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A letter from Home Missions

Dear Fellow Witnesses,

Having served as Home Missions administrator for more than five years, it has been extremely gratifying to see how God is blessing his Word through Home Missions efforts. God’s Word is powerful and continues to change hearts. The proof is seen in the work of mission after mission.

In the spring of 2013, one of my sons was assigned to a new mission. During the first months, he made a lot of outreach calls and contacts. One contact was with a couple who had some life problems. Due to medical reasons, she was wheelchair-bound, and for many years, he had abused drugs. They began taking Bible classes and heard about the life-saving work of Jesus. Through the Spirit’s work, they were led to faith in Christ and confessed him as Savior. About a month later, the gentleman had a heart attack and died. My son was able to share words of comfort and encouragement to the group who gathered for the memorial service. Praise God more people are hearing about the Savior through WELS Missions.

This year, the Missions team—Home Missions, World Missions, and the Joint Mission Council—is excited to introduce a new theme: “Every neighbor, every nation—WELS Missions and you.” In Home Missions, we so appreciate your Congregation Mission Offerings and the steady support of your special gifts, which allow us to reach souls with the gospel. Through your gifts, WELS is undergirding almost 80 home missions with financial support. So many active ministry partners are aiding mission congregations to share the one thing needful—the precious Word of Truth. Thank you, Lord, for these blessings.

But there are still so many souls to reach. Home Missions is discussing new ways to help mission congregations reach out to their neighbors, including

• covering the appropriate costs of worship space right from the start so mission members and pastors can focus more on out-reach ministry,
• assisting with outreach campaigns that use the experience of others so the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented each time, and
• encouraging members in cross-cultural ministries to share the gospel with family and friends living in their countries of origin and financially supporting that as appropriate.

In addition to supporting existing missions, Home Missions and its district mission boards continue to explore new places to start missions. Since 2013, Home Missions has authorized 32 new mission fields, including 8 this year. In these missions—as in all our churches—the focus has been to tell more people that Jesus came to be their Savior from sin. People lost in sin are being made alive in Christ as God’s people share and share and share again the Name that is above every name.

Not every witnessing opportunity will lead to new members, but more people now believe they are saved by faith in Jesus. No longer do they think it is up to them to earn their way to heaven. No longer are they doomed to everlasting destruction. They are heirs of heaven.

Until the Lord returns, may God continue to bless our efforts to tell every neighbor and every nation the praiseworthy deeds of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Working together for him,

Rev. Keith Free
Home Missions administrator

 

MISSION STORIES

Read more about how WELS missionaries are working to spread the gospel in the U.S. and around the world on the WELS Missions blogs.

HOME MISSIONS

Learn more about WELS missions in North America.

 

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Author: Keith Free
Volume 103, Number 9A
Issue: September 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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A letter from World Missions

Dear Friends of Missions,

Greetings in the name of our Risen Savior! I am always thanking God for you and the amazing partnership we share in our Lord and his mission. These thoughts are often in my heart and prayers, but not only in mine. As I travel to any of our 23 world mission fields, there is one request I hear everywhere: “Please, greet our brothers and sisters in WELS and tell them how much we appreciate the gospel your missionaries carried and the ongoing work we share.” More than 200,000 people are growing in their faith and understanding through the efforts of WELS World Missions. No human plan could have foreseen the incredible ways God has used us in his kingdom.

And I know we are not done. God’s mission is still found in the billions of people throughout the world who do not yet know the Savior as we do. God’s Holy Spirit is still at work, and Jesus is coming soon. Our worldwide mission is still before us.

In many ways the far reaches of our planet are closer than ever. Immigrant groups from all over the world are now living in WELS neighborhoods in America. The Internet and social media communication allow instant contact through cell phones that are used almost everywhere. The expanding church bodies in our global fellowship are eager to reach other countries with the peace they now enjoy. The fracturing and decay of large European and North American church bodies that have set aside their Bible compass have left their former mission partners searching for someone who still believes the Bible is God’s Word. Opportunities that were hard to imagine a decade ago are a growing cry for help before us.

WELS Missions has been mobilizing to meet these needs. In the pages of this magazine, you will read about some of these new initiatives. A Global Ministry Committee is now in place to help immigrants who have become WELS members bring the gospel to their family and friends back home. Academia Cristo and other Multi-Language Publications efforts are reaching millions every day with gospel gems, and thousands are signing up online to learn more. Our missionaries work with the churches they serve to explore the potential of new contacts in neighboring countries who still live in darkness. WELS Missions has partnered with Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to form a three-man team to organize and deploy WELS teaching manpower and resources to give requested pastoral training to more than 300 men in places like Ethiopia, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, Guatemala, Venezuela, Kenya, Liberia, East Asia, and more.

The Lord has thrown open these doors before us. We don’t need to imagine what God might use us to accomplish. Their pleas are right before us. Trusting in Jesus’ promise to be with us and the power of the gospel he has placed in our hands, we are ready.

Enjoy these mission stories. Pray for the people who need God’s peace. Ask God to use us to do even more.

Your fellow missionary,

Larry Schlomer
World Missions administrator

 

MISSION STORIES

Read more about how WELS missionaries are working to spread the gospel in the U.S. and around the world on the WELS Missions blogs.


FOLLOW THE LATEST WELS NEWS

Get missions updates and other ministry news with the Together e-newsletter and video updates. Subscribe today!

 

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Author: Larry Schlomer
Volume 103, Number 9A
Issue: September 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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From the President: A Time for Thanks

 A Time for Thanks

Normally, when we do something to help or benefit someone else, our motivation is not to receive thanks. Our motivation is to show Christian love and to do something for someone with no hope of receiving anything in return.

But no one would deny that we do welcome it when people thank us for our kindness and acts of love. It assures us that what we did really means something and is appreciated.

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Mark Schroeder installs Jonathan Bauer as the pastor at a mission congregation in Mount Horeb, Wis.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit several of our sister churches in Africa. While I was there, I was able to attend the very first meeting of representatives from our five sister church bodies in Africa. All five African synods were either begun as a result of WELS mission efforts or have been supported by WELS World Missions. For three days, pastors and several lay representatives from Zambia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Cameroon met together to share ministry challenges, to discuss biblical doctrine, and to encourage one another in their mission of proclaiming the saving gospel.

Near the end of the conference, one of the lay members in attendance asked the chairman if he could address the group—especially his American brothers. He was an older man, and he made his way slowly to the center aisle of the chapel. When he got to the aisle, he knelt down on both knees. I will never forget what he said.

He began to speak in a firm voice. “I know that when you see me kneeling, you are probably assuming that I am going to ask you for something. You are probably assuming that I will be asking for more help for your African brothers and sisters. But that is not why I am kneeling. I am kneeling first of all to thank God for his grace. But I am also kneeling to express our thanks to our brothers and sisters in the Wisconsin Synod. It is because of your love and generosity that today, here in Zambia, we have the pure Word of God. It is because of your work and your gifts that today we know the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. So, on behalf of all of us here, I want to thank you for all you have done. And I ask that you convey those thanks to all of the members of the Wisconsin Synod.”

We do not work to carry out the mission God has given us to receive thanks. The very fact that God has given us the privilege of doing this work is something for which we can and should be thankful. But even though we do not do this work to be thanked, it is a special blessing to hear words of appreciation from people who recognize the special treasure that God has given to them, a treasure that we have been privileged to share.

As we work together on the mission God has given us, we know that the gospel is being shared with people whom we may never meet this side of heaven—both here at home in the United States and also around the world. We should never forget the impact that this work has on people—an eternal impact—for which they are truly grateful to God and to us.

I join our African brother in thanking you for your support of our mission efforts through your prayers and through your offerings. I know that you don’t do it for the thanks, but you should know that your work in the Lord is not in vain and that it is truly much appreciated.

Let us continue to work so that every neighbor and every nation hears the gospel message about the One who saves.

Mark Schroeder
WELS president


MISSION STORIES

Read more about how WELS missionaries are working to spread the gospel in the U.S. and around the world on the WELS Missions blogs.

FOLLOW THE LATEST WELS NEWS

Get missions updates and other ministry news with the Together e-newsletter and video updates. Subscribe today!

 

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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 103, Number 9A
Issue: September 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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What’s inside

May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. – 1 Kings 8:57

After Pentecost, Luke described the church in Jerusalem as a remarkable gathering. They were concerned about the truth; they prayed; they even sold property and possessions to help those who had little.

Later, when the apostle Paul traveled from place to place, the same remarkable gatherings arose. And if you read the last portion of the book of Acts, you might be struck, as I was, at the joy the people had as they met Paul and other Christians and as they heard how the Holy Spirit was bringing others to faith.

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WELS Missions and You

So here we are two thousand years later. I hope these pages will bring you joy and encouragement. This special issue shares the stories of how the Holy Spirit is still adding to the church, just as he did at the beginning. New York City, Myrtle Beach, and Boise replace Ephesus, Corinth, and Berea. East Asia, Mexico, and Nepal replace Galatia, Italy, and Cyprus. The names attached to these stories replace Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

As we rejoice, we should also be encouraged. His kingdom continues to come as we pray so often. Among us, let us continue to pray not only for these missions but for called workers to send. Among us, let us work to reach out in our communities to every neighbor and every nation. Among us, let us renew our efforts to use our financial resources to bring the joy of the gospel to others.

John A. Braun
Executive editor

Forward in Christ

 

MISSION STORIES

Read more about how WELS missionaries are working to spread the gospel in the U.S. and around the world on the WELS Missions blogs.

FOLLOW THE LATEST WELS NEWS

Get missions updates and other ministry news with the Together e-newsletter and video updates. Subscribe today!

 

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Author: John A. Braun
Volume 103, Number 9A
Issue: September 2016

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2019
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

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