Pictured above: Training the next generation
Eight men from the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Zambia and the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Malawi completed their six years of theological training and received their vicar assignments from the Lutheran Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia, on May 29, 2020.
WELS World Missions conducts and encourages gospel outreach in 40 foreign countries and is exploring outreach opportunities in 17 additional countries. World Missions brings the light of God’s Word through evangelism efforts, church planting, training national workers for ministry, and providing religious materials in foreign languages through Multi-Language Productions. Thirty-nine world missionaries partner with more than 400 national pastors to conduct outreach and train more than 380 students for service in Christ’s kingdom.
World Missions supports mission work:
- on the Apache reservations in Arizona, where the gospel is being shared in eight churches, one preaching station, and two Lutheran elementary schools;
- in Africa, where missionaries and national church partners from six existing countries are exploring mission work in nine additional African countries;
- in Asia, where the newly formed Asia One Team is coordinating resources and partnering with sister synods to reach out with the gospel to Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, and Muslim individuals in nine different countries;
- in East Asia, where missionaries are coaching and mentoring 45 mission group leaders in spite of tightening security, and Asia Lutheran Seminary is reaching hundreds of new students through new online classes;
- in Latin America, where the Academia Cristo online training tool is walking more than 345 people through self-led classes, and missionaries have identified more than 25 men in 11 different countries as potential church planters;
- in Europe, where national churches are partnering with WELS missionaries and the Pastoral Studies Institute to train the next generation of church leaders;
- through Multi-Language Productions, which has produced confessional Christian content in more than 56 languages and on a variety of platforms.
Our mission in Pakistan has 28 house churches, 25 Sunday schools, 14 non-formal schools, and 1 all-day Christian school and high school with 400 students—all in a Muslim country that is hostile to Christians.
The Latin America missions team is partnering with Pastor Henry, a missionary from our sister synod in Medellín, Colombia, to help others start churches in Colombia and Venezuela.
WELS representatives were not able to make their planned training visits to Vietnam in 2020 because of COVID-19, and the building of a theological center in Hanoi has been delayed. Therefore the WELS Vietnam planning group provided phones and internet connectivity to all Hmong Fellowship Church leaders to participate in online training. In November 2020, 57 leaders tuned in for the first week of instruction via Zoom. These leaders take what they learn in these lessons and share it with their rural congregations and villages.
Connecting with Christians around the world
WELS Multi-Language Productions produces confessional Christian content in more than 56 languages. The majority of its products are evangelism and Bible study materials in the form of video, music, podcasts, and print. Multi-Language Productions has recently introduced a new online Bible-based training platform called TELL (Think, Evaluate, Learn, and Lead) to bring the gospel to English-speakers around the world. TELL students are encouraged to complete online self-led courses, participate in deeper studies with a live online instructor, and then lead a local group in Bible study or worship. Rev. Dan Laitinen is serving as a TELL missionary, helping to coordinate this mission work.
Samuel (pictured) is a TELL student from Guinea, Africa. “My greatest desire is to be well-equipped for mission work,” says Samuel. Like thousands of others, Samuel found TELL on Facebook. He then downloaded the TELL app and completed all the self-learning courses. Now Samuel is meeting twice a week in a video classroom with a TELL instructor and other students.
“I used to believe in a gospel that was preaching prosperity and miracles mostly,” Samuel says, “but I discovered this misleads believers. It focuses on earthly things and makes us forget heavenly things. Now I’m mission-minded.”