Missionary Family Q&A Panel
Recorded live on June 11, 2022
Meet the panelists:
Rev. Craig Wilke – Sure Foundation, Brandon, S.D.
Home Missionary Craig Wilke, originally from Fort Atkinson, Wis., serves Sure Foundation Lutheran in Brandon, S.D. He and his wife Christina, originally from New Ulm, Minn., have been there since 2019 after his assignment from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Previously, Pastor Wilke served his vicar year at Holy Word in Austin, Tex. After a little over a year of planning, organizing, and connecting with the community, Sure Foundation launched weekly worship on September 20, 2020. Since that time, God has kept Sure Foundation busy! The church has worshipped in three different locations, built a parsonage, been involved in numerous outreach efforts/events, and has grown by over 40 souls, and has been in search of land for a future building.
Christina has also been a big part of the mission in Brandon. She is gifted in piano and violin and has headed up playing and organizing musicians at Sure Foundation. She is also serving as an administrative assistant since July 2022.
Craig and Christina have a one-year-old daughter named Greta and a golden retriever named Rudy.
Rev. Michael and Rachel Hartman – London and the U.K.
Missionary Michael Hartman serves as missionary to the United Kingdom, with a focus on London and international ministry. As the first WELS missionary to the area, he carries out exploratory work among a core group of WELS members living in the U.K and is also in contact with individuals from who reside in the country and are members of churches that share fellowship with WELS throughout the world.
Mike previously served as leader of the Latin America mission team. He was assigned as a missionary to Mexico City in 1999. While there, he met his wife Rachel who was spending a year as a Kingdom Worker volunteer teaching English. They married in 2001, and were blessed with four children (Trinity, Noelle, Hans, and Hope) during their time in Mexico.
During the first 14 years of his ministry, Missionary Hartman helped our sister synod in Mexico plant churches and develop leaders. Rachel supported those mission efforts and managed the household as ministry duties led Mike on regular trips. In 2013, Missionary Hartman and the Latin America mission team shifted their ministry focus and launched online outreach efforts through Academia Cristo. Today, Academia Cristo engages with an average of four million people every month and trains more than 500 active students in Biblical theology and how to plant churches. Missionary Hartman has a Doctor of Ministry in church planting. Rachel has a degree in business and works as a writer for multiple U.S.-based companies. She occasionally contributes to Forward in Christ magazine and assists WELS Christians with the telling of their life and mission stories.
In 2018, the Hartman family moved to the Miami, Fla., area. The entire family was privileged to participate in exploratory mission efforts in Paraguay, Argentina, and Ecuador during the summer breaks.
Rev. Paul and Aneela Jordan – South Asian outreach in Pewaukee, Wis.
Pastor Paul serves in Pewaukee, Wis., as South Asian ministry coordinator. He and his wife Aneela connected with WELS in 2002 while still living in South Asia. Pastor Paul worked with WELS to reach out with the gospel in his home country, and that mission work is still ongoing today. A confessional Lutheran church in their home country now reaches out through close to 30 house churches, a thriving Bible Correspondence program, and many non-formal and Sunday schools.
He and his wife were forced to flee their home country and relocated to the United States. He graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2017 after completing classes through the Pastoral Studies Institute program. Christ Lutheran Church in Pewaukee serves as the host of an International Friendship Center, which provides programs and activities to engage internationals in the community by meeting any needs they may have. Pastor Paul and Aneela regularly visit Hindu temples to meet new people and invite them to events and activities. They also frequently invite their South Asian friends to their home for dinners and Bible studies.