WELS has 41 serving around the world. But, according to Larry Schlomer, administrator of WELS World Missions, that number doesn’t tell the whole story.
“The pastors and leaders those missionaries train are the heart of WELS world missions,” he says. “A growing army of over four hundred men are now serving as national pastors in countries all around the globe. One hundred seventy more are currently in training, and we have requests to train nearly three hundred more. Praise God for the answered prayers as these workers prepare for service in his harvest field.”
That’s why an important part of WELS World Mission work is training national leaders. Here WELS missionaries and friendly counselors share photos and information about several worker training programs around the world as well as insights on the importance of training these national leaders:
The Lutheran Seminary in India currently has 36 students, 20 in their first year and 16 graduating in May. One friendly counselor shares the following about the worker-training program: “Incoming students speak either Telugu or Hindi as their primary language, with some limited English as well. We use national pastors as translators (interpreters) in the classroom. They not only translate from English to the local languages, but they are also able to help us better understand local customs and ways of doing ministry here.”
Currently 14 men are studying to be national pastors in a country in South Asia. Christian Leaders’ Workshops are also held for the 42 leaders of the 42 congregations in the area.
Friendly counselor Mike Duncan says these national leaders are key to outreach in the area. “Local leaders are ‘the engine that drives the train.’ The apostle Paul said to the pastor, Timothy, ‘The things you heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others’ (2 Timothy 2:2). Notice the numbers of the book, chapter and verse—two, two and two. One person teaches another (two people) and that person teaches another (two people) and that person teaches another (two people). We multiply leaders in our worker training—two becomes four, four becomes eight, eight becomes sixteen. This means more outreach, more evangelism, more expansion of the church into new districts and countries.”
Outreach to Roma is an effort to share the gospel with the western world’s most mistreated ethnic group, a group numbering about 10 million people who are scattered across Europe. “The fact that I am a Roma makes me uniquely suited because I know the psychology of the gypsies,” says Itsov. “I think it will be easier for them to listen to me than to a nongypsy.”
Learn more about worker training programs in Hong Kong and Cameroon in the April edition of WELS Connection.
In Latin America, education is done through the website Academia Cristo, which offers free Spanish video and audio resources for those new to the faith, Bible studies and materials for local lay leaders to use in their communities, and live online training. In Colombia, Most Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Medillin, part of WELS’ sister synod in Colombia, started house churches in four different cities in 2016 from contacts made through Academia Cristo. Check out the site at academiacristo.com.
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Volume 104, Number 4
Issue: April 2017
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