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Moments with missionaries: Jacob Ungemach

Where will my mission field be?

As I sit in class in my last year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, sometimes my thoughts drift toward the end of the year when I will be assigned to my first call. A place. Faces waiting. People who need to hear about Jesus. But for now, I wait.

Or at least that’s how I thought I would feel.

When my wife, Grace, and I made the move back to Mequon, Wis., after my vicar year, I learned that the TELL Network was looking for teachers for its live courses. TELL, an online leader training program from Multi-Language Productions, provides an in-depth Bible study curriculum in English and other languages to students in places where WELS does not have a presence. I decided to sign up, thinking it might be a good way to practice teaching while I wait for parish ministry.

I underestimated the impact teaching TELL would have on me.

Logging on for my first lesson, I was greeted by 25 names, faces, and voices. Here were a couple dozen people, separated by half a world, who wanted to gather, learn, and grow in the Word of God. It was an instant mission field. Bingo. I was excited to teach these eager students from South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and even Pakistan.

Once again, I underestimated the way this would impact me.

Man listening to headphones plugged into computer
Jacob Ungemach teaching a TELL class.

As we studied the stories of persecuted prophets and God’s faithfulness to the exiles, my faith was strengthened as I learned about God’s hand working through the lives of these ambassadors for Christ Jesus.

Take Isaac, a student who faced considerable danger. As we studied Daniel in the lions’ den, he boldly shared, “Even if Daniel had died, God wins. That is comfort for me.” Isaac and his classmates are committed to the study of the Word in places that are filled with danger. They live like modern-day Daniels, committing themselves to prayer and witnessing despite the obstacles.

Or Emmanuel, who would take a break from his commute to join our live class. He would just find a shady place under a tree to park his truck in the heat of the day. He is like that “tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:3) as he thirsts for the Word of God.

Or Joseph, who recently gave me a reminder about witnessing to any mission field. As the class discussed apprehensions we have when sharing the Word of God, I reflected on my failed opportunities and fears. I could not help but think ahead, knowing that those fears will be there in the future. That’s when Joseph spoke up, sharing the verse he recalls whenever he has a witnessing opportunity: “The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:12).

I pray this is my confidence—and yours too—that God the Holy Spirit gives us the words to speak wherever the mission field might be.

Needed: Instructors

TELL Network’s exponential growth has resulted in an immediate need for male instructors to teach TELL classes in English. Instructors use a ready-made curriculum on Zoom and WhatsApp to train future group leaders and church planters around the world.

Learn more at

Author: Jacob Ungemach
Volume 111, Number 04
Issue: April 2024

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