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May 2018

Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action — Mother’s Day and Beyond

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What’s the first thing you think of when May rolls around? Most people would say “Mother’s Day” of course! How wonderful it is that we have a day set aside to appreciate our mothers and to thank them for all they’ve done for us. But, there is an entire population of people who may see Mother’s Day through a different lens. Consider those who are unable to conceive or who have suffered a miscarriage or the death of a child. To those who have suffered a terrible loss or who are struggling to conceive, Mother’s Day can be a miserable time with countless reminders of what life could be like “if only.” Even those who have other children will never stop mourning the child they lost.

nullAs the month of May begins, make a pledge to reach out to at least one person who may not see Mother’s Day as a day to celebrate. Consider sending a Mother’s Day card honoring “someone special” (or make one of your own) and include a special message and a Bible verse. Just spending time together can be a special gift, especially when it allows the grieving mother to share memories of the child they lost.

There are many resources available to either help you educate yourself or to provide guidance and comfort to someone who is suffering. Here are some suggested resources:

  • Pastors and other trained counselors — If you know someone who is grieving over a loss let your pastor know and ask if he would mind if you referred that person. Or, your pastor should know of other Christian counseling resources.
  • Those within your congregation who have faced this type of loss and who might be willing to talk to others who are newly grieving.
  • Christian adoption services — Make a point of learning about what options are available and how arduous (and costly) the adoption process might be.
  • The book He Remembers the Barren by Katie Schuermann and the associated web site www.heremembersthebarren.com. This web site includes a blog on a variety of topics as well as a comprehensive list of resources.
  • The Bible study The Master’s Touch: Living with Infertility. Though geared toward infertile couples, the study would be appropriate for any audience who desires to better understand what infertile couples face.
  • Martin Luther’s statement Comfort for Women Who Have Had a Miscarriage.
  • Lutherans for Life has several articles and blog posts related to stillbirth and miscarriage.

Often we just don’t know what to say to someone facing these situations. There is definitely a long list of what NOT to say, for example, “you’re young, you’ll eventually have a baby” or “have you thought about adoption?” But, we can never go wrong by just being with someone, praying with and for them, or providing a loving gesture like a hug or a card of encouragement.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

Reaching Out in the Community

  • Research the availability of local grief support groups in your community for those who have lost children to miscarriage or early death. Perhaps start a group at your church. Or, invite a representative to speak at your church and open the talk to the public.
  • nullContact a local hospital to find out how you might support families of stillborn infants. Perhaps assemble a basket or bag containing:
    • The devotional Into His Loving Care
    • Comfort from the Psalms Mustard Seeds
    • A list of resources such as those mentioned above
    • A journal and pen
    • A charm bracelet with a cross, angel, heart, baby shoes, etc.
    • Practical items such as tissues, snacks, and bottled water
  • Another way to support families of stillborn or premature infants who did not live is to get involved with (or start!) a group that makes burial clothes for these tiny infants. Refer to the March 2016 mission servant activity to learn more. Or develop a process for collecting used wedding gowns to send to groups who make burial gowns from wedding gowns. One example is The Angel Gown® program.
  • Hold an annual remembrance service for those who have lost children and publicize it as a community event. After the service provide light refreshments and have resources available to help with the grief process.

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful women you have placed in our lives who have nurtured and encouraged us. You have blessed us with their presence in our lives. Help us to be a blessing to other women who are childless or have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage or other tragedy. Remind us to be sensitive to others in their grief and to share the love and hope of Jesus with them. We ask that you give us opportunities to help and encourage others as we reflect and give thanks for the special women in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Resources:

Concordia Publishing House: www.cph.org
Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Store: www.lwml.org/store

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

April 2018

Friendship Tea and Youth Fashion Show

Friendship Tea: Taking Time for Tea with Family and Friends
Invite your family, friends and neighbors too!
You may bring your favorite tea cup and share your story.
Bring a canned good for the Community Food Bank.

At Easter we celebrate new life in Jesus Christ.  The joy of our living Savior invites us to share His Love with others. Spring is a great time to celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors. Here is an inspirational spring event that will allow you to share time and express your love with those you care about and those you have just met.

  • Put together a planning committee and/or a Thrivent Action Team. Consider the following tasks:
    • Reserve the fellowship hall for the event.
    • Request that men from the congregation to act as servers.
    • Solicit volunteers for the clean-up committee.
  • Recruit children to be models in the fashion show. Action Team funds can be used purchase an outfit up to $25 for each model. The children can be from the congregation, preschool or a school, or children that the LWML ladies have taken under their wing.
  • Send out invitations – encourage attendees to bring family members, friends, or someone new. Provide opportunities for shut-ins and those in assisted living or nursing homes to join you.
  • Plan a menu such as finger sandwiches, fruit, desserts and a variety of teas.
  • nullSet up the day before so there is plenty of time to decorate tables with table cloths, flowers, teacups, plates, cookie trays, etc. Include a recipe for friendship tea or a Mustard Seed devotion at each place.
  • Consider activities such as:
    • A Maypole
    • A PowerPoint slide of each attendee including five pictures of them at various stages in their life with the last picture on the slide transitioning into what they look like now
    • A Candyland prayer walk
    • Sharing stories about the favorite teacup they brought with them
    • A service activity (food for the food bank, diapers for a pregnancy center, etc.)
    • Providing vintage hats for all the ladies to wear; have everyone make their own hats; or have a vintage fashion show
  • See the suggested invitation text here: sample invite Word doc

Extending Jesus’ Love in Action to the Community

Take the tea party to the community using these ideas:

  • Have a simple tea party at a nursing home, women’s shelter, homeless shelter, or half-way house for women. Work with the nursing home or shelter to determine whether there are any restrictions and then keep it simple. Bring everything needed — mugs or teacups, simple cookies or finger foods, a devotion (perhaps Comfort from the Psalms Mustard Seeds) and an eagerness to make new friends.
  • Assemble “Mug Devotions” to hand out to women who visit your church or who become new members. Start with a mug (check out the LWML mugs at CPH.org!) then include the following:
    • An herbal tea bag or two
    • Honey sticks
    • A Mustard Seed devotion (such as Living as a Woman in Mission)
    • Contact information and meeting times for LWML and Bible study groups
  • Visit a shut-in or someone who hasn’t been in church for a while. Or, perhaps there’s a new mom or a neighbor you’ve not yet met. Bring one of the aforementioned “Mug Devotions” as a gift as well as tea preparations for the two of you.

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

March 2018

Sharing Jesus' Love in Action — with an Easter Basket

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Easter gives joy! Share the joy of Jesus’ resurrection with people of all ages during this blessed and holy season! Remember the thrill of getting an Easter basket as a kid? Create a basket for shut-ins, someone in a nursing home, or widows/widowers. Form a Thrivent Action Team and use the seed money to help purchase your items.

Ideas of items to put in your Easter basket for shut-ins could be:
  1. From Quiet Times to Noisy Love: Dead End from LWML Store
  2. Living in Joy Mustard Seed Devotion from LWML Store
  3. Eyewitnesses Bookmark Set from CPH. Stop and visit them each week during Lent and give them a new bookmark.
  4. Purchase a chocolate cross from the Grocery Store or a Dollar Store.
Ideas of items to put in your Easter basket for that special person in a nursing home:
  1. Joyfully Aging: A Christian’s Guide from CPH. The special person will gain insight on the limitless opportunities to witness their faith to others and live vibrant, grace-filled lives.
  2. He Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! (CD) from CPH. This CD will be uplifting as they sing along with hymns such as “I Know My Redeemer Lives”
  3. Portals of Prayer from CPH or you may have extra copies of the large print at church that you could add to your basket. OR several sisters in Christ from your church could come with you and bring several Portals of Prayer for all the women in a wing of the nursing home.
  4. Spend time visiting them, pray with them or sing hymns from the new CD that you provided for them.
Ideas of items to put in your Easter basket for widows or widowers you may know at church or maybe someone who does not go to church and does not yet know Jesus:
  1. Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation – 2017 Edition from CPH
  2. Eyewitnesses Magnet Puzzle from CPH and visit them each week for six (6) weeks during Lent. Bring them one puzzle piece each week and explain the puzzle piece and share God’s word with them.
  3. Lutheran Witness from CPH
  4. Joyful, Joyful Mustard Seeds from the LWML Store. Bring your hymnal and sing hymns that go with the devotional.
  5. There are several large print Mustard Seeds also available.
Resources:

Concordia Publishing House: www.cph.org
Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Store: www.lwml.org/store

One precious gift is our time. God seeks each of us to use our personal time in service to Him. One such way is to interact with people in faith that God places into our daily life. Visiting an individual or several individuals on a regular basis is one such opportunity. You may also go and visit a nursing home, visit a widow/widower or a shut in, go and serve a meal to the homeless or in a soup kitchen. When we take time to be there for them, bring a bright smile and some joy to the homeless, the sick, the lonely, this is truly Jesus’ love in action.

This is where the conversation can begin, the mustard seed may be planted, where hope, mercy, love and forgiveness are given so that in joy they may know the Lord and His love through your service. What a wonderful way to live, showing the love of our Lord during the Lent and Easter seasons.

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

February 2018

Sharing God’s Love on Valentine’s Day

nullWhat better time to share God’s love than on Valentine’s Day (or a Friday or Saturday near it)? Here is one example of how you might celebrate the day as well as serving others:

  • Create a night of fine dining at its best with an Italian theme and romantic music.
  • Select a chef and kitchen staff to cook an Italian favorite with all the trimmings.
  • Have the men cook the meal and serve all the ladies that attend.
  • Offer a “selfie-spot” or a decorated backdrop for photos.
  • Develop a hand-out that has the story of Saint Valentine.
  • Enjoy the festivities and fellowship while collecting Gifts from the Heart for a community charity such as a food bank, pregnancy center, or domestic abuse center.
  • Place an article in your church newsletter and bulletin to encourage participation and make sure the article mentions the community group the event will support.
  • Create a printed invitation that members can use when inviting others.
  • Sell tickets prior to the event. Tell everyone that the money collected for the tickets will go towards the charity you have chosen to support for this event.
Get everyone in the act!null
  • Encourage everyone in the congregation to contribute their time and talents to this event.
  • Form a Thrivent Action Team and use the seed money to purchase the food for the meal.
  • Your team should include:
    • a decorating committee
    • a ticket and invitation staff
    • kitchen staff  
    • servers (all men attending)
    • a DJ and photographer
    • a clean-up committee
  • End the evening with a litany for Gifts from the Heart. This includes all of the ticket money as well as extra added donations. The event will surely be a blessed gift to be used for those in need.
Reach out to others —
  • Don’t forget to invite neighbors and friends that don’t go to your church. Remember to include widows and widowers as well as other single people.
  • Arrange to pick up guests and bring them to the dinner.
  • Do you know someone who can’t afford a ticket? Why not treat them to a night out. It is a great way to make new friends and encourage those who don’t like to come alone to a social gathering.
  • Let’s make this celebrated holiday more than just hearts and lace. Show Jesus’ love in action by reaching out to others in your neighborhood and community.

Extension — Sharing God’s Love — Feeding the Hungry

nullMost community food banks are desperate for donations during the winter months.  This is the time when seasonal work is scarce, limited funds are diverted to heating costs, and many people have put the generosity of the Christmas holiday behind them. Make an effort in your congregation to collect food and cash donations for a local food bank. Here are some suggestions:

  • Contact the food bank to get a specific list of the most-needed items
  • Publish the list of items in your church bulletin and newsletter and make sure to set a deadline
  • Encourage people to check their own cupboards for items they don’t plan to use but to be sure to check expiration dates!
  • Clearly identify the collection point — you may want to set up a poster and a large collection box (or a grocery cart if you can get one on loan!) in the church narthex
  • Involve the youth group in sorting, packing and delivering the donations

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

January 2018

January 2018 Mission Service Activity:

nullThe Mission Service Activity for January is actually a year's worth of simple mission service activities, laid out in one document for ease of use. Print and display the calendar of activities, and mark them off as you do them.

Sharing Jesus' Love Through Action — A Year's Worth of Mission Service Activities PDF 

Get Started with the January Ideas

Nurturing Faith in Christ

Start off the year in a positive way so you can be a blessing to others. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and spend it alone reading inspirational material and praying. Set a goal to increase by 5 minutes every three months.

nullMaking Our Faith Meaningful

At church, collect canned soup and boxed crackers in a large soup kettle. Then give the “Souper Bowl of Caring” to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. EXTRA CREDIT: Volunteer at the food pantry or soup kitchen! 

Sharing Encouragement

Start a “secret pal” prayer partner program for the ladies in your congregation. Ask ladies to commit to praying daily for their partner and suggest small acts of kindness to do throughout the year.

View and print the flyer to share!

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

Mercy Meals of Siouxland Packaging Event

Faith Lutheran Church, 3101 Hamilton Boulevard, Sioux City, Iowa 51104
Saturday, March 24, 2018 with events at 8:30 and 10:30 am.

These events present a great opportunity for you to bring family home for Christmas, friends, or just come yourself and experience the joy of giving.  What better way to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus than to provide food and the Word to hungry and starving children.  If you plan to bring a group of 5 or more please let me know.

Mercy Meals of Siouxland: Call (712) 258-0808   mercymealsofsiouxland@gmail.com

nullCommunity volunteers packaging Mercy Meals for hungry & starving children at Faith Lutheran Church, Sioux City.
 

Mercy Meals of Siouxland allows volunteers to package fortified Rice/Soy meals that are delivered to hungry and starving children throughout the world.

Mercy Meals of Siouxland is a program of Faith Lutheran Church; “Shepherds of Our Savior” a multi-congregational Christian men’s group sponsors and operates the program. Mercy Meals of Siouxland is contracted with Mercy Meals of Nebraska to package Mercy Meals, and Orphan Grain Train delivers the packaged meals to areas of most need around the world.

We utilize volunteers of all ages to package Mercy Meals; however, we feel it is important for children age 11 and up, and youth to be involved in order to instill a sense of self-empowerment, civic duty, world awareness, kindness to their fellow man, and appreciation for the blessings in their daily lives. We want our future generations to know they can make a difference in other people’s lives by being informed, by making good choices in their lives, by giving their time and by donating their talents. To schedule a packaging event, call 712-301-1228 or e-mail mercymealsofsiouxland@gmail.com.

Packaging events utilize 10-12 volunteers for each packaging line. Events begin with a short update on world hunger facts and recent shipments reports, followed by packaging of food for about one hour. Donations are encouraged, but not required.

$20.00 provides 150 meals
$50.00 provides 385 meals
$100.00 provides 770 meals
$200.00 provides 1540 meals
$1000.00 provides 7692 meals
$5000.00 provides 38462 meals

Please send your donation to Mercy Meals of Siouxland, Faith Lutheran Church, 3101 Hamilton Boulevard, Sioux City, Iowa 51104. Please make checks payable to Faith Lutheran Church/Mercy Meals of Siouxland.  (712) 258-4820

December 2017

Mission Servants Activity of the Month

Mission Servants Activity of the Month for December 2017: Birthday Party for Jesus

Birthday Party for Jesus!

Everyone loves birthday parties! What better way to focus on the true meaning of Christmas by celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Invite your congregation, and the neighborhood to participate.

  • DECORATE — Christmas tree decorated with mite boxes, birthday balloons, streamers, tablecloths, tableware, and party favors (Jesus’ birthday party ware is available online).
  • ACTIVITIES —
    • Have a Nativity play.
    • Sing Christmas Hymns.
    • Make Christian Christmas crafts.
    • Write down things you have done for Jesus and deposit them into a decorated shoe box with a slit on top (sharing God’s love, encouraging others, obeying, doing something for someone else).  Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Take time to share some of these with the group.
    • Make birthday cards for Jesus, put them under your tree, and read them to Him on Christmas morning.
    • Provide a Christmas book for each child that attends (see list below).
  • FOOD — “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake. Sing Happy Birthday. Put candles on each piece of cake. Blow out candles. Have a discussion — “What would Jesus ask for if He blew out the candle?”
  • GIFTS —
    • Bring can goods to donate to the local Food Bank (place them under the tree).
    • Everyone takes a mite box home to fill by December 25th. (Place a quarter in for every pair of shoes you own, for every tool you own, for every purse you own, for every Christmas present you buy for family and friends, for every blessing you received this year, etc.

Baby Shower for Jesus!

This is another fun way to look forward to the birth of our Lord and Savior. Invite your whole congregation to participate.

  • DECORATE —
    • You can decorate for a shower.
    • Decorate your Christmas tree with baby bottles (available at local pregnancy center), and encourage everyone to take one home to fill with coins for your local pregnancy center. Set a date for return of the bottles. A suggested date is on or before January 21, 2018, which is Life Sunday.
  • ACTIVITIES —
    • Have a Nativity play.
    • Shower games that reflect the story of Jesus' birth.
  • GIFTS —
    • Everyone brings a shower gift for baby Jesus. You may also ask for gently used clothes to help with the needs of older siblings. Ask your local center for their “needs list.”

Use the Celebrate Jesus ideas to spread the Gospel and inspire others to do the same. Use a Thrivent Action Team for seed money for your project to purchase items for “Birthday Party for Jesus!” or “A Baby Shower for Jesus.”

Download this flyer to print and share!

Extension — Sharing God's Love

  • Invite a woman in a nursing home to come to the event with you.
  • Go Christmas Caroling to the homebound in your congregation, and to a nursing home.
  • Bake cookies, or make a meal for a single mom, a widow, or widower.
  • Make “Bundles of Joy.” Sew baby quilts. Put diapers, baby wipes, onesie, other baby items, Bible, and Mustard Seeds for Young Mothers in the center of the quilt. Tie the quilt up into a bundle with a big ribbon. Distribute these to a hospital, pregnancy center, or other community organization.
  • For the month of December:
    • Set up a community babysitting service for parents on Saturdays.
    • Volunteer one day a week at a nursing home, pregnancy center, hospital, mission, or food bank.
  • Send an extra mite gift to LWML at www.lwml.org
  • Send a mission gift to LCMS at lcms.org/givenow

Books to Celebrate Jesus’ Birth

  • Concordia Publishing House - Arch Books
    • O Bethlehem, by Petersen Tietz, Joan    Item #: 591579
    • Baby Jesus Is Born, by Truitt, Gloria      Item #: 591579
    • When Jesus Was Born, by Hartman, Sara   Item #: 592209
    • Mary's Christmas Story, by Olive, Teresa   Item #: 591499
    • Star of Wonder, by Hinkle, Cynthia    Item #: 591594
    • Once Upon a Clear Dark Night, by Burkart, Jeff   Item #: 592243
    • The Shepherds Shook in Their Shoes, by Michelle Medlock Adams  Item #: 592234
    • The Christmas Promise, by Bohnet, Eric   Item #: 592225
    • Oh, Holy Night! by Petersen Tietz, Joan   Item #: 592252
  • Other Titles
    • A Birthday Party for Jesus, by Susan Jones
    • 'Twas the Evening of Christmas, by Glenys Nellist
    • The Christmas Baby, by Marion Dane Bauer
    • God Gave Us Christmas, by Lisa Tawn Bergren
    • The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, by Jan Berenstain
    • Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale, by Martin Waddell
    • The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomi dePaola.

The Mission Servants Committee would love to hear about and share your mission servant activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Servants Activities

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