” Joseph said, “We did not go to church.”

“Are you going to church now?” Laitinen asked. “I am,” Joseph replied, “with you and the teachers at TELL Network.”

To learn more, visit tellnetwork.org.



WELS is supporting the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, our sister church body, by providing aid for clothing, food, medicine, and other supplies. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Ukrainian Lutheran Church had 700 baptized members in 17 congregations served by 11 national pastors.







Mission work in Africa is changing. Missionaries working with WELS’ established missions—Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria, and Zambia—focus on assisting the national synods and their churches as they mature, while also helping with their pre-seminary and seminary programs. Two synods in Ethiopia and Kenya reached out for assistance and are now in full fellowship with WELS and partner in outreach initiatives.

The new work before WELS missionaries is outreach, as individuals and church groups in seven additional African countries have reached out to WELS and the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA) for fellowship and theological training. Visits have been made to Liberia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Pictured are participants of an evangelism workshop held for members of the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Zambia in November 2022. The workshop was a joint effort of WELS’ One Africa Team and Pastoral Studies Institute.



WELS Friendly Counselor Greg Bey visited WELS’ sister church in Indonesia, Gereja Lutheran Indonesia, to attend its synod convention, visit with leadership and discuss ministry ideas, and teach courses at the seminary there. Bey also visited Hosiana congregation to celebrate its 31st anniversary. Pictured is Bey with two of the founding members of Hosiana, who opened their home as a meeting place when the congregation first formed. Their son is now a pastor serving Gereja Lutheran Indonesia, which has 29 congregations.

Home Missions

Pictured above: Foundation, Folsom, Calif. Clark Woods was in the right place at the perfect time to hear the message of free grace, forgiveness, and peace in Jesus when he most desperately needed it. Watch a video to learn more about Clark and how God used Foundation, Folsom, Calif., a home mission congregation, to deliver that message. Visit wels100in10.net to watch God’s plan unfold for Clark (pictured here with David Koelpin, pastor at Foundation).

In 2022, the Board for Home Missions approved 12 new home mission starts and enhancements.

New missions

  • Windsor, Colo.: WELS congregations in Ft. Collins, Loveland, and Greeley are supporting this new mission start in a rapidly expanding area in northern Colorado. Currently 20 WELS families are located in the target area, which has no Lutheran churches. Stephen Koelpin has accepted the call to serve this new mission.
  • Wichita, Kan.: Messiah is looking to start a second site on the east side of the city to better serve the 650,000 people in the greater metropolitan area. The area population is expected to grow by 10 percent over the next 10 years. Jacob Jenswold has accepted the call to start this new mission.
  • Canton, Ga.: Members and leadership from Beautiful Savior, Marietta, Ga., have identified Canton, a quickly growing suburb of Metro-Atlanta, as a prime location to plant a new mission church. Population has doubled in the past twenty years, and that growth is expected to continue. Cale Mead has accepted the call to start this new mission.
  • Conroe, Texas: Conroe, the northernmost suburb of Houston, is the fifth fastest-growing city in the United States. Abiding Word in Houston, Texas, is helping this new mission get off the ground. Jeremy Mattek has accepted the call to start this new mission.
  • Lodi, Wis. (unsubsidized): Zion, Leeds, Wis., is establishing a second site in Lodi. They leased a ministry center where the 17-person ministry team helped launch worship on Oct. 16, 2022.


  • St. John, St. Paul, Minn.
  • Cross of Glory, Baton Rouge, La.
  • Divine Savior, Delray Beach, Fla.
  • Abiding Savior, Killeen, Texas
  • Our Savior, Burlington, Iowa

 Unsubsidized mission status

  • Mt. Calvary, Redding/Anderson, Calif.
  • Living Faith, Midlothian, Texas

What does it mean to be an unsubsidized mission?

Home Missions provides assistance to unsubsidized mission congregations through its district mission boards, mission counselors, synodical support staff, and special project funds, but does not provide direct financial support.


Did you know?

In 2022, Home Missions supported 134 congregations.


Carbon Valley, Firestone, Colo.

Jesse Jensen had recently moved to Firestone with his folks. He had just graduated from nursing school and was working full-time, but he knew something was missing. He grew up “Christian” in the sense that he knew of Christ and knew of church, but he had never actively practiced or been a member anywhere. What he did have was a grandfather who was a believer and had an interest in knowing more, so he picked up a phone and called me.

I told Jesse, “We aren’t actually worshiping in person, and we don’t actually have a building . . . but I’ll buy you a coffee.” He said yes, and his journey to Christ and Carbon Valley began.

Over the next year and a half, we systematically walked through the Bible. Jesse couldn’t get enough, which meant our classes went long and we added about four or five “bonus” lessons. It was incredible to talk through the Ten Commandments with someone who had never read them before.

Jesse stuck with us. He learned what worship looks like, built relationships, and watched how our members treated one another and modeled Christian living. But most of all, he heard about his Savior over and over again, and that Savior worked in his heart. So much so that when Jesse’s grandfather died, his family asked Jesse to say something and lead the memorial. I gave him some prayers and thoughts, and he took them and led his family to give thanks for his grandfather’s life but also to see Jesus. And after all that, Jesse was the first adult baptism and new member in our new building.

Tim Spiegelberg, home missionary at Carbon Valley Lutheran Church, Firestone, Colo.


Campus ministry in Reno, Nev.

When Light of the Valleys, Reno, Nev., discovered it was going to have a vicar for the first time in 2021, it decided to embark on a new ministry opportunity—a campus ministry. The congregation—along with its two sister congregations in the Reno area—gathered resources from WELS Campus Ministry and started putting together a core group of students to determine how to minister to and reach college-age adults.

Enter Sam Schulz. Sam, a student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., was assigned as a vicar to Light of the Valleys in May 2021. When he and his wife, Maddie, arrived a few months later, the campus ministry was just getting started. Sam and Maddie got to work making contacts and planning events.

Besides studying the Bible, the group always did some sort of activity—things like playing games, bowling, rock painting. “We were solidifying friendships first, so they were comfortable talking about uncomfortable things,” says Sam. The group started small but grew to about a dozen who regularly attended the twice-monthly gatherings. Members of the group started bringing their friends and even began getting together socially outside of the scheduled meetings.

But the group wasn’t only about fun and games. “Members were so dedicated and so excited to get into God’s Word,” says Sam. “They really wanted to study it and they really cared about each other too.”

April (pictured on her confirmation day) is a prime example of the students that are being reached through the group. April’s parents already had joined Light of the Valleys, but she only had been attending sporadically. The campus ministry group made her feel more comfortable, so she started attending Bible information classes and worship and was then baptized and confirmed.

Visit wels.net/college to learn more about WELS Campus Ministry.



Joint Missions

WELS Joint Missions supports mission opportunities that are the responsibility of Home Missions, World Missions, and Ministerial Education. Much of this work centers around people-group ministries, where immigrants who have joined our fellowship in the United States and Canada are able to take the gospel back to friends and family in their country of origin.

Hmong National Conference

From July 29–31, 170 Hmong members from 5 different congregations across the United States gathered at Manitowoc Lutheran High School, Manitowoc, Wis., for the Hmong National Conference. The theme of the conference was “One Faith, One Family.” Learn more about Hmong ministry in the United States at wels.net/hmong.



Chinese ministry in Canada

Abiding Love, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada (pictured above), launched public worship on Nov. 27, 2022. The congregation will also continue to offer Chinese worship twice a month in Vancouver, which is central to many members of Abiding Love. Qiang Wang, a graduate of the Pastoral Studies Institute, serves Abiding Love, which began as an outreach ministry of Saviour of the Nations, Vancouver. Saviour of the Nations is also currently reaching out to the South Sudanese Nuer population in nearby Surrey.

Taste of Missions

(From left) Benjamin Foxen and Keegan Dowling were commissioned as missionaries to Africa at Taste of Mis­sions on June 11, 2022, at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Taste of Missions offers WELS members an opportunity to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the globe. Those who can’t attend in person can participate online at tasteofmissions.com. The 2023 event will be held on June 10.