In October, representatives from WELS and WELS’ sister churches throughout Latin America met in Medellín, Colombia, to form a new synod: Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional. Founding members come from churches in Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Venezuela.
“For years, our sister churches in Latin America have just been small, individual groups fighting against the wind,” says Larry Schlomer, administrator of WELS World Missions. “For them to be able to have this much broader ministry that’s clearly being blessed by the Lord, there’s an excitement there.”
As part of a synod, these churches will be able to do mission work together, train pastors together, and support each other with prayers and fellowship.
Synod membership is expected to swell in the future as new groups gathered during the Academia Cristo training efforts (see p. 22) complete a two-year confessional process called Ruta Cristo (Christ path). “One of the needs that Ruta Cristo has given us is where will new congregations that come from Academia Cristo go?” says Henry Herrera, a pastor in Colombia and president of Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional. “This is why we can tell them now that the answer is Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional.”
Currently 12 groups are on that two-year path, with dozens more possible in the upcoming year. Leaders who complete the highest level of Academia Cristo classes also will be considered candidates for a new seminary program led by Iglesia Cristo WELS Internacional and supported by WELS missionaries.
“For years we were adding people to our churches [in Latin America] by the tens. To now have people joining our fellowship through the work of so many people by the hundreds—if not soon, the thousands—is just amazing,” says Schlomer. “The real blessing is that the Lord is leading more people to learn about grace and what Jesus has done.”
Learn more about WELS’ mission work in Latin America at wels.net/missions/latinamerica. To learn more about Academia Cristo and the path that it provides for those in Latin America to become church leaders and church planters, read “The path of Academia Cristo.”
Volume 109, Number 01
Issue: January 2022
- Increased school enrollments offer new opportunities for outreach - 2022/01/11
- New synod in Latin America - 2021/12/23
- WELS podcasts: The Notable Podcast - 2021/12/23