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Healing the Invisible Wounds of War through Horses
2021–2023 Mission Grant 2 — $95,000
Equine Therapists and their handlers. From left to right, Emma, Judy Cross Strehlke, Program Manager, Coal, Fancy and Sue Osgood, Volunteer. Mt. Katahdin is barely visible in the background.
Maine is among the list of “least churched” states in the nation. It has only three LCMS churches in the entire state and has only five Veteran Administration Chaplains. Deaconess Kim Slininger was called to Hope Lutheran Church to reach out to the extensive veteran and military community in the Bangor area. Deaconess Kim is herself a disabled veteran, and the Spirit Warrior program is an extension of her ministry. Spirit Warrior is a program that addresses the need to provide pastoral/diaconal care using horses, to those who have stood in the face of evil and have returned. Current traditional therapy does not address the care of the spirit. Many veterans/service members want to connect with God and theological discussions take place while caring for the horses. This grant will provide funding for 58 veterans to go through the program.
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch's Deaconess Kelly Bristow making the Bible come alive for children during an outdoor chapel service on the Ranch's Minot Campus.
Matthew 25:40 assures us that whenever we serve the “least of these brothers and sisters” of Christ, we are serving the Lord. The healing ministry of the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch creates an eternal, life-giving impact in the lives of children age 10–18 who face unimaginable abuse, neglect, and trauma — truly “the least of these.”
This is especially true for female children who have been victimized by male figures, resulting in trust-related issues that are hopelessly difficult for a child to bridge. The specialized ministry of a deaconess bridges this gap with the transformational care of Christ, helping both young girls and boys.
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Students in Philippines with resources purchased by LWML
LCMS Deaconesses are women who are full time professional church workers, trained to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a ministry of works of mercy, spiritual care, and teaching the Christian faith. The LCMS Deaconess Ministry program will provide LCMS students the opportunity to become a church professional, learning and training to understand the diaconal leadership, the work of deaconesses as applied to body and soul ministry. This grant will provide educational and financial support to our partner churches who introduced deaconess training programs within their church bodies like the Philippines, Latvia, Liberia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India.