New graduates to new missionaries

Meet Missionary William Dunn
It has now been just over six months since receiving my assignment to the bilingual Spanish mission congregation, La Iglesia Luterana San Pedro in Milwaukee, and yet it feels like yesterday. I remember hearing the assignment “San Pedro Lutheran Church,” and thinking “Spanish ministry, oh boy, in the past four years I’ve only had one semester of Spanish at the seminary and two weeks of work in Mexico…how is this going to work out?” But as it turned out, the mission at San Pedro was a bilingual Spanish mission with a bilingual worship service. Then I learned that St. Peter was not only bilingual, but actually trilingual, with services in Spanish, English, and Karen. Several times a year we even have a service that incorporates all three, such as our Trilingual Thanksgiving service! The longer I have been at St. Peter getting to know the congregation, the more I am excited to be here and to serve here. Learning about all of the different cultures and backgrounds has been both humbling and energizing. We are multicultural and intercultural. We have so many outreach opportunities in our immediate community as well as through our elementary school, Christ-St. Peter. And as it turns out, all the Spanish classes at MLC come back quickly (though there is still work to be done).

It has now been just over six months since graduation and assignment day and yet it also feels like the distant past. There have been so many changes. We moved from Grafton to Milwaukee. Baby number three was added in October. The ministry at San Pedro is continually growing and full of potential. I have been overwhelmed by the loving reception I have received as I continue to visit our families in order to get to know them better and begin developing a vision for the future. God has truly blessed this church and we are blessed to be a part of it!

Meet Missionary Matthew Rothe
Upon arriving in Fredericksburg, Va., to start a new mission I was quickly astonished by two glaring facts. First, there are many existing churches here. Second, there are tons of people who live here. After meeting many people from the community, I discovered another saddening piece of data. The math doesn’t add up. Despite the great number of churches, many people don’t go to church. Solution: Fredericksburg indeed needs a new church devoted to making new disciples by sharing the old, old story of Jesus and His love!

In this ripe harvest field I am blessed to serve alongside a core group of 14 families who comprise The Way Church’s launch team. Together we meet bi-monthly to study God’s Word, develop the culture of The Way Church, and share the vision and values that will lead us forward. Our launch team also “breaks the huddle” going out into the community to canvass and serve.

The Way Church is launching September 10, 2017. We are in the pre-launch phase, which means we are not holding weekly worship services… yet. During this phase I am able to focus on exploring our community and doing outreach in it. This has not come without challenges.

Pastorally, I have been stretched by going outside my comfort zone to witness to people not like me, finding myself in leadership settings where I’ve previously had little experience, and simply learning how to start a church. Personally, however, I have been humbled by seeing Our Helper give me His Words to speak and giving me understanding to act according to His Will.

I praise God who, throughout this experience, has strengthened my faith in Him and love for Him. I am also thankful for my training at WLS, MLC, and LPS that taught me the necessary skills for being a missionary and, additionally, nurtured in me a mission mindset eager to share the gospel.

Meet Missionary GunnaLedermann 
When did you first hear the words, “Jesus loves you?” Maybe it was your mom or dad who passed on their faith by sharing the Word of God with you and having you baptized as a baby. Maybe you were a little older and a teacher shared the message of Jesus, while teaching the wonders of creation. Or maybe a pastor came to your door, met you at a festival or at the gym and told you about Jesus’ love. This is our mission in Rockwall, Tex., and your message in your neighborhood. In March of 2016, a group from Divine Peace Lutheran Church in Garland, Tex., began mission work in Rockwall. On December 4, we had a grand opening inviting the community to come and hear the message of Jesus. We thank God for your prayers and gracious gifts in support of our mission. God richly bless you with joy as you share Jesus’ love and with peace as you trust in Jesus’ promise of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven.

“We are working with Dave Malnes of Praise and Proclaim on an outreach campaign to canvass some of the newer neighborhoods of Rockwall. We had pairs who will go door to door in December to invite the community to a BBQ dinner,, followed by worship. My wife, Marinda, has been working as the project manager organizing the volunteers for dinners, canvassing, t-shirt designs, etc. As a new graduate, working with Praise and Proclaim has been a great benefit. We are the 11th project Dave has worked on and his approach gives everyone a sense of calm during the whole process. Our project has also been blessed by the efforts of Alli Pappathopoulos from TwelveTwoCreative. Her company has been working with WELS churches on their outreach strategies, canvassing materials and communication with the local community. Alli worked with us to create a new website, logo, all the mailers for the Praise and Proclaim campaign and so much more. God has richly blessed this campaign with so many willing and skilled workers, we look forward to going out into the harvest fields.”

Meet Missionary Ryan Kolander
On July 31, I was ordained and installed as the second pastor at Palabra de Vida in Detroit, Mich. My dad preached, and nineteen brothers in ministry laid their hands on my head as they gave me words of strength and encouragement from the Word. Some even recited their verse in Spanish (with a little rehearsing, of course). It was a day I will remember for a long time.

After a three-day orientation with Mission Counselor Tim Flunker, I spread my young ministry wings and fluttered out of the nest! My associate, Pastor Ismael Sialer, has been very helpful in introducing me to people in the community and congregation alike. We even performed a quinceañera celebration, in which we read and preached God’s Word to around 100 guests who had never been in our church before! In these first few months of ministry, I’ve been able to drive and walk around our diverse neighborhood, begin to instruct a few people who are new to the faith, start and lead a children’s “Growing with Jesus” class, preach a number of sermons in both Spanish and English, run a clothing drive, assist with our food drives, meet with several church families, prospects, and community leaders alike, and even dabble in building a website. Please pray for our congregation, that the Holy Spirit continue to strengthen our faith through the Word so that we can share it with others who need it desperately in our community.

Meet Missionary Peter Janke
I’ve been in East Asia for around seven months now, and it’s hard to count how many ways God has blessed me in this time. Maybe I’ll tally them up for my own benefit now and so that you too can give thanks to God and pray that they may continue.

First off, the team that I work with in the field is outstanding. I am blessed to work with a team of other missionaries that are full of advice and encouragement. Their lives show how close their relationship is to Christ.

I also work in my city with a team of evangelists. Their willingness to invest their time into the lives of others is a real mark of their Christian love. They are always eager to introduce their friends to Jesus as well.

I also feel blessed to get to spend extra time studying the local language. I’m talking with friends, with taxi drivers and street cleaners, with little kids in elevators, and striking up conversations with people I’d never imagined I’d have the chance to talk to. All of this is preparing me for future work in the language.

I also consider the food to be a blessing. Maybe it’s because I love to eat food and especially spicy food, but I have come to long for Asian food more than the mashed potatoes and turkey I grew up with. My favorite kind of food is hot pot. It involves letting raw foods cook in a spicy soup in the middle of the table. I’ve spent many hours with friends eating good food and having great conversations.

The friendships I’ve made with East Asian people have been a blessing as well. A friend named Jason had started learning about Jesus through us from scratch–no knowledge of Jesus at all. Through our studies and one-on-one encouragement we witnessed the Holy Spirit working in his heart. Jason asked if I could teach him how to pray, he wanted his first prayer to God to be of thanks to Him, not asking for anything, or questioning God’s will. Every day I try to be a friend to others and I continue to pray that people around me see Jesus in me.

My relationship with God is my biggest blessing. Through personal devotion time with Him, God has equipped me to speak, has assured me of his forgiveness, and again and again has told me that I am his child. When I think about the things that I’ve given up to serve in East Asia–family, friends, comfort foods and ease of communication–God has made up for all of them and more.

Psalm 144:15: Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

WELS Church Extension Fund update

· $32.8 million in new loans approved for 43 congregations in fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.

· $4.0 million in matching and special grants approved for 15 congregations and the Board for Home Missions.

· Five new land purchases, 25 new facility projects, and 18 other projects including renovations, increases, and refinances.

· Six mission congregations purchased existing facilities with additional loans for renovations, two missions completed a parsonage purchase, and 16 congregations were approved for new construction loans totaling $28.2 million.

 

Thank you Lutheran Women’s Mission Society

WELS Missions is blessed with many active partners who help to support the proclamation of the gospel. The Lutheran Women’s Mission Society (LWMS) is one of those important contributors. The women of LWMS support WELS mission pastors and families, as well as help provide the means to continue gospel outreach worldwide.

At the 2016 annual convention, WELS Missions received generous gifts:

Home Missions: $41,529.28 – Summer Student Assistants
World Missions: $41,529.29 – Television Broadcast for Muslim World and Theological Seminars
kids c.a.r.e. mission project: $60,816.17 – Central Africa Medical Mission Orphan/Infant Program
Worship Service Offerings: $51,620.29 – divided between home mission project Outreach to Asians and world mission project Apache Leadership and Maintenance

Since August of 2015, Home Missions has authorized close to $150,000.00 to special projects to assist and enhance mission efforts. The majority of those funds have come from LWMS gifts This year marks the 54th annual convention to be held in Orlando, Fl., June 22-25, 2017. For more, click the video link.

Missions says “thanks ever so much” to LWMS for the generous and continued support of WELS Missions.

 

 

Campus Ministry Committee initiates pilot program

How do we keep our members connected to God’s Word while they are away at college? This question has been asked by parents and congregations alike. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to connect them to a local WELS congregation or campus ministry near the school where they are attending. The WELS Campus Ministry Committee (CMC) exists to help parents and congregations in this task. Every year, the CMC sends letters to every WELS congregation asking for contact information for their high school seniors. Once this information is gathered and entered into our database it is used in two ways. First, the CMC sends out letters to every student. This letter encourages students to be involved in campus ministry and gives them the contact information for the local congregation or campus ministry where they are attending school. The CMC then sends the students’ contact information to the local contact or campus pastors so they can make contact with these students while at school. This has been an effective way over the years to connect students to local ministries.

But we can’t connect students to these local ministries if we don’t know who they are! One of the challenges the CMC has faced is the low participation of congregations in this contact information gathering effort. Historically, only about 400 of our 1300 WELS congregations have participated. This year, the CMC has initiated a pilot program to connect more students to local ministries. The CMC has engaged the help of Senior Vicar Phil Janisch from the Point of Grace Campus Ministry in Milwaukee to call congregations and ask for contact information for all their high school seniors. Vicar Janisch spends his time calling every WELS congregation who hasn’t responded to our mailing to encourage them to provide this information. Sometimes it is secretaries who gather this information. Sometimes it is the pastor. Sometimes it is an interested parent or member who does the work. To date, we have been able to gather information from an additional 400 congregations. We are grateful to see that our efforts have doubled the number of congregations participating. We are hopeful to see 100 percent participation of our congregations in this effort in the future. The more students we know of, the more we can connect to local ministries and through this keep more students connected to God’s Word. Your help is appreciated as we partner together to keep our young people connected to God’s Word.

By Rev. Charles Vannieuwenhoven

 

 

Multi-Site Conference 2016 recap

The National Multi-Site Conference for WELS Churches met November 14-16, 2016, at Grace Lutheran Church of Southern Arizona, a WELS multi-site church in Benson, Sahuarita, Tucson, and Vail. One hundred forty-four pastors, teachers, staff ministers, laypersons, and other ministry leaders attended.

What is multi-site? Multi-site is a strategy for gospel ministry and mission work: one church carrying out gospel ministry at more than one physical location, created for the primary purpose of expanding gospel outreach. In addition to simply positioning churches to share Jesus with more people, there can be other benefits such as shared resources, efficient organization, cost effective programs, reaching a new community or target audience, expanded volunteer and leadership opportunities, and more.

Why a conference? This conference provided a venue for networking and building relationships with the growing number of WELS churches investing in this work. It was designed for churches already doing multi-site ministry, as well as churches just getting started or merely considering it. The conference workshops covered a wide selection of presentations to meet the needs of everyone regardless of their level of experience. Some workshop topics, for example, focused on key multi-site components such as communication, staffing, volunteers, budget and finances, merging two or more churches, organizational structure, and more.

Who is doing multi-site? The multi-site strategy is a good fit with our Lutheran beliefs and values that have stood the test of time. While the multi-site strategy is just one of many ways to expand mission work, it is significant to note that five of the eight new mission starts authorized by WELS Home Missions in April 2016 have a multi-site component.

Conference highlights:

The keynote address set the tone for the conference. Pastor Rick Johnson shared the multi-site story of Crown of Life Lutheran Church in Corona, Beaumont, and Riverside, Calif., “bringing the gospel to more people, and more people to the gospel.” The multi-site strategy at Crown of Life has developed over the last eight years, and the church plans to add more campuses.

Pastor Ron Koehler, representing our host church, Grace Lutheran in Tucson, presented an overview of their four locations. A video demonstrated the different look and layout of each location’s facility. Pictures also helped tell the story of Grace’s multi-site ministry, which includes “saving sacred spaces.” Grace has responded to requests of neighboring churches, declining in numbers, desiring Grace’s leadership and ministry to assimilate their church into Grace’s multi-site strategy.

Pastor Daron Lindemann, chairman of the conference planning committee, and pastor of Holy Word, a multi-site church in Austin and Pflugerville, Tex., says, “The level of interest in multi-site amazed our planning committee. We had hoped for 80 people to attend, set up plans for possibly 100, and needed to make some exciting adjustments to accommodate over 140 who registered.”

“I believe that the multi-site strategy, and its variations such as mergers, offer both an answer to some challenges, and a plan for expanded gospel outreach in the WELS.”

By Rev. Nathan Strutz

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

Looking for a double-duty missionary

It’s not often that WELS asks an overseas missionary to serve two different fields; however, the Administrative Committee for Africa is addressing unique needs in Cameroon and Nigeria with one full-time missionary that will split his time between the two countries– half for Nigeria and half for Cameroon.

In Nigeria, the double-duty missionary will coordinate all the mission work WELS is doing there including administration of board responsibilities, pastor meetings, and worker training. It will be necessary for him to be away from home fairly regularly and for some weeks at a time. We expect that he will visit Nigeria about four times per year as needed for direction and encouragement. As the coordinator of the Nigerian mission, he will take responsibility for organizing the program and communicating between the national church and WELS.

There are valid reasons not to live in Nigeria. A physical presence by a WELS missionary can, at times, result in dependency by the national leadership. Christ the King and All Saints Lutheran synods could take a step backward if there was a WELS resident missionary. There are also more security issues in Nigeria as opposed to Cameroon.

There are valid reasons to have the double-duty missionary live in Cameroon, primarily, networking opportunities. As WELS builds a foundation in Bamenda, Cameroon, the missionary will meet with leadership in the northwestern district on a monthly basis, assisting our fellow Christians to understand their opportunities and take the reins of their ministry. Our current missionary in Kumba, Cameroon, will work similarly in the southern districts as well as continue coordination of the new worker-training program there.

Some have identified this particular call as a “tough one,” or “at the outer edge of feasible.” The double-duty missionary will be a unique man with unique strengths, “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” Please keep our double-duty missionary in your prayers for the challenge before him and his family as WELS’ Nigeria-Cameroon Missionary.

By Missionary Daniel Kroll

 

 

A Paul-like experience

The newest WELS-sponsored project in Europe, Outreach to Roma (OTR) [a.k.a. gypsies), has proven to be a truly Paul-like experience. The reports from Pastor/Missionary Iliyan Itsov read like a modern-day Book of Acts. Moreover, OTR’s method of gospel outreach closely resembles the method the Apostle used – a travelling missionary gathers groups and then leaves them to be served by local leaders.

There have been places like Lystra where the Apostle encountered violence. Missionary Itsov was invited by our sister church, the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Germany, to try to gather some groups in Germany, which the ELFK pastors would then serve. Itsov met with threats of physical violence and had the tires on the OTR van slashed. After about two months of outreach, a couple interested families were found.

There have been disappointments like Paul experienced when men turned away. Pastor Itsov spent several weeks in Romania to help form and legally register a Confessional Lutheran Church. The theologically trained man who had invited WELS to help later decided to associate with a different Lutheran body.

The Apostle Paul did not give up and found cities that welcomed the gospel. In Bulgaria, OTR has met with success. Itsov travels to Roma villages and shares the gospel. He gathers interested people and gives them initial instruction in the Word. With their help, he seeks to find a suitable place for worship and holds the initial services. After a few visits for worship and Bible study, he asks the group to select a leader who is willing to study the Bible in greater depth and conduct weekly services reading sermons Itsov provides. Then through periodic visits and via Internet Itsov teaches the leader.

Three such groups are now gathered in Bulgaria, each with its own leader and each with regular worship. The first group is in the village of Zlataritsa. Atanas has led the group for nearly a year now. It has an average of 18 in services. Two more groups were started in November. Bogdan is leader in Kotel, and Boyko in Stara Zagora. In all three cases the leader and members of the group have taken on the responsibility of inviting others and seeking to build a congregation. Frequently, through the many family and friendship ties among the Roma people, members are directing Itsov to other individuals and villages.

In addition, the OTR van goes out each week to three neighboring Roma villages and brings 20 people to the service at the Bulgarian Lutheran Church’s congregation in Dunavtsi.

When he is home in Dunavtsi, Itsov also helps his congregation’s pastor. Right now the congregation stuffs as many as 25 people into a rented room the size of an American living room. But, God willing, help is on the way! Itsov has received a loan from a WELS member to enable the congregation to purchase land and construct a small chapel. The cost will be kept low because volunteers will supply nearly all the labor. The present rent money and special gifts will be used to pay off the loan.

By Rev. John Vogt

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

PSI partners with World Missions

Simon Duoth, a Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI) student in Renton, Wash., is a man who understands a blessing when he sees it. As a refugee from South Sudan, a people group on the run from Muslims, from extremist government, and from neighboring tribes, he knows all too well that peace seldom lasts long. He understands that situations can change in an instant. And so, when Simon Duoth sees a blessing, he holds onto it.

Because of men like Simon, the PSI team sees a blessing: strong connections forming as stateside churches, missionaries, and churches around the world partner to respond to the growing number of people looking to WELS for training. Here are some examples of what this partnership looks like for PSI.

The PSI team is…

* partnering with the One Africa Team to meet the growing needs for training in Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, and Guinee Bissau (in addition to the ongoing and new opportunities in Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon, and Nigeria).

* assisting East Asia with visiting professors to help ALS train men to be pastors, group leaders, and evangelists. We are coordinating efforts so that an East Asian PSI student in North America might also take classes with the students in East Asia.

* walking with WELS Hmong pastors to villages in Northern Vietnam where more than 70,000 Hmong Christians are longing for leaders trained with the truth that we have. It means working with them to determine what sort of training to offer and what it will take for them to walk together with us to reach even more.

* teaching Greek and Hebrew to a young man from Ukraine so that he is prepared to begin his seminary training as a future leader of the church. At the same time, we are working to connect that man with a group of 50 Ukrainians living in the small city of Wasilla, Alaska – a group that has no leader but gathers together on a weekly basis to read God’s word.

God’s people are walking together to meet the growing needs of training around the world. That’s the blessing we see right now. And it is our prayer that these partnerships continue to grow and thrive. That’s the same blessing that Simon Duoth sees and is firmly holding onto. These partnerships can exist because our foundation is the truth of God’s Word. For Simon, this means knowing that whatever church he goes to and whatever pastor, professor, or missionary he learns from he will hear the same true message. He wants nothing more than for the Sudanese refugees scattered throughout the world to be able to hear and know that same beautiful message.

By God’s grace, as we partner around the world to train up the next generation of leaders, the worldwide network of churches holding on to that same message will continue to grow and spread. For us – the PSI team – this partnership with each of you means a great blessing we are eager to hold onto.

By Rev. Jon Bare

View Moments with Missionaries video featuring PSI student, Qiang Wang, and the Saviour of the Nations mission congregation in Vancouver, Canada.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

Summer travel plans

Summer is a time for cook outs, taking in a baseball game, lazy days at the beach, tending garden, and traveling—whether for business or personal reasons.

If you are doing a lot of traveling this summer, or any time, we want to remind you of two ways you might save on your travel costs—through two ShopWELS partners: Enterprise and Choice Hotels.

Enterprise rental programs

WELS has negotiated two sets of corporate rates with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. A “Set Rate” and a “5%” rate. Check both rates to see which is lower for the day(s) you need a car. Depending on the day, one will likely be lower than the other. This program is open to all WELS members. Learn more

Choice Hotel discount

When making a hotel reservation for business or personal reasons, using Choice Hotels will save you 5 percent. We recently learned that the more this discount is used, the better the chances WELS has of obtaining a greater discount. So choose Choice and let’s get bigger discounts together. Learn more

No matter what your summer schedule looks like, we hope you are able to take a break and enjoy visiting with family and friends during the warmer weather. Safe travels and smart shopping!

Parish nursing – doing what is right and good

Written by Sue Bolha RN, Parish Nurse Council Coordinator in collaboration with Linda Golembiewski, RN, BSN and former adjunct at CUW, teaching Legal Aspects of Parish Nursing.

One of our WELS pastors recently asked about the legal ramifications of a parish nurse practice. What might a parish nurse be officially authorized to do? Any nurse, regardless of the setting in which he/she practices is guided by the policies and statutes set forth by the state in which the nurse is licensed. Since the statutes may vary from state to state it is neither necessary nor wise to make an all-inclusive policy for WELS parish nurses. It is, however, wise and necessary to review some guidelines as they apply to the unique nursing opportunities associated with parish nursing.

Liability: The Nurse Practice Act and State Statutes of the state in which the parish nurse is licensed to practice must be followed. A violation of these standards of practice constitutes unprofessional behavior and may result in the suspension, revocation and non-renewal of the nursing license. A congregation must be respectful of the standards by which a parish nurse must operate. It is a good idea to check with the church liability insurance and clarify any issues that arise. It is also a good idea, but not required, for a nurse to carry her own liability insurance.

HIPAA regulations may affect the practice of a parish nurse practice. Good communication with the members of a congregation and good documentation by the nurse will help maintain a proper program.

Types of Service: The underlying philosophy of the parish nurse program supports a non-invasive health & wellness practice, functioning under the roles of health educator, health counselor, community liaison and volunteer coordinator. Examples of a non-invasive practice might include a visitation ministry, health fairs, and health education programs, leading an exercise class, blood pressure screenings or bereavement follow-up.

Delegated Duties: The parish nurse (RN) is accountable for duties of delegation carried out in the parish nursing program guided by a job description.

Staffing: The parish nurse program is directed by a registered nurse currently licensed in the state in which he/ she serves. The parish nurse serves as a reflection of the congregation, and consequently, must serve in a manner that is consistent with the congregation’s overall ministry.
The most effective parish nurse programs include a group of nurses working together. Although not required, the additional nurses provide broader service and expertise to the program. Non-RN’s can serve within the program, but only under the direction and authority of the parish nurse (RN) and within legal guidelines.

This information on the legal issues surrounding parish nursing and more can be found in the Suggested Guidelines for WELS Parish Nursing posted on www.welsnurses.net on the Parish Nurse page. More questions? Contact us at welsnurses@wels.net.

Why would a congregation benefit from a parish nurse program? A healthier congregation is better able to serve the Lord and his people! And as the parish nurse intentionally cares for both body and soul he/she will find ways to connect them to God’s Word, giving strength to his people.

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.

 

Is parish nursing for you?

By Carlo Piraino. Dr. Carlo Piraino, RN, served in the U.S. Navy (1981-1998). He works for the VA as associate director for Health Care Services and chief nurse executive. A member of St. Paul, Tomah, Wis., he serves as secretary of the WELS Parish Nurse Council.

“…so I will comfort you.” (Isaiah 66:13)

Why do we encourage Christians to maintain optimal health? To better serve the Lord and his people! Parish nursing is an independent, non-invasive, health and wellness practice within a congregation. Unlike typical nursing positions, parish nursing is always focused on the “intentional care of the spirit.” What might that look like in our churches? WELS parish nurses are always seeking opportunities to keep God’s precious people connected to Word and Sacrament.

  • A parish nurse might visit shut-ins, bringing along a listening ear, referrals to community resources, and a prayer and devotion reminding them of God’s love and promises.
  • A parish nurse can help a church make its campus accessible for people of all ages and all abilities. • A parish nurse will use the time before and after services to listen to people, recognizing the opportunity to provide emotional support and to remind people that our loving Lord is with them as they face the challenges of the day.
  • All this in addition to offering health education and health counseling! With their special gifts and talents, parish nurses can impact our congregations with “intentional care of the spirit.” Prayerfully consider serving your congregation as a parish nurse.

 

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.

 

When faith hurts: Responding to the spiritual impact of child abuse

By Victor I. Vieth. Victor Vieth is a former child abuse prosecutor who went on to direct the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. He is the founder and senior director of the National Child Protection Training Center, a program of Gundersen Health System. He is a member of St. John, Lewiston, Minn.

It is to the little children we must preach; it is for them that the entire ministry exists. – Martin Luther

The physical and emotional tolls of child abuse are well-known, but few appreciate its spiritual impact. According to 34 studies involving more than 19,000 abused children, a majority were affected spiritually. This may happen when an offender uses religious rationale, such as telling a child he is being beaten because of the child’s sinfulness. Or an abuser may cite a child’s biological reaction to sexual touching as proof the child is equally to blame for her own victimization. Even if the abuse is not in the name of religion, many children will have spiritual questions, for example, why God did not answer a prayer to stop the abuse. If the church does not help abused children suffering spiritually, research suggests that many will eventually leave the church, even abandon their faith. Yet the church has often ignored the needs of these children. To better prepare our called workers, all students at Martin Luther College receive training in recognizing and responding to cases of child abuse, with additional training provided at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. In addition, Special Ministries’ Committee on Mental Health Needs has formed a task force, Freedom for the Captives, to develop materials and training so that our churches can better help abused children in our congregations and communities. These materials will be available on a website and in other formats. Churches can also utilize these tools:

  • Child protection policies. Some studies indicate that most child molesters are religious and that the worst offenders are often active members of their church. One reason: the faith community often has weak child protection policies in its schools, Sunday schools, sports programs, and camps. If your school or church does not have rigorous child protection policies, or if you are simply not sure, speak with one or more child abuse experts who can assist you in implementing or improving your policies.
  • Training. Policies without training are often ineffective. Pastors, teachers, and church youth workers should be trained how to recognize and respond to abuse and to understand the importance of policies in deterring offenders. Instructing our children in personal safety measures is also critical, so that children know what to do if someone sexually abuses them or otherwise violates them. When done appropriately, such education is not frightening and may empower a child who is being abused to reach out to a teacher or pastor for help.
  • Sermons. Many survivors have said they never approached their pastor for help because they never heard him give a sermon about abuse, mention the topic in Bible class, or address it in any other manner. Many survivors believe the pastor simply won’t understand their pain and, like the offender, will blame them for the abuse. Meanwhile, many offenders sit smugly in the pews, confident the church will never speak out against child abuse. For the sake of the victims, we need to change this dynamic. Jesus said it would be better to be tossed into the sea with a millstone around one’s neck than to damage the faith of a boy or girl (Matthew 18:6). When it comes to this sin, our Savior’s warning has often fallen on deaf ears. As a result, children have suffered needlessly and offenders are emboldened to strike again. Owing a debt of love, and aware that our Savior will ask us to give an accounting of the children he has placed in our care, we must pray for and act on their behalf.

 

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.

 

Confirming a deaf adult

By Beverly Nehls, Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. A retired teacher, she is the mother of two deaf adult sons

Talk about a challenge! Instructing any adult for confirmation can be a difficult task, depending on their level of commitment and communication. But confirming a deaf adult? Where do I begin? How do I communicate with the person? How do I know if the person understands what I am teaching? WELS Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has completed a rework of the adult instruction manual By Grace Alone by Pastor Rolfe Westendorf (NPH, 1979). By Grace Alone: An Instruction Manual for Deaf Adults uses simple, short sentences and Scripture quotes from The Holy Bible: English Version for the Deaf. This manual should be used with a sign interpreter, a flow-through communicator who is not expected to do explaining. These days, sign interpreters are available via smart phones or tablets using a service called “Video Remote Interpreting.” If the deaf person is a good reader of English and a good lip-reader (understands what is being said by looking at the person’s lips while hearing little or no sound), the teacher might use the usual Bible Information Class (BIC) material. However, lipreading is difficult, inexact, and exhausting. New terminology adds challenges. One-on-one is best for understanding and encourages questions. Some deaf people do not speak, are poor readers of English, and do not lip-read at all. They often rely solely on American Sign Language (ASL) as their language for communication. ASL is not equal to English, because it has a different sentence structure. When an ASL user is asked to write something, the English is often poor and the person appears uneducated. He often is not good at reading English either. Reading and understanding the usual BIC material is challenging; therefore, it is strongly suggested that the new manual be used with this group. This instruction manual for deaf adults is available at no charge from:

WELS Special Ministries
N16 W23377 Stone Ridge Drive
Waukesha, WI 53188
Phone: 414-256-3241
E-mail: specialministries@wels.net

 

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.

 

News & Notes – Spring 2015

  • The 2015 Wisconsin Lutheran College Online Parish Nurse Course will be offered in early fall. Dr. Carlo Piraino will teach the six week online course, requiring about three hours of work each week, consisting of independent study, project work and online discussion groups. The Antioch II Foundation has provided a wonderful matching grant to help with the course tuition costs. Now is the time to be talking to your pastor of your interest in serving as a parish nurse in your congregation. Download the Parish Nurse Starter Kit from www.welsnurses.net and give him a copy of the “WELS Parish Nurse Guidelines” and the “Word to Pastors.” He would be welcome to contact Pastor Jim Behringer, director of Special Ministries, with any questions. jim.behringer@wels.net More info at www.welsnurses.net. More questions? E-mail welsnurses@wels.net.
  • SAVE THE DATE – The Fall Parish Nurse Gathering is scheduled for October 17th @ Christ Lutheran Church in Pewaukee, WI.
  • Do you have an AED on your Church/School campus? – Leading the effort toward the purchase, the training of church, school staff and ushers and the maintenance or documentation of a new AED might be a great way for a “nurse in the parish” to use her gifts. Make your willingness to explore the possibility known to your pastor and/or elder and many times they will give the OK to gather information and make a proposal to the church council. Funds may not be immediately available but the seed can be planted for some future memorial funds to be donated. An active church campus with many people coming and going make the need for an AED a possibility statistically as in any other public building. Purchasing the same brand as your local EMS is helpful. Training DVD’s come with the purchase of an AED making the yearly training and review easy to do. Questions? Feel free to ask us. Many congregations have an AED on campus now!
  • At the WELSNA Spring Conference the Wisconsin Lutheran College/WELSNA Nursing Scholarship was awarded to Joseph Sallazo, a current junior from Caledonia, WI. His home congregation is St. Johns, Oak Creek, WI, and he is honored to be the recipient of the WELSNA Scholarship. Please remember him and the other students in your prayers as they prepare for lives of Christian leadership as nurses in a secular world. More information on the WLC/WELSNA Nursing Scholarship is available at www.welsnurses.net.

 

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.

 

Porn is pandemic

By Caleb Schultz

I moved to Atlanta just after Dr. Kent Brantly was brought to Emory University Hospital. Of all the places to bring a man with Ebola, they chose MY CITY, even as Americans were thinking: “Keep Ebola as far away as possible!” Since then, only one person in the United States has died from Ebola, and it wasn’t Dr. Brantly. By percentages, we’re doing well: we have a better chance of dying by shark attack while being struck by lightning than from Ebola.

Now look at percentages for a far worse disease, one that many people are not trying to cure but are actually trying to contract. 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women say they are addicted to pornography.1 And that’s just those who acknowledge that pornography is sinful and admit they have a problem.

If those numbers are accurate, then we might conservatively estimate that 35% of the people who read this article struggle with pornography. Those 35% live with an illness that slowly kills the soul by attacking their relationship with God.

Maybe you live with this disease, and with its accompanying darkness, guilt, and frustration. Maybe you know that place all too well. In that place it can feel like no one, not even God, could love you. Even though you know Jesus died for your sins, you feel unworthy of that forgiveness. Friend, you’re absolutely right.

But even when you feel like God shouldn’t love you because of what you have done, remember what he has done. Remember what that One – who knows everything about you – did for you and for every person trapped by pornography.

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

“‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” (1 Peter 2:24)

Like Ebola, porn can be deadly, but not to your body. Pornography attacks your soul. A person infected with Ebola needs help, and so do you. A great place to start healing is at a website called “Conquerors through Christ.” (www.conquerorsthroughchrist.net) Go there! Begin to leave that awful, dark place you know all too well. It won’t be easy, but Dr. Jesus and his medicine of forgiveness are working for you.

A perfect cure for Ebola is not yet known, but your perfect Savior gave you his perfection in exchange for all your sexual sins, including pornography. Because he suffered the shame of the cross, God sees you as pure and perfect, without wrinkle or stain or any other blemish (Ephesians 5:27).

The Conquerors through Christ team is praying for you. Ask trusted friends to pray for you. May God protect you from temptation and remind you that, in Christ, you are alive, free, and victorious.

1 http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/ Accessed 10/28/14

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.

 

From a secular bedside to a Christ-centered classroom

By Jessica Washburn, instructor of nursing at Wisconsin Lutheran College

I pursued a career in nursing through a public university after attending a Lutheran Elementary School and a Lutheran High School. Four years later and having earned a BSN degree, I entered the secular world of nursing. As a nurse in the Midwest and the West Coast, I encountered co-workers and patients from many different countries, speaking different languages, and believing in different religions and gods.

My family returned to Wisconsin a year ago, and I was asked to adjunct at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s (WLC) School of Nursing. I have always enjoyed working with student and graduate nurses; teaching these WLC students in a clinical setting did not disappoint. I accepted a full time call to WLC in August. Higher education is definitely a new area of nursing that I have come to enjoy and about which I still have much to learn. I am impressed that my students come to an 8:00 a.m. Monday morning lectured prepared and ready to learn.

I am now able to work openly from a Christ-centered viewpoint knowing that my students and co-workers understand one another’s beliefs and the college’s mission. I can stand in front of the classroom and tell these students what a wonderful world of nursing God has made for us, despite them learning and seeing disorders and diseases of each body system.

The opportunity to attend chapel each day is an aspect I never anticipated being part of my daily life. Attending chapel is something I was never able to do in college. During difficult and stressful times, chapel services allow the students and I to take a break and focus on what really matters in life. This past week, the students and I were discussing the differences in doctrine that we at WLC believe compared to other Christian entities to which they’ve been exposed. This open communication of religion is an aspect of teaching at WLC these students would not be able to encounter at many other colleges.

I often reflect upon what I have encountered as a bedside nurse over the past decade. I remember profanity being yelled by colleagues (both physicians and nurses) and having families cry over the passing of their loved one, believing in everything but Christ. These were rough days, but there were also rewarding days. I enjoyed watching my own Pastor come to my unit and have a devotion with a patient—realizing in the semi-private room the other patient behind the curtain is intently listening. Being able to teach in a Christian environment has opened my eyes to the importance of Christ-centered education. The value of daily chapel, faculty meetings that start with a devotion, and knowing my students can receive Christian answers from any professor is a gift from God. I am now a part of WLC, helping these students prepare for lives of Christian leadership as nurses in a secular world.

 

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.

 

Childhood Immunizations

By Diane Lamm, RN, BSN

There’s a lot of buzz about the topic of childhood immunizations lately. Some say vaccines cause autism and other illnesses. Others say it’s irresponsible to not vaccinate your children. As a nurse, you may find people coming to you for answers, so you ought to be prepared with some answers.

First of all, we need to make clear that there is not a doctrinal point of view on this topic. A person’s faith and status as a child of God does not depend on whether or not they choose to vaccinate their children.

As nurses, our opinions should be based on science. What does the research say about the safety of vaccines? We do know that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitor and research vaccines on a regular basis. In fact their Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) has information on more than 21 million individuals who have collectively received over 134 million vaccine doses (McNeil et al, 2014). Their research has helped to develop the best schedule for vaccine administration, determined populations that are at risk for side effects, and confirmed the safety of vaccines through post-marketing clinical trials.

One of the most common vaccine issues in the news lately has been the link of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. Where did that idea come from? There was a study done in England back in 1998. The doctor studied 12 children. Think of that – 12 children out of the millions that get the MMR vaccine. No one was ever able to reproduce his results and he has since had his medical license taken away for fraud – it turned out that he was trying to sell a single component vaccine and was in line to make millions if he could convince people that the MMR vaccine was unsafe. While his original findings got a lot of publicity and altered the rates of vaccination, the debunking of his study did not.

As nurses, how can we communicate this issue to parents who come to us for advice? One way is to explain the theory of cause and effect. Just because B follows A, it cannot be assumed that A caused B. Autism spectral disorder is usually discovered at about 15-18 months of age – this is because that is when language delays are typically noticed. The MMR vaccine is given between 12-15 months of age. Does one cause the other? So far, science has not been able to prove that.

As stated above, there are side effects from vaccines and there are certain populations that should not receive certain vaccines. It is important to know these things so that we protect and educate our patients. If a person has had a serious side effect to a previous vaccine, that person should not get a second dose. Hopefully, if others have been immunized against that disease, the person will be protected through “herd immunity.” Herd immunity means that if enough of the population is immunized against a certain disease, it is less likely to spread to those who couldn’t get immunized – children and adults with cancer, those who are immunocompromised, or those who are not yet old enough to receive the vaccine.

So, take some time to make sure you know the facts about immunizations and be prepared to share your knowledge, accepting that the person you are educating has the right to make their own decision.

McNeil, M. M., Gee, J., Weintraub, E. S., Belongia, E. A., Lee, G. M., Glanz, J. M., . . . DeStefano, F. (2014). The vaccine safety datalink: Successes and challenges monitoring vaccine safety. Vaccine, 32(42), 5390-8. doi:http://dx.doi.org /10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.07.073

 

Print out the latest edition of this newsletter to share with your congregation.