Dale and Deb Schmidt, members at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Carroll, saw a note from IOWAY that offered ways for people to get involved in helping others. Deb “got out of the pew” and called me. To my surprise, she said, “Dale and I are going to West Virginia. We can deliver a load of school supplies for you. On our bucket list to visit all 50 states, we have Delaware and West Virginia left to visit.”
Wow! What an answer to prayer! I was considering not collecting school supplies this year for West Virginia because of the high postage cost. After working out the details with Pastor Richard Lohmeyer, pastor at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Alderson, I put out the word that school supplies and backpacks were being collected. In a few short weeks, with help of a large donation of items from the Orphan Grain Train in Ida Grove, the following items were collected: 76 filled backpacks, 23 empty backpacks, 312 pocket folders, 57 boxes of crayons, 6 boxes colored pencils, 10 boxes markers, 17 packs loose-leaf paper, 51 glue sticks, 87 spiral notebooks, 13 scissors, 37 rulers, 805 pencils, 49 black Sharpies, 153 pens, 6 highlighters, 49 erasers, 1 tablet, 1 ream of elementary writing paper, 21 packs of stickers, 9 coloring/activity books, 11 pencil sharpeners and 46 bottles of glue. After Dale and Deb loaded their vehicle they had just enough space for their three suitcases! (Pictured is Dale Schmidt)
They delivered the precious cargo to Pastor Lohmeyer who is planting a church in West Virginia, a state with only four LCMS churches. Pastor Lohmeyer invites the community to an event where the congregation serves snacks, blesses the backpacks, and prays. The parents fill out an informational sheet and this serves as a great way for Pastor Lohmeyer to reach out into the community. He also works with the local school and helps supply items as needs arise. He shared his thanks in the following letter.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ in Iowa West,
Greetings in the name of Jesus!
Words cannot begin to express how I felt after receiving the wonderful shipment of school supplies from the good people of Iowa West. When we had finished packing my pickup, it was literally full! There was everything needed to help the needy children of our community begin the first day of school lacking nothing in terms of school supplies!
Pastor Richard Lohmeyer and Deb Schmidt
As St. Paul so often says in his letters to the early church: "I thank God for all of you!" The love you have for Christ Jesus is so obvious in your great effort to help the needy children of southern West Virginia. Many of the children in our community come from homes that are well below the poverty level. Often drugs have destroyed their family life with their parents using their funds to feed their habits. Without generous contributions from concerned and providing people like you, their future is not one of hope but rather embarrassment and failure.
Our mission at Christ Our Savior Lutheran is to provide hope, build relationships, and through this effort share the Gospel of God's love and forgiveness. We as a congregation are honored that you have chosen to join us in this outreach effort. We thank you and pray for you. We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers as well.
May God bless and keep!
Rev. Dr. Richard Lohmeyer
Christ Our Savior Lutheran
Alderson, West Virginia
Submitted by Ellie Menz, IOWAY Director