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Teaching Skills and Hope through Christ

Mission Grant #3 “Mission Outreach for At-Risk Young Women in AfricaLutheran Hour Ministries” $100,000

Teaching Skills and Hope through Christ

By Lois Engfehr, LHM Grants Manager, with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

Poverty, sickness, and violence are everyday occurrences in Cameroon and Kenya; situations which affect millions of people. Because of this tragic cycle, young women are often left with little or no education, forcing them to make money for their families in any way possible. The LWML grant, “Mission Outreach to At-Risk Young Women in Africa” through Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM), is changing lives and bringing them the message of hope and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

LHM’s initiatives in Cameroon reach out to young women and provide vocational training and guidance from a Christian perspective, helping them live healthy lives in a secular world. LHM’s holistic outreach program touches the lives of abandoned, unwed mothers, and victims of sexual abuse by offering vocational training, along with hope in Jesus Christ. The young women (ages 12–25) receive counseling as well as social and spiritual support by Christian women who work together towards rehabilitating the women in need. Through the help of volunteer experts, the young women are taught skills such as sewing and cloth-making. Sharing the Gospel through these training programs allows LHM to educate them in a practical skill that helps them provide for their families while learning more about the ways God loves and cares for them.

Fadimatou* — a 15-year-old, jobless, mother — dropped out of school at an early age and was forced into marriage with an older man. After giving birth, she faced hardship and abuse from him. She heard about LHM’s teen mother program through an ad on the radio and registered for their sewing program. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she has started attending morning devotions, despite the fear and risk of facing rejection from her Muslim family. She now faces the challenge of restoring her freedom and dignity, while looking forward to a total transformation of her life and hope in Jesus. 

LHM’s Reaching Rahab program in Kenya also provides Christ-centered and holistic outreach ministry for urban young women, rescuing them from lives on the streets or in prison. The program rehabilitates them through counseling and vocational training, disrupting the cycle of poverty and prostitution, and teaches the women income-producing trades that can provide economic independence. 

“These programs are truly transformative, with women graduating with a marketable skill, empowered to change their lives. They gain lifelong benefit from the fellowship they share with other students and the confidence in knowing that God has provided this care and training for them,” says Eric Gates, LHM’s Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East. 

Women as young as 17, along with their infants or young children, often spend months in prison, as they await trial for petty crimes like selling wares without a license. While incarcerated, LHM-Kenya, in collaboration with prison chaplains, reaches them through in-prison ministries. The Gospel is shared with them, and many are received into the program upon their release from prison. Through LHM’s Reaching Rahab program, young mothers learn a skill, such as soap-making or hairdressing, that they can use to provide for their families. And, through counseling and Bible studies, they understand that God never abandons them, even in extremely difficult times. 

LHM is grateful to the LWML for this mission grant. Thank you for helping us reach more young women and connecting them to faith in Jesus Christ as well as equip them in skills through practical training programs.

*Name changed to protect her identity

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This story was originally featured in the Summer 2020 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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Serving the Lord in Hong Kong

Mission Grant #12 “Women’s Witness and Mercy, Asia — Mission Central”
$100,000 PAID IN FULL

My dear Friends,

I pray for all of you in the midst of the difficult situations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic is closing down borders, countries, provinces, cities, flights, and plans.  The Bible verse that comes to my mind again and again is, “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

And yes, because of the disruption, I have had to postpone my trip to the USA for home service. Originally I was going to be traveling from April through June, with 13 flights, so that I could visit people in five different states. I am fine, but instead of seeing you in person at this time, here I am still in Hong Kong, and especially missing you.  

At first I was thinking, “It is so sad, so sad, so sad that I won’t be able to see you, my dear brothers and sisters in the USA. I wanted to be able to share with you in person about some of the work of the Lord in Hong Kong. Then I thought of God’s Word in Romans 8:28, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” I am keeping in mind that God is in control of everything, and that He can bring good things out of even the most difficult situations. Here in Hong Kong we do see Him doing great things in the midst of it all by giving lots of opportunities for witnessing.

The Lutheran Church Hong Kong Synod has 36 vibrant churches and 7 expanding mission stations. One of them, Abundant Life Lutheran Mission Station, is located near the border of China in an area called Fanling. Since people are always needing face masks in Hong Kong, some of the ladies in this mission station are sewing them, under the leadership of the full-time church worker, Ann Lam. So far they made over 1,000 face masks to give out on the streets. Each week they spend a morning getting together bottles of hand sanitizer and putting them in packages with the face masks and most important of all—a variety of Gospel tracts. In the afternoon they go out on the streets and distribute the packages. Whenever they go out many people line up to receive these special gifts. In this way they have many opportunities to share the Word of God with people, some who have never heard about Jesus before.

Hong Kong has more than 7 1/2 million people and is one of the most densely populated cities of the world. We are thankful to God that here we have only had 1,048 cases of COVID-19 and only 4 deaths. People in Hong Kong had the experience of being a SARS pandemic epicenter back in 2003. So as soon as there was news of the new virus, most people here immediately took action. This included wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Now that we have not had a locally transmitted case of COVID-19 for over two weeks days, we feel a bit more free to be out on the streets witnessing. Below you see another group of Christians who go out to the streets with a microphone and large banner to proclaim the Gospel. They also give many masks to the people they meet. Many of the recipients were happy to hear in depth about the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Churches in Asia which have never done much at all online, have now learned how to use a variety of ways to proclaim the Gospel. That makes it so that the Gospel is going forth not just to their own members, but to the WHOLE WORLD. One pastor I know has devotions every morning for his parishioners online. When one morning he was not able to do this, many members of his congregation called him up and asked him what happened. They are thirsting for the Word of God and want to hear it every day. This pastor, as many others, plans to continue these daily devotions and other worship services online even after the churches can again hold their regular worship services.  

We do praise God for what He is doing around the world to bring more and more people to come to know Him and His love in Christ Jesus our Lord. May He continue to help us to be more and more creative in bringing the good news to others online and in person.

With you in Christ,
Carol
Deaconess Carol Lee Halter

 

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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Snapshots of Mission Life in Japan

Mission Grant #12 “Women’s Witness and Mercy, Asia — Mission Central”
$100,000 PAID IN FULL

What is Urawa Lutheran School putting in the mailbox of each of its 760 students at the beginning of this new academic year? Where has the strict "No Mask Zone" been relaxed to allow for this facial accessory? Is it true that a subway station has been installed in the school basement? What is one of the ways the Bible is used in the English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) classes? For the answers to these questions, read the latest newsletter here from the Going Family serving in Japan.

Going Forth — Going Family Newsletter, April 2020

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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What Witness and Mercy Looks Like in Cambodia

Mission Grant #12 “Women’s Witness and Mercy, Asia – Mission Central” $100,000 PAID IN FULL!

I heard some time ago from our friend and partner in the Gospel, Gary Thies of Mission Central, about the generous gift that was made by the LWML to ten missionary women in Asia — including me. I have wanted to write to you both to share how deeply thankful I am for that gift, and then the world started to change rapidly!  

My family and I are in our second year of service to the church in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Before serving here, we lived in Hanoi, Vietnam, for over 10 years until we were given two weeks’ notice to leave because my husband was caught teaching local pastors by the police. With three children (one of them just 10 months old at the time), we packed up and said good-bye to 10 years of life and ministry in just a few weeks.  

Once again, we find ourselves in a strange position. We have decided to stay and serve the church in Cambodia during an epidemic. We know that food choices may become limited, water and electricity shortage is common, and medical care is severely lacking. We choose to stay because God calls us to be salt and light in this world, not only when it's easy or comfortable. We know that He is faithful because we have lived through the loss and pain of leaving our home of 10 years. And still, He brought us out of that time of mourning and gave us a new calling. We take comfort in remembering that we have been made new through Baptism and that God equips us with His Spirit for everything He has called us to do. To learn more about our family or subscribe to our newsletters go to https://missioncentral.us/cima/.

We are so thankful for the faithful women of the church, who continue to remember its missionaries in prayer and with financial support. We pray for you all, too! During this time of isolation and loss of work, many people are struggling. I pray that God would continue to equip you as you live as salt and light in the world and among those whom you serve.  

Sincerely, Aimee Cima
LCMS Missionary in Asia

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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From the Mission Field of Seoul and East Asia

Mission Grant #12 “Women’s Witness and Mercy, Asia – Mission Central” $100,000 PAID IN FULL!    www.lwml.org/2019-2021-mission-grant-12

Hello and greetings from the mission field of Seoul and East Asia to the mission field of the U.S. and beyond!  

First of all, allow my family to sincerely thank you and all of the incredible women involved in LWML for your wonderfully generous donation towards the support of our ministry as LCMS missionaries in this part of the world. You all have overwhelmed us with your most gracious gift. As you are likely aware, we are responsible for 100% of our fundraising, and your expression of love and care is most sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

We know that we could not be here without our partnership in the Gospel. We thank you sincerely.  

May Christ, our Paschal Lamb, bless you with His peace and the assuredness of His love for you all. And may He keep you in His protective care in these days.  

The Wasmund Family
Matt, Dee Dee, Lily, and Olivia
LCMS missionaries in East Asia

For more information about our family and mission newsletters go to https://missioncentral.us/wasmund/.


For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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God’s Perfect Timing

Mission Grant #20 Music Outreach, Classes, and Resources on the Border — Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care, El Paso, Texas


Pastor Stephen Heimer writes,

“The grant and its timing have been a Godsend. We received it in early February and began talking to builders about the classroom building renovation possibilities. That is, of course, on hold during this pandemic. However, we started purchasing equipment for our online classes and recording/live-streaming plans.”

“When stay-home orders were issued in El Paso, we already had the equipment needed to be able to share our worship services online and also begin to share other online devotions, hymns, and music classes. This was one aspect of our outreach objectives in the grant and it turned out to be crucial to what our community needs right now.”


Pastor Stephen Heimer
Ysleta Lutheran Mission
 

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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Restoring Hope in Detroit

2019–2021 Mission Grant: Restoring Hope for Detroit Children and Families Camp Restore Detroit, $100,000

Restoring Hope in Detroit

By Bethany Mrosko, Director of Christian Outreach Intern, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church & Camp Restore Detroit, with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

Look at the picture of this house; what do you see? Abandonment? Hopelessness? What about hopes? Dreams? Because the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League blessed Camp Restore Detroit (CRD) with a grant this last summer, they were able to purchase and make plans to renovate this house to make it part of CRD campus. This house will become an outreach center focused on children, while another nearby house will become an adult outreach center.

CRD’s mission is to demonstrate Christian hope while restoring the Detroit community. Groups of all ages from across the country serve on the campus. Volunteer groups are housed and fed at Mt. Calvary Lutheran, Detroit, and given service projects in the community. Everything CRD does is in partnership with members of the community. This campus expansion, as well as the services to be offered, will help CRD empower and encourage those who remained through the worst times of Detroit, working hard to restore the beloved city.

Historically, CRD has focused work and ministry on three specific areas: First, these houses clearly need a lot of construction work! The insides are completely demolished, with only subfloor and studs remaining. Restoring the space happens anyway they can dream up! The plans for the children’s outreach house are to create a large classroom space to use for music, art classes, and tutoring, a small lounge space, a handicap accessible bathroom, and a kitchenette. The second floor will house CRD offices. Hopes for the winter were to receive funds for a new roof and, possibly, begin construction inside.

The second focus is environmental care of the neighborhood. The area around CRD is less than 25% populated. Most of the land and houses are abandoned and unkempt. With the help of the community,

CRD is slowly working to bring beauty back to the neighborhood by caring for these abandoned lots. The house pictured was once one of those abandoned houses. Campers cleared the yard, cut down trees, and built new front steps, kicking off the beautification of this property.

Finally, and most importantly, CRD’s ministry of human care will be nourished with these Outreach Houses. Everything they do is centered on relationships: with the community, with campers, and with our Savior Jesus. The Outreach Houses provide an amazing opportunity to build more relationships, allowing CRD to share God’s love through words and service. Knowing that, even if every house in the neighborhood is restored, the only hope that will truly last is the saving hope in Jesus.

CRD is excited to begin working on these outreach houses and continue dreaming about the programming which will be shared in order to spread God’s love with this community. They truly appreciate each member of the LWML who generously supports this project through mission grants and Mite Boxes! Right now, the house might look hopeless. However, our amazing God specializes in taking the hopeless and devastated and uses them to bring hope and restoration.

Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Spring 2020 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's

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