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Mid-year graduation at Martin Luther College

Even though on-campus learning at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., has been interrupted for a time, we are happy to see that the work of the college to prepare young people for the public ministry continues. One visible reminder of that is the announcement that 22 students have completed their studies and have received their diplomas and graduated mid-year.

While most of those students will defer their assignment into the public ministry until next spring, several of them will be assigned to their field of labor when the Assignment Committee meets on Fri., Dec. 18.

Plans have been put in place to welcome students back to campus in January. In addition, President Richard Gurgel has announced that the governing board of Martin Luther College will be distributing an additional $200,000 in financial assistance to help students who return for the second semester.

Even in difficult times, God’s work—and his blessings—continue in our congregations and in our synod.

On behalf of all who work with you and for you in our synod’s mission, have a blessed Christmas!

Serving together with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

 

 

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Update from Vietnam

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lord is always with his church. Christians in the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam are continuing to reach out to lost souls. In 2020, the Holy Spirit brought more than 12,000 Hmong people throughout Vietnam to faith in Jesus. The Hmong Fellowship Church has grown from 126,000 to 138,000 members.

Rev. Zang, one of the Hmong leaders, said, “Most of the pastors in the Hmong Fellowship Church have heard many scary things through television and radio about the impact of COVID-19, but they see it as less dangerous when compared to the lost souls who have no chance to hear the gospel before they die.”

Rev. Fong and his evangelism team reached out to many villages in his area. The Lord blessed their efforts, and they were able to establish nine new mission congregations.

The Lord also has provided a way for WELS to continue training the Hmong Fellowship Church leaders. In November, the Vietnam mission team responded to the request of the Hmong Fellowship Church and offered Zoom training to 57 students. WELS provided phones and internet connectivity when needed to allow these students to participate in online training classes. Rev. Joel Nitz taught the gospel of Mark, and Rev. Bounkeo Lor taught law and gospel. Instruction via Zoom is something new for the Hmong Fellowship Church, but the students were very excited. Some students even asked permission for their wives and parents to join the training as well.

While the Hmong Fellowship Church has been tremendously blessed, there are also some big challenges ahead. More than 1,360 leaders are waiting for someone to train them in the Word of God. They are also waiting to build more churches for new believers to worship their Lord. Lor explains that the Hmong Fellowship Church leaders are very skilled at doing evangelism in their communities. With proper training and materials, these men will continue to share God’s Word.

The theological education center building project in Vietnam is still active but has been delayed due to COVID-19. Once Lor is able to visit Vietnam, he will arrange a Zoom or face-to-face meeting, if possible, between WELS and Vietnamese representatives. The government also wants to make this project happen as quickly as possible.

Lor shares that brothers and sisters in Vietnam send their greetings and say, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” to all WELS members. They appreciate your help and support, especially to train their leaders in the Word of God. They also ask for your continued support and prayers.

Read more from Pastor Bounkeo Lor, Hmong Asia ministry coordinator, in this Missions Blog from December 10.

 

 

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Year-end deadlines and outreach video

Deadlines for year-end gifts

Please note the following deadlines if you’d like your gift to be made in 2020 for tax purposes:

  • A gift by check is considered completed when the check is mailed and postmarked (USPS) by Dec. 31.
  • An online credit card gift must be successfully charged to your account by midnight on Dec. 31. This generally happens immediately when the gift is made.
  • An online electronic funds transfer (EFT) gift must be processed by WELS in 2020. The deadline for these gifts is 4:30 p.m. (Central) on Tues., Dec. 29.
  • A gift of stock or mutual funds must be received by Dec. 31. The date of transfer is the date of the gift. Note this may take a few days, so the earlier the better. Please inform WELS of what you are donating by calling 414-256-3251.

Special note for qualified charitable distributions from an IRA:

If you are planning to maximize the qualified charitable distribution (even though the CARES Act suspended required minimum distributions for 2020), the funds must come out of your IRA generally by Dec. 31. (If a donor writes a check to WELS from an IRA account, WELS must be able to cash the check by Tues., Dec. 29.) We encourage you to consult your financial and tax professionals before requesting a qualified charitable distribution this year.

C20 social media video available

A short video is available with the C20 resources to help you invite your community to worship this Christmas. The video, less than a minute in length, was produced with social media in mind. Share it on your congregation’s website or social media.

Download video

Job opportunities

The WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wis., is seeking a database specialist. Learn more

Names Wanted

Nursing faculty member—Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, Wis., is seeking candidates for a faculty position in its School of Nursing. Teaching responsibilities include a wide range of nursing courses, but candidates must also have practical nursing experience within various specialty areas. A master’s degree in nursing is required; candidates with a Ph.D. or DNP are preferred. Candidates must be an active member of WELS, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, or another confessional Lutheran denomination in fellowship with WELS. Website, wlc.edu/human-resources.

WELS Center for Mission and Ministry holiday hours

WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wis., will be closed to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays on Dec. 24, 25, 31, and Jan. 1.

 

 

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