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April 2020

Mission Service Activity of the Month

April 2020: Activities as We Stay-at-Home

Write and send notes of encouragement to church members and your church staff. As Holy Week and Easter approach, you may want to use the coloring notecards at www.lwml.org/coloring-resources. This is also a good time to include some Mustard Seed Devotions in your correspondence if you have a stash at home! Postage can be purchased online at www.usps.com.

If you normally purchase an Easter lily for your church’s chancel, consider having one delivered to a friend or family member from a local store making deliveries.

Take time to call a neighbor, friend, or family member and share words of encouragement. This connection means so much especially for those who live on their own or have family members who are essential workers.

Check with local nursing homes to see if they can use handmade fabric masks for their staff to wear as a measure of protection for the residents they serve. While we realize that the fabric masks are not surgical/medical grade and cannot be used as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for health care workers, perhaps there are people in care facilities who can use them. Here are two patterns: Fabric Masks with Elastic and Fabric Masks with Fabric Ties.

 


The Gospel Outreach (GO) Committee would love to hear about and share your mission servant activities! Please contact us at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

Mission Service Calendar

Here are two year's worth of simple mission service activities, laid out in one document per year for ease of use. Print and display the calendar of activities, and mark them off as you do them.

Year 1 — Sharing Jesus' Love Through Action — A Year's Worth of Mission Service Activities originally published for 2018

Year 2 — Sharing Jesus' Love Through Action — A Year's Worth of Mission Service Activities originally published for 2019

View more Mission Service Activities

January 2020

Mission Service Activity of the Month

January 2020: Shower a special assistance organization with post-holiday care!

There’s not a more joyous celebration than a shower; whether a wedding, baby, or a card shower for the homebound. Add a little CHRIST into your mid-winter group meeting by including an ingathering (showering) of items for a special assistance organization in your area.

Contact an organization that provides resources and assistance to those in a special ministry area. Ask what needs were not met during the holiday season and then help them provide those needs.

Types of organizations you could contact:

  • Homeless shelter
  • Pro-life pregnancy center
  • Substance abuse assistance center
  • Domestic abuse assistance center
  • Prison ministry
  • Children’s home

Gospel focus:

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 4:8-11a).

Prayer as you plan and prepare:

Dear God, Almighty Father, we just finished the grateful and giving seasons, but there is still so much need in our community. Guide us to be Your hands and feet as we strive to continue, in this new year, to bring Your Good News to those in need. Focus our attention on the blessings You have bestowed so generously upon us. Help us share those blessings with those who are in need. Let each recipient of our care see the love of Jesus in our actions. Amen.

 

The Gospel Outreach (GO) Committee would love to hear about and share your mission servant activities! Please contact us at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

View past Mission Service Activities

October 2019

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Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; (Psalm 59:1).

We pray we’ll never need them but, when we do, we rejoice and praise God for them! From a police officer responding to a minor auto accident to an EMT applying CPR to firefighters running into a burning building — they are all heroes to us. Let’s not forget some of the more specialized emergency response personnel like wildland firefighters (working within the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, or state agencies); mine rescue crews; and K-9 units. And, then there are the families of all of these heroes — families who carry on when their loved ones are caring for others.

So, when we’re praying that we don’t need them, we need to also pray for the first responders and their families. Every time you pass a police station or fire house, pray for them. Every time you see an emergency vehicle racing to a rescue, pray for them and those who are in need of them.

We can develop good habits that lessen the chance of an emergency responder being in harm’s way. Here are just a few simple things that might prevent you from needing them:

  • Drive the speed limit and drive defensively.
  • Put that phone down (it’s illegal in most states to be holding your phone while driving).
  • Yield to emergency vehicles (pull over) and move over or slow down when passing a stopped emergency vehicle.
  • Wear safety gear (helmet, bright clothing, etc.) when riding a motorcycle or bicycle.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of health-related emergencies.
  • Check in on the elderly frequently and make sure they have a medical alert system.
  • Be aware of your environment and surroundings at all times. Look for things that look suspicious.
  • Watch the weather and dress appropriately. Remember to stay hydrated at all times.
  • Always let others know where you are going. Check in with them regularly.

October is fire safety month and this is a good time to ensure that we protect ourselves, our neighbors and our first responders from the risk of fires. Check your smoke alarm batteries and make sure your fire extinguishers are in working condition. Then do the same for the shut-ins and elderly people you know. Distribute smoke detectors to those who can’t afford them using a Thrivent Grant.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen (2 Timothy 4:18).

Mercy in Action:

There are several ways to show your appreciation for all that these heroes do for us and our communities. Always check with the local agency to learn what their policies are before implementing any of the suggestions below.

  • If a congregation has a meal (especially sandwiches or desserts), offer to bring the extras to the police station.
  • Coordinate with other churches in the vicinity to do a monthly delivery of bottled water to the nearest fire station.
  • Hold a stuffed animal drive and deliver them to emergency services so they can be provided as a comfort when a child (or one of the child’s parents) is involved in an emergency.
  • Organize a “First Responder Appreciation Picnic” and invite families from the nearest police and fire stations to attend.
  • Invite the local K-9 officers, including the 4-legged ones, to put on a demonstration at your church. This is a wonderful way to teach children to appreciate what the police do.
  • Once per quarter have Sunday school classes draw pictures and write thank-you notes to first responders – rotate among police, fire, EMS, etc.
  • Prepare care kits using the LWML Toolkit for First Responders.
  • Find out how your congregation can support the families of fallen heroes.
  • Never pass up an opportunity to say “thank you” to any first responder you encounter.
  • Make a personal commitment to serve the heroes who serve you by volunteering to organize and lead a Bible study at a local police or fire station.
  • Contact local police and fire department chaplains to find other ways to serve.

Additional Resources:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear God,
Thank You so very much for the people who daily risk all they have for us. They are a precious gift from You. Please help us to be aware of their needs and conscious of their suffering. Guide us through the Holy Spirit by providing ideas and inspiration for how to best serve them. And, dear Father, please help us to be sensitive to the needs of their loved ones, especially those who are dealing with tragic loss. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:30–31).

Don’t forget — October is also Pastor Appreciation Month!

Check out the previously published mission servant activity here. And, for additional ideas, see what’s in the Pastor Support Toolkit.

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

September 2019

nullPhotos by LCMS, used with permission


As Women in Mission, we have been actively involved in supporting missions around the world with our mites for over 75 years. Some of us have been on mission trips. We may also know missionaries that serve people in various countries around the world. The question is, how can we, as Lutheran Women in Mission, care for our missionaries? Let’s learn more about mission, outreach, and missionaries.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

Mission and outreach in The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) began in 1851 and has expanded to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus all around the world in the language of the people they serve. Today, the LCMS trains, sends and supports called and appointed career, long-term and short-term missionaries in various countries around the world and in the United States where there are mission stations, partner churches, schools or mission relationships.

As the Holy Spirit begins to gather people into Christian fellowship, missionaries assist these new Christians in forming their own indigenous church leaders.

LCMS missionary teams are made up of people who focus on planting churches, leadership formation or some type of locally initiated holistic services in areas of health, agriculture, community development, English-as-a-Foreign-Language classes or partner support activities.

Missionaries. What Do Missionaries Do? The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod website.
Retrieved July 19, 2019 from <https://www.lcms.org/missionaries> 


And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me" (Isaiah 6:8).

So what can we do to care for our missionaries around the world? The Office of International Mission (OIM) website is dedicated to connecting you to missionaries through stories, photographs, videos and podcasts. It provides helpful information about the work, quick facts about the area, leadership, resources and events in each region of the world. Updates are given frequently on LCMS missionaries, their projects, missionary partners and the people they serve.

  • Stay informed
  • Pray for our missionaries around the world as they reach out with God’s love and mercy and the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Use these bulletin inserts and prayer cards.
     
  • Get Involved
    • Support Missionary Care by inviting a missionary to speak at your church, adopt a missionary, project, or mercy work.
    • Together in Mission is a network of congregations committed to funding our missionaries.
    • Mission Senders is a network of families and individuals committed to funding our missionaries.
    • Mission Central is a team of professionals working closely with the LCMS International and National mission to help you personally support missionaries.
    • Care for a Missionary using the LWML Gospel Outreach Missionary Care Package and guidelines for Skype pamphlets. Discover how to select a missionary and then experience the fun and joy of supporting and praying for specific needs of that missionary. They would love to have you as partners!
       
  • Share Jesus with the World. Your generosity today makes possible your Synod’s witness and mercy efforts both at home and abroad. Give now.

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many (2 Corinthians 1:11).

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Heavenly Father,
We praise and thank You Lord for those who have dedicated their lives to the mission of reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus around the world. Thank You for all the spiritual gifts that You have bestowed upon our missionaries, that through His Word, the Holy Spirit will make His Name known to those who sit in darkness. Help us to remember to support and care for our missionaries with our prayers and our gifts, whatever they may be. Make us conscious of the obstacles that affect our missionaries and their families so that we can aid them and share what we have with them; our time, talents and treasures. Help us to share the good news of what our missionaries are doing, with others, so they too may join in caring for them. We ask now that You guard and protect our missionaries from all harm and danger and that You provide ways for them to receive the support and encouragement they need to carry out Your great commission. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ
(Colossians 4:2–3).

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

August 2019

teacher and student working together

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

Language can be a barrier for both “native speakers” as well as immigrants. Communication is difficult or even impossible when someone is illiterate or an immigrant in a new country. Both of these situations can be a barrier to sharing the Gospel message. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to participate in breaking down these communication barriers. Literacy programs and Bible translation are just a few ways that can make a difference. Following are some resources that you may find useful.

  • Concordia Publishing House provides dozens of Spanish language resources, including Bibles, devotions, and children’s books.
  • Lutheran Hour Ministries is known for broadcasting The Lutheran Hour® since 1930. A Spanish language broadcast was added in 1940. LHM also produces many Spanish language resources and has ministries around the globe.
  • Lutheran Heritage Foundation is a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS and gives books of the Lutheran faith to people around the world in their own languages. Their publication library consists of over 1,029 publications by 193 authors in 106 languages.
  • Faith Comes by Hearing furnishes Bible recordings in over 1,000 languages in a variety of formats. Providing an English-language audio Bible to an illiterate person in the USA is as important as providing the Bible in other languages around the globe.
  • Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services was founded in 1939 by Lutheran churches in the United States to serve uprooted people during World War II. LIRS has since grown into an internationally recognized leader known for innovative services for refugees, asylum-seekers, unaccompanied migrant children and families, migrants in detention, and other vulnerable populations.

Mercy in Action:

There are multiple avenues for addressing language barriers in your own community. Consider the categories below and the actions you can take.

  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
    • Contact local government officials to find out whether there is a community of non-English speakers – perhaps migrant workers or new immigrants. You may also check with local schools to see if there are non-English speaking children enrolled.
    • Research some of the resources listed here to see if they are active in your community. If so, invite them to speak to your congregation or local LWML group.
    • Find out if local resources will accept Christian materials such as Bibles (either print or audio) or children’s books. If they do, organize a fundraiser and purchase materials for an organization.
    • Based on your research, you may choose to reach out in a variety of ways such as tutoring children after school or volunteering with an ESL program for adults.
    • Look for opportunities to support a struggling family through your LWML group or congregations. How would you help this struggling family: could you offer ESL classes in your congregation, read to the children, offer to babysit so parents could attend ESL classes or offer a ride to the family to attend ESL classes? 
       
  • Addressing Adult Illiteracy
    • The steps here would be very much the same as above. However, it may be more difficult to find illiterate adults since many hide their inability to read and are ashamed to seek help. Work with local literacy programs to see how you can help.
    • If you know someone who struggles with reading, be sure to reach out to them. Perhaps you could offer to go with them to a tutoring session or to help them practice between sessions.
    • For inspiration read this story from the “I Love to Tell the Story” series entitled Opportunities to Share God's Love With Others.
    • It is all about the relationship between an English tutor and an adult student!
       
  • Preventing Illiteracy
    • According to ProLiteracy, the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates that children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. Addressing adult literacy is the place to begin to improve literacy for the next generation.
    • For a practical way to reach out to children with reading problems, contact your local school system to see if there is an established “reading buddies” program. This type of program pairs an adult with a student. They meet weekly to read together. The goal is to have 90% of children reading at grade level by the third grade. Your LWML group could participate by volunteering as individuals and by furnishing books to an “adopted” school.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? (Acts 2:5-8).

Additional Resources:

  • Friends of New Americans is an RSO of the LCMS and is an outreach ministry to immigrants and refugees in the greater St. Louis area.
  • The National Literacy Directory has helped connect more than 50,000 potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers since 2010. In addition to several other services, it provides listings for family literacy and English language classes.
  • ProLiteracy the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the nation, believes that a safer, stronger, and more sustainable society starts with an educated adult population. For more than 60 years, ProLiteracy has been working across the globe to change lives and communities through the power of literacy.
  • Literacy Evangelism International provides training in teaching literacy skills as a means to share the message of Jesus Christ.

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience (Luke 8:15).

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We praise and thank you for the gifts of speech, hearing and language. Oh how we want to use those gifts to share the wonderful Good News of your gift to us. We desperately want all people to know about your grace and mercy through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Father, please help us to be mindful of those who are behind the barriers of illiteracy or unfamiliar language. We pray that your Holy Spirit will spur us to action and lead us to opportunities to help our sisters and brothers who cannot yet read your precious Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’” (Matthew 21:42).

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

July 2019

depressed young woman

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling (Psalm 46:1–3).

You may know of someone or have loved ones that are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or even self-destructive behaviors. Sadly, the addicted are not the only victims of their behavior. Oftentimes entire families are adversely affected. The suffering can be multiplied many times over. Our first thoughts are of total helplessness – what can we possibly do to help? Fortunately there are many organizations and resources to aid both the addict and their loved ones. By educating yourself you may be able to provide much-needed direction. And, by lifting these hurting souls up in prayer you are doing the best possible thing.

Following are some resources that provide treatment and counseling for addicts as well as support for their loved ones.

Addiction Support Groups:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
     
  • Al-Anon and Alateen provide help and hope for families and friends of alcoholics. Groups are located in cities across the globe. Meetings take place in person, on the phone and online, making it convenient and accessible for just about anyone. Individuals affected by alcoholism, whether it be related to a parent, sibling, close relative or friend, are welcome to take part in Al-Anon group meetings. While some Al-Anon members have loved ones who are currently in treatment, others attend meetings to get advice on how to live with someone who has yet to seek help.
     
  • Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind. Many of the addiction issues that Celebrate Recovery deals with include alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction, sexual addiction and food addiction. They also deal with eating disorders, love and relationship addiction, co-dependency, and anger to name a few.
     
  • Lutheran Social Services has local organizations in several cities around the country, many of which provide mental health services that include treatment for addiction. An example can be found at Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. You can do an internet search for “Lutheran Social Services” to find an organization in your area.

Helpful Articles:

Mercy in Action:

  • Familiarize yourself with the services available in your local area. Make a list of nearby A.A., Al-Anon or Celebrate Recovery programs.
     
  • Invite someone from a local substance abuse program to speak at your church. Ask them to particularly address how your congregation can aid those in the recovery process. You may also want to ask about inviting a recovering addict to come and speak. Also, if the program or facility has material needs, host a “shower” or supply drive.
     
  • Identify anyone in your congregation who may be affected by a loved one’s addiction. Ask what you can do to help. There might be financial strains or child care issues which the congregation can address. Just be sensitive about confidentiality concerns and always ask permission before involving others.
     
  • Consider hosting A.A. or Celebrate Recovery meetings at your church. If your church doesn’t have the resources to host meetings, perhaps you can reach out to an existing host church and offer assistance.
     
  • Engage in youth programs geared toward addiction prevention. Reference the NIH article above. Also search for youth mentoring programs in your area.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:28).

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4).

A Prayer as You Plan:

Heavenly Father we thank you for the many blessings you bestow on us and we thank you that our help comes from you. We pray for those in our lives who are addicted to drugs or alcohol that they would overcome these additions, that they would fix their eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith. And, dear Father, please use us as instruments of healing as we minister to our brothers and sisters. To you be the glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

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

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