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Next Interactive Faith coming up

The next Interactive Faith online Bible study is just one month away. What better way to start the new year than by gathering online with WELS members around the world to study God’s Word.

Beginning Wed., Jan. 7, 2015, Rev. David Scharf, Immanuel, Greenville, Wis., will lead a six-week study called “Breaking the Cycle with Grace (a study of the book of Judges).”

Scharf says of the topic, “It has been said that nearly every doctrine of the Bible can be found in the biblical narratives contained in the book of Judges. That fact alone merits a deeper look! And yet, how often have we read, let alone studied this action-packed book of God’s grace? In our lives, we go through cycles of ups and downs—we think God is pleased one moment and that he is not the next. Come and break the cycle of uncertainty with grace as we study a book full of God’s love and patience!”

The study will be streamed live online twice every Wednesday night between Jan. 7 and Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (central).

Thousands of WELS members have participated in the Interactive Faith Bible studies, which are held twice a year and led by a WELS pastor or professor. Many congregations gather as a group for the study; other WELS members connect as couples or individuals. The studies are designed to have 10 to 15 minutes of lecture by the instructor, followed by 5 to 10 minutes for congregations to discuss a question or two or do further study. Participants can interact with the instructor via the chat box.

To learn more or join the study, go to www.wels.net/interactivefaith.

iPhone 4 donations for Malawi

The WELS mission field in Malawi is asking for iPhone 4 donations for African national pastors who will be able to use them for communication, Bible apps, and e-mail in their ministries.

In Malawi, e-mail through cell phones is easier to use and more reliable than using a computer. Currently, the national pastors and the WELS missionaries in the field struggle with unreliable communication tools and technology.

“It’s easy to take for granted the ease of communications we have in our country, yet we don’t always think of sharing the gospel through it. But in Africa, our missionaries’ primary desire for this mobile technology is to announce the birth of the Christ Child,” says WELS Chief Technology Officer Mr. Martin Spriggs. “It is inspiring to see how the Lord can take something like this outdated technology (at least to us), and provide a valuable channel for ministry halfway around the world.”

Due to technology constraints in Malawi, only the iPhone 4 model from either an AT&T or T-Mobile phone plan is needed and useable. iPhone 4 cases and chargers would also be useful.

Please deactivate your iPhone 4 before shipping. Send only the iPhone 4 from AT&T or T-Mobile. Other cell phone models cannot be used by WELS mission fields at this time, including the iPhone 4s model.

Box up that unused iPhone 4 and mail it to:
WELS Center for Mission and Ministry
c/o WELS Technology Office
N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive
Waukesha, WI 53188-1108

Learn more about the iPhone 4 donation program.

Magazine to highlight WELS World Mission fields

One of the greatest privileges I have had is to visit the world mission fields where our synod works to proclaim the gospel. Even though you may not have the opportunity to visit those places yourself, it’s important for all members of our synod to get a glimpse of the work we are doing around the world and to see how God is blessing those efforts.

Starting with the January 2015 issue, Forward in Christ (FIC) magazine will be featuring a new series that will highlight the people being reached around the world through WELS World Missions.

“Wherever the gospel is proclaimed the Holy Spirit works to bring people to treasure a Savior for all the world,” says Rev. John Braun, FIC executive editor. “We want to bring some of these stories to your attention—stories about people who have come to love Jesus.”

Each month will focus on a particular mission field and introduce you to one of its national workers or members. In January, you will meet Rev. Faidal Kubala Beza, a national pastor from the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Malawi, and learn what it is like serving as a minister in Africa. Upcoming issues will highlight our WELS brothers and sisters from Mexico, Russia, and many other places that God is enabling us to work.

Additional Web content and blogs will be available to round out the picture of the mission work being conducted in a particular field. Short PowerPoint presentations that share pictures and facts about WELS mission fields will also be available to download for use during the offering or at the conclusion of a worship service. A new presentation that corresponds with the mission field being highlighted in FIC will be available each month.

“Many of the people we work with in our world mission fields live in conditions that are hard for an American to grasp,” says Rev. Larry Schlomer, administrator for World Missions. “Here is a chance for you to see how WELS mission efforts are changing hopes and eternity for those who otherwise would have been completely lost.”

We hope this information will help you feel a greater connection with the mission work you are a part of.

To subscribe to FIC, go to www.nph.net/fic.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder