An important part of World Mission work is to train workers from within a culture to do gospel ministry among their people. “They know the people. They know the language. God makes them ready for the challenge,” says Larry Schlomer, administrator of WELS World Missions.
This summer, new pastors from Europe, Asia, and Africa joined the 174 national pastors serving in fields around the world.
Iliyan Boykov Itsov was ordained as the sixth pastor of the Bulgarian Lutheran Church (BLC) in September. The Board for World Missions Europe Committee called him to be the coordinator for outreach to Romani, also known as “gypsies.” Itsov, himself a Romani, will work with WELS Multi-Language Publications to prepare literature as well as seek to establish congregations when the Lord opens doors, not only in Bulgaria but also across Europe. Several European sister churches have already expressed interest and given support to this new ministry.
Founded by WELS Missions in 1994, the Bulgarian Lutheran Church has six pastors serving four congregations and 355 baptized souls.
Also in September, 12 men graduated from the seminary program of our sister church in South Asia. Another 40 men are currently studying while serving congregations on a part-time basis. Forty-five national pastors serve 5,500 souls in 120 congregations. In addition, this sister church operates seven children’s homes and a Lutheran grade school.
Earlier this summer, Peter Bur, a South Sudanese man who immigrated to the United States years ago, graduated from the Pastoral Studies Institute of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis. He was ordained and installed as the coordinator of South Sudanese Ministry at his home congregation of Good Shepherd, Omaha, Neb. Two hundred WELS South Sudanese members from Nebraska; Iowa; Minnesota Washington; and Calgary, Canada, attended the four-hour service.
Bur is coordinating the pastoral training of South Sudanese leaders in North America and also in refugee camps in Africa.
“Every seminary graduation in these places is an answer to the prayer Jesus asked us to pray, ‘Lord, send out workers into your harvest field,’ ” says Schlomer.
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Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015
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