WELS World Missions has always had very straightforward marching orders. “Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20). This commission is clear, and we are always eager and thankful for the partnership we have to carry out this work on behalf of WELS. In these times it is good to focus on the bookends that Jesus provides as he gives his Great Commission; “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” and “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The arrival of this virus has unsettled all of us with its surprising speed and reach. But our Lord is not unsettled or surprised. We trust Jesus who has authority over this disease and has promised to always be with us. We know this all fits into his plan for our eternal good.
With that confidence WELS World Missions has been readjusting to its new realities. Here is an update for you from your World Missions.
- All of our missionaries at this time are safe. World travel via most normal international routes has been shut down for the immediate future. Our missionaries are aware and are settling in to their homes overseas for however long this lasts. Our Missions office stands ready to assist if local regulations or security requires a move. Mission families who have students in schools and universities in the United States may not be able to reunite until after travel restrictions are eased. We thank God for the family and friends who are hosting those kids.
- All of our national church partners are dealing with their local rules and regulations. Many will have to call off worship services as countries scramble to curb the spread of the virus.
- Reports are coming from our sister churches around the globe of connections and service to their communities in these trying times. From online gatherings in East Asia to churches handing out face masks and delivering supplies to the homebound to online camaraderie across borders in Latin America, it is easy to see how the Lord of the church is using his salt and light sprinkled throughout the world to help those living in darkness catch a glimpse of his wonderful light. We pray that God use all of us in these circumstances to not only look to our own needs but also to serve the needs of others.
May God shower his Spirit upon you and give you peace, comfort and joy through the salvation won for us by Christ!
Serving with you,
WELS World Missions