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Sharing the Gospel: Mission Grant #19

Mission Grant #19 “Making Jesus Known in the United States Ethnic Communities — Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri” $100,000 fully funded

Inspired by Christ’s love, you gave. Thank you! Inspired to share His Gospel story, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is using LWML Mission Grant #19 “Making Jesus Known in U.S. Ethnic Communities” to help fund the education costs of the student/church workers enrolled in their Center of Hispanic Studies (CHS) and Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) ministerial formation programs. Concurrent with their distance education studies, these students, virtually all of whom are first-generation immigrants, are serving in ministry positions to share the Gospel among their immigrant/ethnic communities throughout the United States. 

The mission of the CHS is to make Jesus known in Hispanic/Latino communities, and EIIT’s mission is to share the Gospel among communities comprising other immigrant groups, largely those from countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. As many of these programs’ students live amid strained financial circumstances, they have a strong need for the student financial aid that this LWML grant provides.

CHS student, Andres Valencia

Andrés Valencia, a native of Santiago, Chile, is a CHS student who serves Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He previously served in college ministry for 10 years in Santiago and in Puebla, Mexico. He serves as Saint Paul Lutheran’s full-time multicultural coordinator and leads the congregation’s weekly service in Spanish.

“I’m serving with my church to reach out to the Hispanic population around Mount Prospect,” Valencia says. “We want to bring more people to God, and we’re doing this by first fulfilling their physical needs and then talking with them about God and faith. God is calling me to build my theological knowledge and to be able to dive deeply into sharing the Word of God.” 

EIIT student, Soe Moe

Soe Moe is an EIIT student who serves at Southwest Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His parents, who are from Burma, fled that country during its long period of military rule and considerable unrest. He was born in Thailand, and his family lived for 11 years in a refugee camp along the Thai-Burma border before coming to the United States. 

As a teenager, his devotion to the Lord increased considerably when he worked at a Lutheran summer camp three years in a row. “I realized how amazing God is, and that He’s always there for us,” he says. He adds that he also realized that his calling is to become a youth pastor. “I very much want to continue bringing the Good News to young people and giving them hope,” he says.

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Check presentation to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis President Dr. Dale Meyer in Summer 2020

LWML Mission Grant #19 “Making Jesus Known in U.S. Ethnic Communities” for $100,000 has been paid in full, thanks to the generous giving of LWML donors who were led by the Spirit to share His Gospel story.

 



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

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Seminary Food Banks Adapt & Provide


Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, sent a letter of thanks to the LWML for supporting the Seminary Food Bank. Interim Food Bank Coordinator, Hannah Loum, writes, “As the Food Bank operates solely on donations, your contributions are vital to funding its two important objectives: providing essential budget relief to our students and ensuring that their nutritional needs are met.”

She continues, “The Food Bank — and the Seminary’s campus as a whole — has needed to operate differently since the coronavirus outbreak began this past March.”

“We quickly set up an alternate system of providing the Food Bank’s grocery items to our students. We provide students with an online form on which to make their selections from many nutrient-dense foods such as fresh meats, frozen fruits, and vegetables. They make their food choices and then pick up their groceries on a preset, staggered schedule. The distribution occurs in a large reception room to ensure ample social distancing.” 

Loum shared that the students remain grateful for the Food Bank, but especially for the many generous individuals and groups who contribute to its support.

“I extend my biggest ‘thank you’ to all those who donate to the Food Bank,” says Brandon Bettcher, a second-year Master of Divinity student from Ray Township, Michigan. “You provide so much peace of mind to us as students so we can focus more fully on our studies and advancing the Gospel.” 

woman loading bags of food into van
woman loading milk into van

The Food Co-op at Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne (CTSFW) also continues to serve the students who remain in the Fort Wayne area. Deaconess Katherine Rittner, Director of the Food & Clothing Co-op, shared that they pack boxes with canned and dry goods, and bags with donated pork, ground beef, fresh produce, milk, and laundry detergent. They also provide diapers and wipes for families with infants. The staff takes extra precautions when putting the orders together and loading them contract-free into the students’ vehicles.

"In addition, we put boxes together for the dorm students remaining on campus with fresh milk and fruit, meals, and snacks that they can keep in their rooms, as well as personal hygiene items as requested.” 

Clothing needs are handled on an individual basis. All this ensures that the student families are fed and cared for during the pandemic restrictions. Deaconess Rittner stated, “As I see it, this is a big part of the mission statement of CTSFW to care for all, and one that we take very seriously."

In October 2020, participants of the virtual LWML Interdepartmental meeting supported the seminary food banks with monetary donations — $1,125 was sent to each, along with cards of encouragement for the students — as their Gifts from the Heart offerings. 

For more information about the Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne Food Bank & Clothing Co-op, go to www.ctsfw.edu/support-ctsfw/give-for-today/co-op-donations/food-and-clothing-co-op/For more information about the Concordia Seminary St. Louis Food Bank, go to www.csl.edu/campus-life/food-bank/.

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God Weaves Relationships: LWML & Missionaries

Lutheran Women in Mission and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, have been blessed to be mission partners throughout the years. Since moving the LWML Office to Loeber Hall on the Seminary campus in 2018, the connections and opportunities for LWML Office staff to interact with students, staff, and their families have increased.

One of the activities that Katie Thompson, LWML Outreach Assistant, coordinated this past school year was a Knit & Crochet Night. An instructor and supplies were provided at no cost. Over the winter, Maggie Oliver and her daughter Ginny started attending — and, after the first time, never missed a night!

Ginny’s dad, Pastor Steve Oliver, shared these photos. “This is Ginny, enjoying knitting at home! I’m also attaching a picture she drew of the LWML headquarters in Loeber Hall. See her going in for LWML activities. This has been Ginny’s first and most positive personal contact with LWML, and I think she loves it!! I’m so glad to see this because I feel that the LWML has really been the most practical, down-to-earth, committed, enduring, and joyful support of missions in the LCMS, resulting in the salvation of many and much eternal fruit in Heaven. So, to see the next generation with such a positive attitude toward LWML brings not only tears of joy to my eyes, but gives great encouragement to push forward in the Great Commission!” God weaves relationships.


He continued, “In December 2000, I was sent as an LCMS missionary to China Lutheran Seminary in Hsinchu, Taiwan, where I’ve been teaching New Testament (NT) Greek and NT courses for a little over 19 years. We teach in Mandarin Chinese since our graduates will serve in Chinese churches or as missionaries to Chinese. In our rich biblical doctrine, we have an urgent and great gift to share with Chinese Christians, among whom Christianity is growing explosively! This gift is the root of the Word!! Besides my main work at the seminary, I often go to other Asian countries for short trips to teach, present, lecture, and minister.” 

“The LWML has supported us in so many ways all of these years. One of the most evident ways is through the financial gifts that have directly supported us to be in Asia. Gary Thies sent us a photo of LWML representatives giving a check of $100,000 to Mission Central to support a number of missionary families in Asia, including ours!” God weaves relationships.

Pastor Steve, Maggie, Ginny, and her two brothers, Isaac and Gary, were in the States this past year so he could do continuing education and guest instructor services at Concordia Seminary in the Ethnic Immigrant Institute in Theology (EIIT) program. In May, Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer received an LWML mission grant check for $100,000 to support the education costs of students enrolled in the Center for Hispanic Studies and EIIT ministerial formation programs. God weaves relationships.

When Pastor Oliver sent out a newsletter this Spring, a member of the LWML who supports them wrote back: ‘P.S. Ginny Oliver — I see a future LWML president in you.❤️’” God weaves relationships.


For more information about the mission grants referenced in this story, view the mission grant pages here: 

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God's Grace for This Generation: LAMP

Mission Grant #21 “God's Grace for This Generation — LAMP Ministry Inc.” $100,000

God's Grace for This Generation — LAMP Ministry Inc.

By Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV).

For more than 50 years, LAMP Ministry Inc. has been committed to taking the Gospel to northern Canada where nearly one million indigenous people live in isolated areas reachable only by aircraft or seasonal roads. About half of the population is under the age of 14 — an entire generation who has not been taught the Holy Scriptures and the hope that is theirs through Jesus. These children and youth are facing worldly influences and challenges that often lead them to hopelessness and despair.  

On Indian reservations, employment is limited and housing inadequate. The rates of violence, HIV, drug and alcohol abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome, and diabetes are significantly higher than most of the world. Life expectancy is only ages 45–55, while younger and younger children are committing suicide. The internet has replaced the godly wisdom of elders, and children are receiving corrupt information — much of which they are unable to properly process. Social media, bullying, and worldly values cause the youth to feel worthless and to give up hope.  

Through the LWML mission grant received at the Mobile convention in 2019, LAMP is able to go into these communities, conduct VBS, teach Bible studies, and provide one-on-one testimony to the hope available through faith in Jesus.  

LAMP missionaries and pilots recruit, train, and support hundreds of volunteers who serve year-round. By His grace and support from this grant, LAMP’s staff and volunteers are not only reaching more communities, but they are visiting them more than once a year.

Repeat volunteer missionaries, including LWML members, build relationships of trust as they share the love of Christ. In the community of Red Sucker Lake, one volunteer and her family have shared a 30+ year journey of faith and friendship with the Harper family. They have encouraged and taught Scott and Sean Harper from a young age and encouraged them as they became Christian men as well as servants among their people. Sean is now the local pastor, and Scott is a social worker in the northern communities, as well as serving as a LAMP board member.  

A state of emergency was declared in the northern community of Cross Lake after six suicides occurred in two months and 140 suicides were attempted in two weeks. This community of 8,300 was traumatized and asked for immediate help. LAMP sent a pastor-pilot and a team to support them and share assurance and comfort from Scripture. They proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus, our only true source of comfort and hope.  

Things began to change in Cross Lake. Encouraged, local leaders were built up and able to serve their own people. Because they knew LAMP missionaries loved and cared for them, the children were able to share their pain. Life continues to change as these children choose hope in Christ over suicide.  

Thank you, women of LWML, for partnering with LAMP to achieve these two goals: more missionary pilots and more volunteers for expanded ministry.  

Jesus said: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37–38).

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This story was originally featured in the Spring 2021 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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Demonstrating the Compassion of Christ

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

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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.
 

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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

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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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