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Sharing the Good News Thanks to the LWML

2017–2019 Mission Grant: Laborers of Love — Lutheran Braille Workers, $100,000

Sharing the Good News THANKS to the LWML

By Jay Zemke, President, Lutheran Braille Workers, with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

It sounds pretty significant, and it is! In 2017, Lutheran Braille Workers (LBW) received an incredibly generous grant from the LWML to develop braille plates and large print Bibles for the English Standard Version (ESV) translation.

This has been no small feat. The development and the integration of the ESV has required planning, hands-on labor, and a dedicated staff. The grant of $100,000 enabled LBW to transcribe and proofread the ESV Bible in braille and specialized large print as well as to offset the cost of the 2,287 zinc plates necessary for the production of the braille volumes.

LBW volunteers are working diligently to complete this massive undertaking. We have nearly 100,000 volumes already created! We have completed the New Testament and a few volumes of the Old Testament in braille. Zinc plates are being produced and shipped to the 33 Ministry Production Centers that specifically focus on producing the ESV Bible. The mission grant also helped open four new centers to focus on the creation of the ESV Bible!

The community being served are the blind and the visually impaired. Stunningly, an estimated 95 percent of the more than 253 million visually impaired people throughout the world are unchurched. LBW’s mission is to provide free access to the Good News of Jesus Christ as Savior.

Wonderful LBW volunteers print, assemble, bind, pack, and ship to individuals or organizations including: Spread the Word Ministry in Nigeria, and Logo Bible School for the Blind in India, and Love One Another Ministries in India. Every single volume continues to be distributed free of charge.

About Lutheran Braille Workers

LBW is a non-profit organization based in Yucaipa, California, that serves people who are blind or visually impaired throughout the United States and the world. LBW is the world’s largest non-profit producer of braille and specialized large print Bibles, as well as braille, large print, and audio Christian materials. In its 76 years of ministry, LBW has produced and distributed more than 14 million volumes of materials, all of which are provided for free to those who are blind or visually impaired.

LBW is still looking to increase the number of volunteers and Ministry Production Centers around this country. If you or someone you know have interest in supporting this ministry through volunteering, donations, or the formation of a new Ministry Production Center, please contact us directly. We still have more than 26,000 ESV braille and 21,000 large print requests to fulfill!

Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Winter 2019 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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Disaster Relief for Tropical Storm Imelda in Texas

2019 Convention Offering #4 LCMS Disaster Response/Community Relief

$35,419.08 as of 9/26/19
 

Below is a thank you to LWML from LCMS Texas District President Rev. Michael Newman for funds for relief efforts after tropical storm Imelda caused damages in the Winne, Hampshire, and Beaumont communities in Texas. These funds were raised during the 2019 LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama for convention offering #4: LCMS Disaster Response/Community Relief. Video created by Rev. Michael Myer.

2019 Disaster Response

2019 Convention Offering #4 LCMS Disaster Response/Community Relief

$35,419.08 as of 9/26/19
 

An update from LCMS Disaster Response on September 20, 2019:

Dear Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the Name of our Savior!

Thank you for the Disaster Response Grant from your convention offering. Its timeliness makes me believe the Lord has touched this gift.

Yesterday, Rev. Ross Johnson, Director of Disaster Response sent me this email.

I just got off the phone with President Newman, he called to let me know about the devastating effects that Tropical Storm Imelda is causing in the areas of Beaumont and Winne (the “golden triangle” area of Texas). So far they have received 28 inches of rain and they expect 10 more inches over the next 36 hours. The in the “golden triangle”  area of Texas the flooding is equal to or worse than the flooding after Hurricane Harvey. President Newman went out of his way to let me know that he is looking forward to our participation and partnership in this flood response.

Julie Tucker is still our funded/contracted disaster manager in the coastal area of Texas until January 31, 2020. President Newman has Julie overseeing this flood response work. Several church workers are underwater. Also Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Arthur is located in the “golden triangle” and they are one of our “disaster response hubs” they are funded until the end of January 2020. Multiple churches and LERT teams across Texas have contacted Julie Tucker and the District and they are on standby to help “muck out” these areas.

As you can see, the timing of your gift was extraordinary. We’re hoping to have a Communications team down in the area next week. Dr. Johnson is also going there to work out strategies with the District President. One story I’m hoping to hear more about is the rescue of an LCMS Pastor’s widow who was trapped by the floodwaters. I’m told it’s quite a tale, but I don’t know the details yet.

What a joy that I’ve been able to have so many meaningful interactions with our LWML officers. It has been a special blessing to be able to be at so many meaningful events with President Debbie. I look forward to more and richer experiences.

May the Lord continue to use you as avenues of His mercy and love!

In Christ,
Pastor Bob Zagore

Rev. Robert M Zagore
Executive Director, Office of National Mission
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Thank You LWML video

A thank you from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for LWML Mission Grants. Originally shown at the 2019 LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama.

Download the Thank You LWML video
  • Instructions to download: Click the above link and the download page will open in a new window. From there, click the “Download” button, then click “Direct download” in the pull-down menu that appears.

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Mercy Meals — Providing Food and the Gospel

2017–2019 Mission Grant: Providing Food and the Gospel to Starving Children — Mercy Meals of Siouxland, $40,000

Mercy Meals — Providing Food and the Gospel to Starving Children

By Larry Jones, Director, Mercy Meals of Siouxland, with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

Mercy Meals of Siouxland is a ministry of Faith Lutheran Church in Sioux City, Iowa. Community volunteers, in an assembly-line process, package fortified rice/soy meals that are shipped to hungry and starving children throughout the U.S. and the world.

Most of the packaging events are held in the parish hall at Faith Lutheran Church. Mercy Meals are packaged using a scientifically designed formula that meets the needs of malnourished children. Each bag contains six nutritious meals consisting of rice, soy, dried vegetables, and a vitamin-mineral powder. The bags are filled with the ingredients, weighed, and sealed.

All of the meals packaged by Mercy Meals of Siouxland are donated to Orphan Grain Train in Norfolk, Nebraska. Orphan Grain Train delivers the meals in the U.S. and worldwide at their cost. The meals are put into the hands of the children and families by a Christian organization so the children and their families hear about Jesus as well as receive nutritious food. In most cases, the meals are cooked by volunteers and served to the children.

Mercy Meals of Siouxland is one of 11 sites that package fortified rice/soy meals and donate them to Orphan Grain Train; other packaging sites are located in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

Orphan Grain Train delivered fortified rice/soy meals to the following locations in 2018: 71,280 to the Bread of Life Orphanage in Bucharest, Romania; 536,544 to Haiti; 189,450 to Liberia; 28,512 to Katanga, Congo; 634,092 to the Philippines; 20,088 to the Ysleta Lutheran Missions, El Paso, Texas; 71,280 to Puerto Rico; 141,480 to India; and 64,152 to Chongwe, Zambia.

One of the projects regularly receiving fortified meals is the Smokey Mountain Project, located in a garbage dump near Manilla, Philippines. Some of the people who live in the dump are 1,500 farm families whose land quit producing. The farmers moved their entire families into the dump and built their homes there. As garbage is brought into the dump, the families go out to rummage for items they can eat, use, or sell. Thankfully, Christian volunteers prepare fortified rice/soy meals and deliver them to the children in the compound. The children go through a feeding line to get their one nutritious meal a day. 

We want to express our gratitude to women of the LWML for awarding Mercy Meals of Siouxland an LWML Mission Grant at the 2017 LWML Convention in Albuquerque. Your generosity allows us to package and donate thousands of Mercy Meals to feed the bodies and souls of hungry children, including those in the Smokey Mountain Project. We are also blessed by LWML women who come to package meals as individuals and in groups, often times, bringing children, husbands, and friends with them. 

Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Summer 2019 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

Update from Sewing Center in Tanzania

2017–2019 Mission Grant #18: Tanzanian Sewing Center—Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT); $25,000; fully paid

An update from Tanzania: Sewing Project Graduation

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We are so glad that the girls have graduated with very good results. They now know how to sew different clothes for themselves and for their  children and parents. They have learned also the life skills. We are glad that we planned to train 50 girls and we trained 53.  We got 19 girls got challenges and they did not finish. We recruited 70 of them because of the great need.

One girl got a child at the center and other 4 were taught how to nurture their children.

We pray for LWML to grow. And we thank them for this great work. We need to contunue to help more girls this year and ahed.

Thank you.
Emmanuel

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The Tanzanian Sewing Center will be highlighted at the 2019 LWML Convention with a Mites in Action speaker and a special interest luncheon. Learn more about convention here.

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

Sharing the Gospel Through Life Issues

2017–2019 Mission Grant: Equipping Youth to Witness for Life — Y4Life, $25,000

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Y4Life — Sharing The Gospel Through Life Issues

By Laura Davis Hemminger, Director of Y4Life, Lutherans for Life, with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor
 

The decision of how to confront an unplanned pregnancy faces teens and young adults more than any other age group. Out of the 1.2 million abortions that take place every year in the United States, most are performed on young, single women. At the current rate, nearly one third of women will have an abortion in their lifetime, so it is likely that Lutheran youth will come into contact with someone facing this kind of decision: possibly a close friend, family member, or even themselves.

At the same time that youth and young adults are facing these life or death situations, they are hearing the message of the Gospel less and less. Approximately 27 percent of those who have an abortion have no religious affiliation. Through this heart-wrenching situation, God provides us with a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel.

The purpose of the Y4Life program at Lutherans For Life is to equip young people to be Gospel-motivated voices for Life. Through education, training and service learning, these young people will be ready to provide guidance and information about Life issues and will be credible witnesses of the Gospel to their peers.

The $25,000 LWML Mission Grant at the 2017 Albuquerque Convention is being used to expand the current campus ministry programs to include all who attend Lutheran high schools: Lutherans and those of other backgrounds and faiths. These programs will equip youth to be Gospel-motivated voices for Life through identifying, training, and mentoring student leaders and faculty, as well as providing ongoing support to existing Life groups on Lutheran campuses.

Since 2017, we have been laying the groundwork for future success. This has included a college-age intern who is responsible for communicating with Lutheran high schools and researching their Life ministry needs. We have also expanded our existing programs hosting our first mini-conference for students at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. In 2018, our first year hosting the event, we had over 75 students attend, eager to learn more about witnessing to the Gospel through Life issues.

Ongoing outreach events will allow us to share our message and ministry, including our Y4LifeServant Event Program. Servant events are weekend-long trips that introduce high school students to life-affirming ministries in their own community: pregnancy centers, disabilities ministries, and senior centers. After the event, many students will continue to serve at these ministries with a newfound respect for life at all of its stages.

We also plan on adding a new full-time Director of High School Ministry to our Y4Life staff, as we currently have only one full-time staff member. Adding this new position will allow for more hands-on work targeted specifically at recruiting, training, mentoring, and supporting high school-aged leaders. We hope to officially launch the new Y4Life High School Ministry at the end of 2019.

We sincerely thank the LWML for this mission grant to enable us to reach out to answer a need by equipping young people to be Gospel-motivated voices for Life. This mission grant will provide education, training, and service learning for Lutheran students, not only to provide guidance and information about Life issues, but also to teach them be credible witnesses to the Gospel to their peers.

Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Spring 2019 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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