Representatives from World Missions, WELS Kingdom Workers, and Christian Aid and Relief traveled to León, Mexico, Jan. 26-29 to explore the possibility of conducting short-term mission trips there in the future.

These mission trips would involve WELS members traveling to Mexico for one- to two-week periods to volunteer for humanitarian aid projects such as English as a second language classes, free medical clinics, and skill-training and literacy programs. "Ultimately the team in Mexico will survey and best determine the ways help can be provided," says Rev. Dan Koelpin, World Missions administrator and participant on the recent trip.

These projects would serve as bridges to the gospel, says Rev. Mike Hartman, missionary and field coordinator for Mexico. "We want to give as many WELS members as possible the opportunity to share their love of Jesus in a world mission setting," he says "Traveling to a world mission site, becoming personally involved, and being an eyewitness to the need and urgency of mission work can be a life-changing experience."

While in León, WELS representatives visited the mission that was started there last year as well as an area targeted for new mission work. They also met with Rev. Ezequiel Sánchez, the president of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mexico, and lay member Marcial Aguilar, who heads up a humanitarian aid project in Torreón that provides free meals, clothing, and medicine to those in need.

Koelpin says the next step is for Hartman and the national church leadership to submit a plan for assistance to Christian Aid and Relief. If the plan is approved, money and possibly volunteers to support current and new projects could be sent to Mexico by later this year.

This is not the first time short-term mission projects have been considered, according to Koelpin. WELS laymembers have already served short term in Ukraine, Thailand, and the Apache reservation in Arizona.