Academia Cristo provides online and in-person training in doctrine, sharing Bible stories, leading worship, and discipling others. Activating people to share the Word with others is an emphasis from early on. For example, a Colombian man disciples men in other parts of Colombia and Venezuela. They, in turn, lead churches and train others to lead groups in other places. Some are churches with buildings, others are groups meeting in houses. WELS’ Latin America missions team mentors those identified, trains them to be faithful to Scripture, and trusts the leaders to then disciple others. In 2019, two missionaries on the Latin America missions team began working in Paraguay with students who are excited to share the gospel with their countrymen (pictured is one such student and his family).
WELS’ friendly counselor to South Asia shares this story: “As Hakim preaches a sermon to people sitting on the ground outside a house church, a cow stares at him intently. His friends tease this humble, faithful servant who is deeply loved and say, ‘You are the world’s best preacher. Even the cows listen to you.’ He is like a father-figure to many in the church. Hakim is also a filmmaker and has made many video vignettes of Bible stories such as the lost son in Luke 15. He is also a student in the first Pakistan Bible institute. He visits three to five house churches every week to teach what he learns in the Bible institute.”
On July 13, 2019, three new world missionaries were commissioned at the first Taste of Missions event sponsored by WELS Missions. Pictured from left are Rev. Daniel Witte, missionary to Africa; Rev. Abram Degner, missionary to Paraguay; and Rev. Bounkeo Lor, who serves as coordinator of Hmong Asia Ministry and is training the leaders of the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam. More than 400 WELS members gathered at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., for Taste of Missions, which gave WELS members an opportunity to hear firsthand from WELS home and world missionaries, sample food from around the world, visit mission displays, and participate in a worship service during which these new world missionaries were commissioned. WELS Missions is planning the next Taste of Missions for July 11, 2020, at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Visit wels.net/tasteofmissions2020 for details.
In 2018, God’s grace opened the door to an unprecedented mission opportunity for our synod. The communist Vietnamese government invited WELS to build a theological education facility in the capital city of Hanoi to train leaders of the Hmong Fellowship Church. In December 2018, WELS World Missions embarked on a synodwide campaign with the goal of receiving $2 million to pay for the land, building construction, and first two years of operating expenses. WELS members quickly responded with their prayers and financial gifts. In December 2019, that goal was met. Our Lord blessed this opportunity and moved his people to contribute or commit offerings totaling more than $2 million, which will allow WELS to provide seminary-level education for 350 pastors and catechism training for an additional 2,500 leaders. Countless others may be blessed by this training in the future.
“This is just the beginning,” notes Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator of the Board for World Missions. “There are more than 120,000 members of the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam and 2 million Hmong people throughout Southeast Asia. Imagine what the Holy Spirit can accomplish through the 2,800-plus pastors and leaders who will be equipped to share the truth of God’s grace with their Hmong brothers and sisters.”
Continue to follow along on this journey at wels.net/vietnamhmongoutreach.
Discovering True Peace
“I want to say thank you to WELS because you have given me peace,” says Pastor Chaplai, a Hmong pastor in Vietnam. “I did not have peace until I learned the gospel in these classes. All of us here are learning so many things. We take the things we learn here and teach them to our people. The printed materials, translated into our language, are very useful to us. All of us are baptized now, including our babies. We have peace and joy from the true teaching of God’s Word.”
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