WELS World Missions conducts gospel outreach in 45 countries and is exploring outreach opportunities in 19 prospective new mission fields. World Missions brings the light of God’s Word to the world through evangelism efforts, church planting, training national workers for ministry, and providing religious materials in foreign languages through Multi-Language Productions. Forty-four 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 Native American reservations, where the gospel is being shared on the Apache reservations in Arizona and exploratory mission work is beginning on other reservations throughout North America;
- in Africa, where missionaries partner with national church bodies in seven countries and are exploring outreach in at least six more countries throughout the continent;
- in Asia, where 16 missionaries have joined together to equip, encourage, and empower others to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to 1.8 billion unreached souls;
- in Latin America, where hundreds of thousands of people are being reached through Academia Cristo online courses and more than 25 individuals are actively leading a group in worship and study;
- in Europe, where missionaries partner with national churches to train the next generation of church leaders and bring the true gospel to countries without a strong Lutheran presence; and
- through Multi-Language Productions, which has produced materials in more than 56 languages and reaches tens of thousands of English-speakers in more than 30 different countries through the TELL online training platform.
For more information, visit wels.net/missions.
WELS world missionaries in Africa spend much of their time exploring outreach in other countries and relationships with other national church bodies. In August 2023, members of WELS’ One Africa Team visited congregations in Tanzania that are part of the Africa Mission Evangelism Church, a Lutheran church body of almost one hundred congregations. WELS first visited in 2021 to start discussions to see if the church bodies share the same scriptural beliefs and practices and could one day be in fellowship.
At the 2023 synod convention, WELS declared fellowship with Obadiah Lutheran Synod of Uganda, which it began working with in 2017.
Pictured above: WELS missionary Benjamin Foxen and the members of Kyakojogoma church in northwest Tanzania outside the temporary shelter they built for worship.
When 17-year-old Tonny Quintero walked up the hill in the barrio of Medellín, Colombia, in 1980, he thought he was going to learn English. But Larry W. Schlomer, a WELS missionary, taught him “something much more beautiful,” says Quintero. He was confirmed by Schlomer three years later.
On Aug. 2, 2023, Quintero (pictured) stood before delegates of WELS’ 67th biennial synod convention representing Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional, with which WELS affirmed fellowship. When addressing the delegates, Quintero, now a pastor in Medellín, brought greetings and thanks. “Instruments that God used were sent by you to share the Word of God with me and others,” he says.
He went on to share how the Word of God has grown in Latin America to the point that in 2021 Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional was formed by five WELS sister churches—all of which originally started as WELS missions—from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bolivia, and
Venezuela. This new church body is the landing point for new congregations in Latin America that grow out of Academia Cristo, a multi-faceted program that shares the message of God’s grace with as many people as possible, identifies and trains potential leaders, and encourages these leaders to make more disciples who plant churches.
“Why was Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional formed? So that these new churches that are being formed aren’t left alone but they have a group to become a member of,” says Quintero. A church in Bolivia recently was accepted into this church body; more than 25 are now working through the process.
In July 2023, God’s grace could be seen on WELS’ work in Vietnam with the formal building dedication of the new Theological Education Center in Hanoi and the graduation ceremony of the first class of 55 pastors from the Hmong Fellowship Church who have completed their seminary training. WELS President Mark Schroeder and WELS Missions representatives Sean Young and Larry Schlomer attended the events. Among others present were Jon Bare, president of Asia Lutheran Seminary; Bounkeo Lor, Hmong Asian ministry coordinator; and Joel Nitz, Hmong Asian missionary.
“We are grateful to the government of Vietnam for granting WELS permission to carry out this training and to erect a building in which to do it. We are thankful to the Hmong Fellowship Church for inviting us to train its pastors. We thank the members of our synod for their generous gifts of love and faith to make this possible. Above all, we are thankful to our gracious God for giving us this amazing opportunity to share the gospel in Vietnam,” says Schroeder.
Meet pastors from the Hmong Fellowship Church in Vietnam at wels.net/vietnam.
Native American Missions
Eight churches, one preaching station, and two Lutheran elementary schools serve those on the Fort Apache and the San Carlos Apache Reservations. David Bostedt (pictured) serves at East Fork and Canyon Day.
WELS Mission Journeys
Seven people from St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Watertown, S.D., participated in a WELS Mission Journeys trip to London in October 2023. They volunteered at two different charities in the area to assist WELS missionaries in building connections in the community. Pictured here are St. Martin’s members as well as members of WELS’ mission in London and WELS’ two missionaries in London, Mike Hartman and Conifer Berg. Interested in participating in a short-term mission trip with members of your congregation? Visit wels.net/missionjourneys for more information.