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Demonstrating the Compassion of Christ

Mission Grant #21 “LCMS Deaconess MinistryLCMS Office of International Mission” $39,523


Deaconess Ministry: Demonstrating the Compassion of Christ

By Deaconess Grace Rao with Mission Editor, Cheri Fish

The Greek root of the word deaconess (diakonia) means servant. Phoebe, named in Romans 16:1–2, was a helper to Paul and others. She often is considered the first deaconess.

“Two decades ago, I became a deaconess, and, over the years, people have asked me, “What is a deaconess?” Learning the answer to that question has changed my life in ways which I never imagined, and the Lord has blessed me with an understanding and knowledge to respond.

Thanks to the generosity of the LWML, the mission grant for the LCMS Deaconess Ministry program was awarded at their biennial convention in 2019. This mission grant provides educational and financial support to train women for this important ministry. It assists purchasing textbooks and provides resources for international students or students with financial restraints. It also helps fund deaconess internships in the United States and around the world.

The deaconess program is a rigorous one of theological studies and trainings that provide the foundation for the charitable life of those who serve on behalf of Christ and His church.

In the church today, deaconesses primarily serve in three settings: missions, both foreign and domestic; congregations; and institutions. These women guide others to the Word and Sacraments through:

• Demonstrating the compassion of Christ through acts of mercy.

• Teaching and witnessing the Christian faith, especially to women, youth and children.

• Assisting members in dealing with long-term crises such as disabilities, illness, unemployment, or poverty.

• Providing spiritual care for women with special needs, such as domestic violence, pregnancy, the loss of a child, or post-abortion grief.

• Administering the distribution of food and clothing to the poor. 

• Serving as administrators or teachers within Lutheran organizations.

• Collaborating with nurses (especially parish nurses) in caring for the sick.

• Creating awareness in the congregation of the human care needs in both the church and the community.

A deaconess serves in a unique and complementary fashion with the pastor. Her service is guided by his ministry and leadership. She works alongside the pastor, assisting him to do those things that he alone is called to do in the Office of the Ministry. Together, their service extends the church’s reach into the lives of God’s people.

By God’s grace, the church can accomplish great things for those in need, especially those in need of the good news of forgiveness, life, and salvation in Christ our Lord. The LCMS Deaconess Ministry is blessed to be in partnership with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League as we minister together to serve God and His people with gladness.

Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Winter 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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Christ for You, Anytime, Anywhere

Mission Grant #17 “Christ for You, Anytime, Anywhere — KFUO Radio” $60,000 fully funded

LWML President Debbie Larson (in Colorado) is “handing” the check to KFUO’s Andy Bates and Sarah Gulseth, hosts of “The Coffee Hour” (in St. Louis).

KFUO Radio is expanding its Gospel Outreach Ministry with the help of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML). 

At the LWML 2019 Convention in Mobile, Alabama, KFUO Radio was awarded a mission grant of $60,000 for the purpose of improving its current equipment and acquiring the latest technology to help increase their listenership, bringing the Gospel to even more people around the world. This grant was distributed to KFUO in the fall of 2020. 

KFUO Radio broadcasts a variety of Christ-centered programing including Bible studies, daily devotions, sacred music, apologetics, and more. “Our Sunday Morning Worship Service is especially popular simply because it’s a way for the home-bound to join in worship,” states Gary Duncan, Executive Director of KFUO. “The listenership for all of KFUO’s programs has increased greatly since COVID-19 began. People want to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, now more than ever.”

Currently, KFUO is working on several technology improvements and upgrades to help expand their Gospel broadcasting. Some of these efforts include bringing back the KFUO app for android phone users and adding KFUO to the Connected Car Radio. Another exciting effort being made by KFUO is adding Smart Features to Alexa and Amazon Echo devices. The Smart Feature would enable listeners to ask questions while listening to a live program, and those questions would be received by the on-air staff, allowing them to give real-time on-air answers. 

KFUO Radio greatly appreciates the support and encouragement of the LWML as we partner together in sharing the Gospel! 

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

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Teach Me Too: Preschoolers with Learning Needs

Mission Grant #2 “Teach Me Too: Preschoolers with Learning Needs in Austin — Lutheran Special Education Ministries” $100,000 fully funded

Led by the Spirit, you gave, and the grant money for Lutheran Special Education Ministries (LSEM) Teach Me Too: Preschoolers with Learning Needs has already funded a special education program at a preschool in Florida and provided scholarships to families with autistic children at Let It Shine Academy in Texas.

With the help of the LWML, LSEM has developed a partnership with Trinity Lutheran School in Orlando, Florida, which maintains one of the largest preschools and childcare centers in the LCMS, serving over 500 children.

LSEM has used the mission grant funds to pay Trinity’s fees for an LSEM program that provides their young students with learning needs at no cost to them! This allows those children to remain at Trinity’s preschool and be educated within a Lutheran environment.

At Let It Shine Academy in Austin, Texas, grant funds have been used to provide workshops for parents of children who have autism and to support two families through scholarships. Inspired by the Spirit, they share the Word in their classrooms.

One of the families receiving scholarship support is a single mom who recently moved to Austin and works a night shift. Her son is diagnosed with autism and has only been at Let It Shine for a month, but he has been thriving in Mr. Leo’s classroom.

The other family receiving scholarship money has a father who is a firefighter and a mother who works at a lower paying job. At her previous school, their daughter with autism struggled severely as the staff were not trained to properly communicate with her. Since being at Let It Shine, she is progressing in all areas of development, and the staff is also able to educate and support the family as needed.

The mission grant from the LWML has been an incredible blessing. Without these funds, these children would not be receiving the help they need in a loving, Christian environment. Filled with the Spirit, they have hope!

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

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God's Grace for This Generation

Mission Grant #4 “God's Grace for This GenerationLAMP Ministry Inc.” $100,000 fully funded

Led by the Spirit, you gave, and your grant to LAMP Ministry Inc. for its cross-cultural ministry in remote areas of northern Canada has been hard at work. Here are a few examples illustrating how the love of Jesus is shared in the North.

Inspired by the Spirit, Roger and Pam Heiden have been serving with LAMP for 18 years. When they recently arrived in South Indian Lake, they were told a young mother had miscarried and asked Pam to share Scripture readings and prayer at the baby’s funeral. Pam writes, “We prayed that God would give me the words to share at this tragic time. Having taught this young mother in Vacation Bible School, now I was asked to give her peace at the loss of her child. It is such a privilege to share God’s love and hope with our family at South Indian Lake.”

David Schneeberger recently wrote: “On our sixth winter trip to the community of Shamattawa, we were able to get into ten classrooms to tell the Easter story, sing songs, hand out Easter storybooks, cross necklaces, bookmarks, and knitted hats. We also held a social event for the school staff and administration.”  

Filled with the Spirit, those in the remote Ontario communities hear God’s precious Word and believe! LAMP’s staff and volunteer missionaries truly appreciate the prayers and financial support of LWML donors generously given to impact lives with the love of Christ.

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

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Women’s Witness and Mercy in Asia

Mission Grant #12 “Women's Witness and Mercy Asia — Mission Central” $100,000 fully funded

Women’s Witness and Mercy in Asia

By Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

The harvest field in Asia is ripe! Women in Mission are working in that harvest field, and our God is providing amazing results through their hands and feet. Asia has 38 missionaries, ten of who are women — truly Lutheran Women in Mission.

Through the mission grant chosen at the LWML convention in Mobile last summer, LWML is fulfilling our mission statement to assist and enable every woman of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to use her gifts in ministry to the people of the world. The women active in missionary work in Asia are ready and willing to give a reason for the hope they have (1 Peter 3:15). There are hungry souls lining up to receive hope and truth in Christ. These women who minister with their talents, include nurses, managers, teachers, coordinators, and deaconesses.

When support comes in for missionaries, it is generally allocated for one or more of the following: transportation to the mission, transportation while in the country, insurance coverage, housing expenses, computers, office expenses, supplies and materials, and language training prior to leaving for the field. This grant supports the women while in their unique Asian mission, helps to keep them there, or helps to get them there.

In Asian culture, the desire for education is strong. The majority of the region is Communist, and many people belong to dominant religions there: Buddhism, Muslim, Hinduism. The work of LCMS missionaries entails bringing the love of Jesus Christ to the region through education opportunities. Here are highlights of the work being done by some of the missionaries in Asia.

Matt and Dee Wasmund, with their daughters, Lily and Olivia, live in Seoul, South Korea where Matt serves as the LCMS Strategic Volunteer Coordinator for East Asia. Matt connects with the individuals serving as GEO (Globally Engaged in Outreach) missionaries in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand in order to support ministries that touch the lives of hundreds of students of all ages. He engages with church and school leaders at these various sites, seeking effective ways to serve together for the sake of the Gospel.

Rev. Charles and Cheryl Ferry serve the Lord through the LCMS throughout Asia and are based in Chiayi, Taiwan. As the Asia Regional Director, Charles is responsible for LCMS work, personnel, and relationships in 10 countries. He unites local church leaders and LCMS blessings to strengthen partner churches through theological education, translation, and mercy projects. In addition, Charles provides Word and Sacrament ministry and pastoral care to geographically separated Lutherans.

David and Barbara Bush serve the Lord as missionaries in Hong Kong and Macau. David teaches American Sign Language and English at the Lutheran School for the Deaf in Hong Kong. For his classes, he writes his own curriculum and uses the Bible as one of his textbooks. Through his interactions with his students, David helps raise up leaders in the Deaf community and in the Deaf church. In addition to his work in Hong Kong, David also guides and assists the Macau Lutheran Deaf Outreach and provides religious instruction at the Concordia School of Special Education in Macau.

God is working in the lives of these missionaries as they share the Gospel message with the people of Asia. Thank you, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, for the role you play in being the conduit to support the mission work God has asked us to do.

Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Fall 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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Hope and Healing Hub of Downtown Lincoln

Mission Grant #14 “Hope and Healing Hub of Downtown Lincoln — University Lutheran Chapel, Lincoln, Nebraska” $50,000 Paid in Full

COVID-19 interrupted the work at the University Lutheran Chapel on the University Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) campus. However, they look forward to continued partnerships between GracePoint Institute for Relational Health; Concordia University, Nebraska; the University Lutheran Chapel; and the LCMS Nebraska District when on-campus classes resume. 

As the Holy Spirit led LWML members to generously and faithfully provide their prayers and financial donations, so He will lead those participating in the ministry at the University Lutheran Chapel.

The renovated Chapel is now home to a counseling center, Concordia’s graduate courses, a worship center, fellowship spaces, and a place to develop connections with the community and university students. It is quickly becoming a hub for hope and healing for students from all over the world.

First-time visitors describe the renovated space as bright, inviting, and elegant. Alumni and students who remember the old space are often speechless. The new worship space is vibrant and welcoming, and the free lunches that will be held after the worship service each Sunday will help students build friendships and begin to feel like family. Volunteer groups who provide these lunches appreciate the new kitchen on the main floor. Students coming to the weekday Bible studies can now easily find the entrances and meeting areas, and enjoy lingering after-events in the more welcoming spaces for fellowship. 

Last year, several students received care and counseling from GracePoint professionals in the areas of anxiety, addiction, and social and academic struggles. It is clear that God will continue to use this unique partnership to extend His Kingdom and bless students in the name of Christ.

The space has also been used for an LWML zone rally, church staff retreats, Concordia retreats, campus prayer meetings, and the monthly meeting of all campus pastors at UNL. It's extremely rewarding to see people of all backgrounds flow in and out and know that they are receiving Jesus through this space. 

The renovation project has already had an impact on international student ministry. Before the renovation, they would often just stand outside and call the director of International Student Ministry to have him come outside to meet them as they were unsure of where to go. The addition of several windows and more visible entryways help students feel much more comfortable as they are entering the building. 

Thank you for your generosity in making this space a reality.

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

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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

Download or print the story.

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.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's


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