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Volunteers begin cleanup after Hurricane Michael

WELS Christian Aid and Relief is now coordinating volunteers to help with cleanup and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Michael. Efforts are primarily focused on Amazing Grace, Panama City, Fla., which was hit directly by the storm. Amazing Grace’s church and parsonage experienced extensive damage, as did homes of several members and many in the community.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief quickly mobilized two of its relief trailers after Hurricane Michael struck the Panama City area and began coordinating volunteers to help with the cleanup project, including a group of 10 students from Martin Luther College (MLC), New Ulm, Minn.

“These students had so much energy and enthusiasm,” says Elizabeth Zambo of Christian Aid and Relief. “They gutted the church and parsonage that had been flooded, ripping out drywall and insulation. It was messy work, but they never complained.”

“It was an eye-opening experience,” says Hailey Stade, a sophomore at MLC and a member of Immanuel, Farmington, Wis. “I had no idea what to expect until we crossed the bridge to Panama City. Buildings were flattened. Every tree you saw was on the ground or bent in half. Power lines were all over the sides of streets and sidewalks. Large boats were tipped to their side in the water, and a building was considered lucky if it even had some of its roof intact.”

“This experience was definitely life changing,” notes Becky Pruss, a junior at MLC and a member at Redeemer, Fond du Lac, Wis. “When people who have lost so much still greet you with a smile and genuine conversation, it puts everything in perspective. Our God is definitely greater than the storms that may come our way in life. It really showed me that every day is an opportunity to live your faith.”

Zambo notes that volunteers will continue to be needed for months as work progresses on the church, parsonage, six to eight members’ homes, and homes of those in the community. Amazing Grace is currently worshiping at a nearby Christian camp facility, and its vacancy pastor, Rev. Jerome Enderle, and his wife are living in rented housing provided by Christian Aid and Relief.

Christian Aid and Relief has provided $108,000 toward this relief effort to this point, and more grant requests are expected. Monies distributed have been allocated for items such as supplies, building materials, gift cards, and volunteer expenses.

“The members of Amazing Grace have been overwhelmed by the love and support of their Christian brothers and sisters around WELS,” says Enderle. “This has served as an encouraging reminder that our small flock of believers is a part of a much larger family. The support and assistance of Christian Aid and Relief and the outpouring of gifts from people too numerous to begin to name cause us to thank and praise our Savior God. Truly he is the God of Amazing Grace.”

Christian Aid and Relief is partnering with Kingdom Workers’ Builders for Christ as the rebuilding process begins. Builders for Christ provides volunteers with building skills to serve alongside Christian Aid and Relief volunteers. To apply to serve as a volunteer to help with cleanup and relief work through WELS Christian Aid and Relief, visit wels.net/relief and fill out the volunteer form.

 

 

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Christian Aid and Relief Florence update

WELS Christian Aid and Relief has been monitoring damage to WELS churches, members, and communities in the Southeastern United States following Hurricane Florence. So far, only Ascension in Jacksonville, N.C., has reported significant damage. The congregation’s rented worship facility lost shingles in the wind, allowing torrents of rain to destroy the ceiling and fill the worship space. Christian Aid and Relief is still awaiting reports regarding how other area WELS members and communities fared.

Rev. Bob Hein, chairman of Christian Aid and Relief, reported that Christian Aid and Relief approved a $10,000 gift to Direct Relief, a secular relief organization that is providing immediate relief to people affected by Hurricane Florence. Hein reports, “We are also assessing ways to personalize our relief efforts by working through our churches in the affected areas.”

To learn more about or support WELS Christian Aid and Relief, visit wels.net/relief.

 

 

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A helping hand home and abroad

The administrative committee for WELS Christian Aid and Relief approved $317,403 for humanitarian aid work in fiscal year 2018-19. These are projects developed by WELS home and world missionaries to reflect Christ’s love to the people of their community and open doors to share the gospel. Projects range from providing school supplies, outfitting medical supplies, drilling drinking water wells, and offering literacy and skills classes. Eighteen mission fields, both home and world, will be receiving humanitarian aid funding.

Christian Aid and Relief Chairman Rev. Robert Hein, says, “Humanitarian aid projects help our missions put Christ’s love into action by meeting community needs. As missionaries develop relationships with the people they serve, they also find opportunities to tell people about Jesus. In some world mission fields, hostile to Christianity, humanitarian aid is essential to keep the doors open to share the gospel.”

Hein explains that all projects originate in the mission fields as the missionaries discover opportunities to help. Then the projects are brought to the Christian Aid and Relief administrative committee as well as to the WELS Missions administrators for approval. Every project that met the criteria received funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

While many initiatives are carried over year after year, new projects are also funded each year. Hein says, “Traditionally we have supported humanitarian aid projects in our world mission fields. Recently more of our home missions are bringing us requests, especially in cross-cultural situations. One new grant provides assistance to a mission in Colorado helping needy families in their community with school supplies. A new project in Haiti helps establish a sewing institute at the site of one of our Lutheran orphanage schools. They will help orphans, widows, and lower income adults learn a useful trade. It’s also a great way to build connections.”

To view a complete list of humanitarian aid projects, visit wels.net/relief.

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Plans underway for long-term relief strategy in Puerto Rico

WELS Christian Aid and Relief has announced its plan to call a disaster response coordinator for Puerto Rico who would serve for one year and work with the national pastors of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church of Puerto Rico to identify and prioritize specific needs, plan construction and repair projects, and coordinate volunteer efforts. He would also help to coordinate continuing theological training for two men whose training was interrupted by Hurricane Maria last fall.

The decision was made after President Mark Schroeder, World Mission Administrator Rev. Larry Schlomer, Director of Missions Operations Mr. Sean Young, and Rev. Tim Satorius, WELS Liaison to Puerto Rico, went to Puerto Rico in January to meet with national leaders and discuss further the most effective ways Christian Aid and Relief could help the hurricane-devastated island. Christian Aid and Relief approved the Puerto Rican church leaders’ request to engage a Spanish-speaking WELS pastor for one year.

This pastor will help coordinate the logistics of rebuilding the church in Humacao that was taken out by the hurricane and repairing the damages to the church building in Guayama. He will also oversee the relief efforts of WELS resources and volunteers in Puerto Rico. Finally, he will encourage and guide two young men in their pastoral training so they can lead these churches into the future.

Schlomer says, “The whole country is in a recovery mode. The leaders of the church have other jobs and have their hands full with the spiritual care of the members. This missionary would be able to spend time on the many logistical questions that will be needed in rebuilding and repairing. He will also be able to quicken the pace of training for the two young men that the church in Puerto Rico have chosen as leaders.”

Following Hurricane Maria, Christian Aid and Relief already has helped provide groceries to families in need and sent an immediate gift of $5,000 through Direct Relief. An additional $5,000 was provided for meals for people in the church and community suffering from this disaster. This enabled members of the national church to provide meals for 50 people a day for four weeks.

“[Creating this position] will help the community in Puerto Rico see our Lutheran churches in an active recovery mode with recovery help available for many. Knowing that their partner, WELS, is ready and willing to assist them will be a shot in the arm at a time when they very much need it,” says Schlomer. “Our prayer is that the church infrastructure is repaired and even better than before. We hope that the two new national leaders are well on their way down the path to becoming fully trained pastors. We pray that the partnership with our church in Puerto Rico is vibrant and active to reach the many still lost in darkness.”

Learn more about Christian Aid and Relief at wels.net/relief.

Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

Cleaning up after the storms

By now, everyone knows about the impactful hurricane season last fall. Countless people in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean were affected. Some of these people were WELS members and their communities. That’s where WELS Christian Aid and Relief stepped in to offer assistance via immediate financial support and long-term clean-up and repairs. Christian Aid and Relief has been coordinating volunteer efforts, enabling WELS members to help their Christian brothers and sisters affected by the storms.

In Florida, volunteers used Christian Aid and Relief trailers filled with supplies as they assisted with clean-up efforts in several affected communities. Local congregation members and school children helped with the efforts as well as canvassed the neighborhoods. Financial grants were also distributed to help families refurbish and repair their homes.

Financial assistance was provided to families from Barbuda who were displaced from their homes. Some are staying at members’ homes from St. John’s, St. John, Antigua.

Hard-hit Puerto Rico, home of WELS’ sister church body the Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Church, was visited by WELS President Rev. Mark Schroeder; WELS liaison for the field, Rev. Tim Satorius; and World Mission representatives in January. One church there was completely destroyed, and several members’ homes were damaged. Groceries were provided to families in need, and Christian Aid and Relief has been getting bids for repair projects. An immediate gift of $5,000 through Direct Relief was made to assist those in need as well as $5,000 to provide meals for people in the church and community.

Perhaps it was Texas’ Hurricane Harvey that had the biggest impact on WELS members. Several members’ homes were flooded, resulting in mold and rot issues. Christ Our Savior church and parsonage in Angleton, as well as Sienna Lutheran Academy in Missouri City, suffered considerable damage.

In the days following the hurricane, 40 WELS members from the greater Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth area traveled to the affected areas of Edna and Victoria to offer support and relief. Christian Aid and Relief provided two trailers filled with generators, chain saws, and other supplies and equipment to use for the clean-up of at least 50 homes.

In the weeks and months following the hurricane, after full assessments had been made, Christian Aid and Relief coordinated a steady stream of volunteers to help remove, repair, and replace damaged drywall, floors, trim and molding, and roofs of members’ homes.

Rev. Marc VonDeylen and his wife Monique, Lord of Life, Friendswood, live in a neighborhood that experienced heavy flooding during Hurricane Harvey. The night the storm hit Marc had to sleep at the church because the waters were rising so fast that he couldn’t make the short drive home. Meanwhile, at their house, Monique hosted unexpected visitors . . . neighbors she didn’t even know from down the street who couldn’t make it the few blocks to their driveway. While the VonDeylen’s home was spared from flooding, the area around them wasn’t.

The day after the storm, the VonDeylens called their members and found out that eight or nine homes were flooded. They started getting everyone together to help each other. “We started seeing a great outpouring of love from our members at that point,” said Marc. Congregation members went from house to house to remove damaged items. They even opened their homes to their fellow Christian brothers and sisters whose homes were being repaired.

While the support from one another brought their congregation closer together, Monique says, “People wanted to get back in their homes, so we were so glad when we found out that Christian Aid and Relief was going to come down here and help us out.”

Marc says, “God uses these things to give us opportunities to show our faith, practice our faith, and let others see the love of Christ.”

WELS members have given more than $1.5 million for hurricane relief. “We thank our WELS brothers and sisters for their prayers, their support, and their generous gifts,” says Rev. Robert Hein, chairman of WELS Christian Aid and Relief. “What a privilege to serve as God’s instruments to bring his blessings to those in need!”

Visit wels.net/relief to learn more about WELS Christian Aid and Relief.

Hurricane Relief Update – Nov. 22, 2017

Hurricane Relief Update—Nov. 22, 2017

Thank you for your prayers and support of the ministry of WELS Christian Aid and Relief.  We are using the generous gifts of God’s people to help those suffering from disasters and medical and financial trials, as well as  support humanitarian aid projects, which help our missionaries build bridges to proclaim the gospel.

Here is a Hurricane Relief Update:

Christian Aid and Relief personalizes our efforts by working through our congregations and missions in the affected areas.  We work through our pastors and congregational leaders to make assessments and to distribute aid.  We bring in volunteers when requested to assist in the recovery effort.

Puerto Rico

Our liaison to Puerto Rico, Pastor Tim Satorius has been in contact with pastors and leaders of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church of Puerto Rico.  Pastor Satorius and a representative from Christian Aid and Relief made a personal assessment visit to Puerto Rico in October.  One church there was completely destroyed and several homes of members were damaged.  Groceries were provided to families in need.  We are getting bids to consider for repair projects.  We sent an immediate gift of $5000 through Direct Relief to assist those in need.  We also sent $5000 to provide meals for people in the church and community suffering from this disaster.  The present plan is for members of the national church to provide meals for 50 people a day for four weeks.

Texas

Volunteers from neighboring churches helped with the initial cleanup efforts in several affected areas.  We have a project coordinator and volunteers in place repairing a parsonage and church at Christ our Savior, Angleton, Tex., the school at Sienna Lutheran Academy, and about 17 member homes in the Friendswood, Tex., area.  The work is going smoothly and the volunteers are finding joy serving the Lord as they serve these people in their time of need.  We have also provided grants to replace furnishings and appliances which were ruined by the flooding.  We continue to consider new opportunities.

Florida

Volunteers, with the help of our relief trailers, assisted with the cleanup efforts in several affected communities.  Those who have received assistance are most appreciative and wish to express their gratitude for a job well done. Pastors in the affected area continue to bring requests to us for immediate aid for their members through our District President Chuck Westra.  This includes generators and equipment, rental assistance while being displaced from home, and assistance with cost of repairs and replacement of furnishings.  We also assisted Abiding Grace, Covington, Ga., as their church suffered water damage from the storm.

Antigua and Barbuda

Assistance is being provided to families displaced from Barbuda, who are staying with members and friends of our WELS mission, St. John, Antigua.  29 families received $18,000 in immediate aid so far.  Our liaison Pastor Tom Spiegelberg visited Antigua last month to help us make further assessment of needs and opportunities.

The Thanksgiving holiday offers another opportunity to count our blessings and praise God from whom all blessings flow.  When we consider the physical and spiritual blessings God lavishes upon us by his grace, we realize that our cup of blessings richly overflows.  One way we express our gratitude to the Lord is by reflecting his love and compassion to others.  May the Lord bless our efforts to show love and kindness to those in need!

God’s Blessings,

Pastor Robert Hein, Chairman, WELS Christian Aid and Relief

 

VOLUNTEER FORM

Sign up to volunteer with Christian Aid and Relief efforts as they help our members and neighbors in times of need.

PARENTAL CONSENT VOLUNTEER FORM

The parental consent volunteer form needs to be filled out by the parent or guardian of any minors wishing to volunteer for Christian Aid and Relief projects.

 

 

 

 

WELS members respond

When people are hurting, Christians respond. Paul thanked the Macedonian Christians for the generous outpouring of support they provided for needy brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. They saw a need, and their love for their Savior and fellow Christians moved them to act.

The same could be said about the members of our synod in the way you have reacted to the hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. In addition to your prayers, you offered generous financial support to help those in need. As of now, WELS members have given nearly $700,000 for hurricane relief.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief has made grants to WELS congregations in Texas and Florida to address immediate needs for their members and for others in the community and has sent aid to Puerto Rico. Efforts are now underway to plan a more long-term effort to provide assistance. When plans are in place and can be administered effectively, WELS Christian Aid and Relief is ready to forward the funding that WELS members have provided.

We have been attempting to contact our sister church in Puerto Rico, but communications have been very difficult. We have heard there was extensive damage to at least one of the churches on the island, and we assume that the homes of many members were damaged or destroyed. As soon as we can assess the need and put plans in place, more assistance will be sent.

Even as WELS members have responded to these natural disasters, they have also continued their faithful support of the ongoing ministry of our synod. Through September, Congregation Mission Offerings are up 1.6 percent or $231,000 over the prior year and 0.8 percent ahead of subscriptions. Thanks be to God for these blessings that have been motivated by his saving gospel.

Serving with you in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder

View photos of President Schroeder visiting relief work in Florida

 

 

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Evaluation of relief opportunities continues

Pastors and leaders from Florida and Texas are continuing to meet and evaluate the needs of their members and communities following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Florida pastors and South Atlantic District President Chuck Westra met with a representative from WELS Christian Aid and Relief Mon., Sept. 18, to assess the needs and discuss opportunities.

Local volunteers have deployed the Christian Aid and Relief trailers, outfitted with tools and supplies for relief work, to the Jacksonville, Fla., area to help with cleanup efforts. A group of Christian Aid and Relief volunteers will be arriving in Florida on Fri., Sept. 22, and staying for a week to tackle cleanup projects in Merritt Island and West Melbourne, two of the harder hit areas.

So far, reports of damage to WELS churches and members’ homes have been minimal from Irma. Minor roof damage and downed trees account for the majority of the reports. Local groups have come together to clean up the most urgent areas, including members from the churches in the Divine Savior school association getting together to help clean up trees and debris around the school.

“It was pretty exciting that as we’re starting this new association with one another we see a firsthand account of brothers and sisters in Christ joining together to do a bigger, better job than we could’ve done ourselves,” says Rev. John Boggs, Hope, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Rev. David Rosenbaum, Redeemer, Merritt Island, Fla., said that while he and his members were spared major damage, there are several homes in the surrounding community that were destroyed by winds and tornadoes.

In Texas, a representative from WELS Christian Aid and Relief met with Houston-area pastors and lay leaders and South Central District President Rev. Don Patterson on Sept. 6 to assess the situation in that area. The district has established a local committee to continue to assess needs and coordinate relief opportunities.

Patterson reports that many congregations have already been working to help members and friends clean up damage to their properties and homes caused by the flooding. Rev. Matthew Brown from Abiding Word, Houston, Tex., says that more than 40 Abiding Word members mobilized as soon as flood waters receded to help the five member families whose homes were badly damaged in the flood. Other members went door to door in their neighborhoods to see if people needed help. “It was Christians serving and trusting that God provides those opportunities to give the reason for the hope that we have,” Brown says.

Several different groups from the area also traveled to Christ our Savior, Angleton, Tex., the last few weekends to help clean out and strip down the parsonage, which was flooded with eight inches of water that didn’t recede for a week.

Along with the relief trailers with tools and supplies, Christian Aid and Relief has provided more than $65,000 to help address immediate needs of the congregations and members affected by the hurricane and the flooding in Texas. Some of this funding is being used to help congregations and schools reach high deductibles for their insurance as well to provide gift cards for supplies to members and prospects as cleanup efforts continue.

Local district leaders and Builders For Christ are also discussing the possibility of working together on rebuilding homes damaged by the hurricane.

Boggs says, “Hurricane Irma has come and gone, and its affects are being felt everywhere. There are still parts of our state that are without power. There’s a lot of devastation and issues that need to be resolved. But, we stand amazed at how the Lord spared our people, how the Lord spared our buildings, how destruction was very minimal to our WELS churches, and how our brothers and sisters in Christ have rallied around each other and their common faith to support one another and help wherever possible.”

Christian Aid and Relief Chairman Rev. Bob Hein thanks WELS members for their outpouring of prayers and support, saying it’s encouraging for people who have been affected by these storms to know they have brothers and sisters in faith thinking of them.

Learn more at wels.net/hurricaneupdates.

 

 

 

 

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New directors begin their work

One of the main purposes of the synod as described in its constitution is “to extend and conserve the true doctrine and practice of the Evangelical Lutheran church by assisting and counseling in every appropriate way the pastors, teachers, and congregations” of the synod. One way in which this is done is through the various commissions that are a part of Congregational Services.

Two of those commissions have recently been blessed with new directors who will serve at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry. Rev. Jon Hein, who has served as the director for the Commission for Congregational Counseling (CCC) but has been located at the congregation he had been serving, is completing his move to the Waukesha, Wis., area where he will continue his work as director of the CCC. In that role, he will serve not only as the director of CCC, but also as the coordinator for all the commissions of Congregational Services as they work together to help congregations carry out their local ministries.

Two other commissions (Adult Discipleship and Youth and Family Ministry) will also welcome a new leader who will serve as the director of both commissions. Rev. Donn Dobberstein recently accepted the call to serve as the Director of Discipleship and will be relocating to the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry in the coming weeks.

These two calls demonstrate the importance of the role that the synod plays—not in carrying out the actual ministries, which are done at the local level, but in helping congregations to evaluate their ministry needs and in providing the resources that will help them do that. The CCC will be instrumental in helping congregations assess ministry needs, challenges, and opportunities. The Commissions on Adult Discipleship and Youth and Family Ministry will focus on helping congregations address ministry needs to adults, families, and children.

As our synod strives to help congregations to serve people of all ages with the saving gospel, we pray that God would bless the work of these new leaders and their commissions.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder

 

 

 

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Relief efforts underway in Texas

Pam Noldan, a member at Risen Savior, Austin, Tex., was excited that there was something she could do to help. “When I saw the request for volunteers, I thought we can actually do this. Yes, we can help!”

Pam and her husband Lars are two of the more than 35 WELS members from the greater Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth area who traveled to Edna and Victoria, Tex., Aug. 31-Sept. 3, to offer support and relief to those communities which were affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“God has visited us with a burden in our region, and we want to fulfill the love of Christ by carrying each other’s burdens,” says Rev. Donald Patterson, South Central district president.

These volunteers partnered with members of Redeemer, a dual-site ministry with worship in both Edna and Victoria, to address the critical needs of the congregation’s members, their friends and family, and also the community. Wind damage, downed trees, and loss of electricity for a long period of time are just some of the issues these communities are dealing with.

“We’re there to help the local congregation. But they don’t just want to serve their own; they want to impact the community—to shine Christ’s light,” says Rev. Daron Lindemann, pastor at Holy Word, Pflugerville, Tex., and district relief coordinator.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief is assisting with this local effort, including sending several Christian Aid and Relief trailers filled with generators, chain saws, and other relief supplies and equipment to use for the clean-up. Local Texas congregation members donated water, cleaning supplies, and food to help those in need in those communities.

The relief team responded to over 50 emergency requests in Edna and Victoria. While many came from Redeemer members, the word spread quickly that their church was actively responding with a relief team. Friends, neighbors, and members of the community called in requests as well.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief also has already sent $25,000 to help address immediate needs of the congregations and members affected by the hurricane and the flooding.

Lindemann says, “Thank God for our eager and willing volunteers, for safety throughout the weekend at relief sites, and for our witness to Christ’s love. The effort in Edna and Victoria is winding down, and our need to respond to Houston is us upon us. This is the next area of relief work.”

This is just the start of the relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey; as flood waters recede allowing access into the Houston area, efforts will be focused on Houston-area congregations that are dealing with the effects of catastrophic flooding in the area. Some locations got more than 50 inches of rain from Harvey.

A representative from WELS Christian Aid and Relief will be meeting with churches and leaders in the affected areas this week. “After the meetings, then we’ll determine who needs help and what help that would be,” says Rev. Robert Hein, chairman of WELS Christian Aid and Relief. “Texas helps Texas. They’re not waiting for us to come and rescue them; they are already reaching out to help their brothers and sisters in need. We always prefer to do a local relief effort and give these people the resources and the tools they need.”

As Christian Aid and Relief considers how to best mobilize volunteers as they meet with local leaders, Hein says those who are interested in volunteering can sign up online at wels.net/relief or contact Rev. Richard Warnecke, a WELS Christian Aid and Relief committee member, at 262-424-8792; pastorwarnecke@christpewaukee.org.

To promote good coordination of efforts, please direct questions about hurricane relief to Warnecke or to Hein, 262-334-7881; revrhein@gmail.com, rather than to local Texas congregations

Hein says WELS Christian Aid and Relief is not shipping supplies or donated items to Texas at this time. “If you wish to support this relief effort, the best way is to direct financial gifts to WELS Christian Aid and Relief and designate the Hurricane Fund,” he says. WELS Christian Aid and Relief will then provide funding for supplies and relief efforts in coordination with the local pastors in the affected areas.

Donate to Hurricane Harvey relief online at wels.net/give or by sending checks earmarked for WELS Christian Aid and Relief Hurricane Harvey to WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, N16W23377 Stone Ridge Dr., Waukesha, WI 53188.

View previous WELS updates about Hurricane Harvey.

View a slide show from our congregations and volunteers.

 

 

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Showing Christ’s love to spread the gospel

At its June 14, 2017, meeting, WELS Christian Aid and Relief approved humanitarian aid grants totaling $327,475 for fiscal year 2017-18. These projects help WELS home and world missionaries reflect Christ’s love to the people of their community and open doors to share the gospel. Major items include support for health clinics, borehole drilling to provide clean water, support for a women’s skill center, home-based care for the chronically ill and dying, food assistance to the needy, adult literacy classes, food and nutrition for orphans and refugees, midwife training classes, and medical equipment.

Rev. Bob Hein, chairman of WELS Christian Aid and Relief, says, “What a blessing to use the gifts of God’s people to help our missionaries build bridges for the gospel. Offering humanitarian aid is a great way to put Christ’s love in action and create opportunities to tell precious souls about Jesus.”

In Africa, Christian Aid and Relief will continue to assist various medical clinics and missions like the Central Africa Medical Mission (CAMM) in Malawi. CAMM operates four clinics that serve the Lutheran Church of Central Africa. In Zambia, funding will assist a home-based care program for the physical and spiritual care of the chronically ill and dying, as people there struggle with AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other terminal illnesses.

In Europe, funding will assist ministry programs that assist the needy and orphanages with food, clothing, Christian literature, clothing, and medicine in Russia, Albania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. This type of assistance can open the door to sharing the good news of Jesus with the communities.

In total, aid will be reaching 16 different countries, providing food, water, education, medical care, and more. By partnering with WELS World and Home Missions, WELS missionaries, and congregations of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, these projects reflect Christs’ love through acts of kindness to people in need and provides opportunities to share God’s Word.

To learn more about WELS Christian Aid and Relief, visit wels.net/relief.

 

 

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Malawi flood relief update

Relief efforts have been ongoing in the flood-damaged areas of Malawi. WELS missionaries in Malawi, leaders from the Lutheran Church of Central Africa – Malawi (LCCA), WELS Christian Aid and Relief, and WELS Kingdom Workers have been collaborating to meet the needs of affected LCCA members. So far, Christian Aid and Relief has designated $50,000 to relief efforts, but initial assessments indicate that needs are extensive and ongoing.

In January, Malawi experienced damaging floods that destroyed or damaged the homes of an estimated 3,200 LCCA families and nearly 20 LCCA church buildings. The floods also washed away crops, depleting the local food supplies, and increased the threat of diseases such as malaria and cholera.

So far, WELS Kingdom Workers volunteers and LCCA leaders, working with Christian Aid and Relief, have been distributing supply buckets with sheet plastic, nails, and blankets to provide temporary housing to affected families, but traveling the flood-damaged roads can be difficult. To help expedite the travel and delivery process, Christian Aid and Relief is funding two more Kingdom Workers volunteers to rent additional trucks in Malawi and get supplies to members more quickly.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief Director of Operations Mr. Mark Vance is planning a trip to Malawi in March to assess the damage and determine ongoing relief needs, particularly food and medical needs in addition to the structural damage to homes and churches.

The LCCA is WELS’ sister synod in Malawi. To help support relief efforts, you can donate online or send checks to WELS, Re: Christian Aid and Relief, flood disaster relief fund, N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive, Waukesha, WI 53188-1108

First steps taken for Malawi relief

The first steps have been taken on the long road to recovery in flood-ravaged Malawi. In January, flash floods damaged or destroyed countless homes, fields, and communities. An estimated 3,200 member families of the Lutheran Church of Central Africa – Malawi (LCCA) alone have lost their homes. And, the rainy season will continue for months.

LCCA leaders have received many calls from local congregational leaders who are seeking assistance for members. To begin, LCCA members and Kingdom Worker volunteers have been helping to distribute supply buckets with sheet plastic, nails, and blankets that can provide temporary housing. New permanent housing is still months away. In addition, nearly 20 LCCA church buildings have been completely washed away or damaged.

Malawi missionary Rev. Mark Panning and Christian Aid and Relief anticipate a three-step approach to aid. First is to meet the immediate need for temporary housing through the supply buckets. Distribution takes time, but is ongoing. Second is to repair or rebuild the damaged and destroyed LCCA churches. Malawian builders and contractors are in high demand; it could take quite a while to get on a builder’s schedule. The third step looks ahead to predicted food and water shortages. Many crops and fields were destroyed and water supplies tainted—ongoing food and water needs will have to be met.

So far, your generous gifts have provided about 500 of our brothers and sisters in Malawi with temporary assistance. WELS Christian Aid and Relief is accepting donations to its “Flood Disaster Relief” fund and will continue to send aid to Malawi as needs are determined. Please continue to keep our LCCA family, and all affected Malawians, in your prayers.

Read more from our WELS Missions blogs.

Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder