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Helping in Haiti

At Lutheran Women in Mission, we are delighted to share the incredible work of Trinity HOPE and their work with Mission Grant #15, “Feeding Haitian Children Through Gospel and Meals.” The mission was given a $52,082 check, presented by Brenda Piester at the LWML Mid-South Convention. Trinity HOPE has provided over 50,000 meals to students every school day. For many of these children, this meal is the only one they receive all day, motivating them to stay in school.

one man and three women smiling while holding checkThe photograph above features LCMS Mid-South District President Rev. Dr. Roger Paavola; Candi Boudreau, Operations Manager from Trinity Hope; Carol Hall, widow of Trinity Hope founder John Hall; and Brenda Piester, LWML Recording Secretary.

Trinity HOPE serves 265+ Christian schools across Haiti, all dedicated to teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite the challenges, including a population where 60% practice Voodoo, 95% of the children served by Trinity HOPE come to believe in Jesus Christ. Carol Hall, wife of founder John Hall, was deeply moved during the presentation, expressing how proud her late husband would be of this incredible ministry. 

We thank God for Trinity HOPE’s impact and your support. Together, we are spreading Christ’s love throughout the world. Stay tuned for more updates on our social media channels and website.


Watch this update from the Executive Director of Trinity HOPE about LWML Mission Grant #15


For more information about this mission grant, view the LWML Mission Grant #15 webpage.

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Thank you for the MOST Mission Trip Opportunity

Laura Esterly was a recipient of one of the scholarships provided through MOST Ministries because of the 2021–2023 LWML Mission Grant #18: Ends of the Earth Scholarship. The following story is in her own words.

“I traveled with a team to Kolkata, India on an eyeglass mission trip. 750 people came to receive glasses during the clinics, all of whom heard the gospel preached, many for the first time. Imagine the potential this has to reach the rest of India! An older gentleman who came hobbling in, with the help of two men, was so happy to see clearly after he received his glasses, that he came back through to thank everyone at each station. 

Laura with volunteers at eyeglass clinic

During the trip, I was impressed by the ingenuity of the local men who managed to build make-shift tents using bamboo as supports so that everyone could be in the shade for a long day of working and waiting. On another occasion, we were inside the local school building, it wasn't adequately lit for eye tests, and within a matter of minutes extra lights were added. 

The Indian people are an inspiration and so easy to love. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worshipped and served with our brothers and sisters in Christ in India.”

“Thank you for helping to make this mission trip possible.”

group of children standing outside wearing sunglasses

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

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Grant Report: Caring for and Sharing Christ

The following report was provided by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, for 2021–2023 LWML Mission Grant #14 Caring for and Sharing Christ with Hurting People.

four young women outside smiling at cameraThe Caring For and Sharing Christ With Hurting People grant allows Concordia Seminary’s deaconess students to fully devote their concentration to their studies as they prepare to become deaconesses for the church.

The Caring For and Sharing Christ With Hurting People grant provided vital support to Concordia Seminary's mission of nurturing well-prepared deaconesses. The aim of this project was to provide scholarships and assistance with the cost of providing theological education of deaconess students, particularly through the newly established Online Deaconess Studies Program. These grant funds made it possible for Concordia Seminary’s deaconess students to be equipped to provide compassionate, Christ-centered assistance to individuals in need, both physically and spiritually, and point them toward the Gospel.

This grant impacted deaconess students in the following ways:

  • Scholarship support: The grant facilitated the provision of scholarships for deaconess students, alleviating financial burdens and enabling them to pursue theological education. These scholarships ensured that qualified candidates could access training without financial constraints.
  • Assistance with Seminary costs: Financial assistance provided through the grant eased the overall cost associated with seminary education. This support encouraged enrollment and enabled students to focus on their studies and practical training without undue financial stress.
  • Expansion of Online Deaconess Studies Program: The grant contributed to the growth of the Online Deaconess Studies Program, which saw a 90% increase in enrollment from 2021-23. This program has broadened access to theological education, particularly for those unable to pursue traditional on-campus studies due to geographical or logistical constraints. 
  • Formation of well-prepared deaconesses: With increased enrollment and financial support, Concordia Seminary has been able to foster the development of well-prepared deaconesses. These students have been equipped with the theological knowledge and practical skills to share the Gospel and serve those in need with compassionate, Christ-centered help.

The impact of the Caring For and Sharing Christ With Hurting People grant extends beyond its immediate outcomes, laying the foundation for continued Gospel-centered outreach and compassionate service. Concordia Seminary’s deaconess graduates will continue in their ministries, serving individuals and communities, for years to come. Their service is a tangible expression of God's love and mercy. Continued support and investment in such initiatives will enable Concordia Seminary to reach even more individuals, equipping them for effective ministry and Gospel proclamation. The impact will resonate within hearts and minds, as more individuals are pointed toward the cross and the gift of eternal life through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Download the PDF of this report.

Abigail Reynolds is a second-year deaconess student at Concordia Seminary.

Why I chose Concordia Seminary’s Deaconess Studies Program: “At the Seminary, I feel surrounded by the love of Jesus. My courses and wonderful professors equip me to share Christ in a wholehearted, informed and practical way.”

Jessica Thompson is a second-year deaconess student at Concordia Seminary. Jessica also serves as an admissions officer for the Seminary.

Why I chose Concordia Seminary’s Deaconess Studies Program: “After a wonderful 15 years of serving the church as a Lutheran school teacher, I felt the urge to explore other gifts that God has given me. I feel so thankful to have the opportunity to study theology at Concordia Seminary from our amazing professors, alongside some incredible ladies.”

Julie Baumann is a second-year deaconess student at Concordia Seminary. 

Why I chose Concordia Seminary’s Deaconess Studies Program: “There are many reasons I could give for why I chose to pursue deaconess studies here at CSL, but the simplest way to put it is that Christ pursued me first.

As a freshman in high school, my pastor told me that I would make a great deaconess, and, as a thirteen-year-old who knew everything, I laughed and said "No chance." I've since learned to never say "no" to God. I had two big misunderstandings about being a church worker - 1) that all church workers were old and boring, and 2) that I had to be "good enough" to serve God well. Come to find out, I was wrong on both ends - and thank goodness for that! I thought I had my life all planned out, but He had an even better plan for me. One where I could learn alongside my brothers and sisters, using the gifts and talents that He has given me to better serve those around me to show and tell them of His great love for them.

In being here at CSL and learning to minister to others, He's continued to put many people in my life who have been incredible blessings and mentors to me, especially my deaconess sisters. This life He's given me has been filled with many ups and downs, but He's been constant through it all. He's been faithful to His promises to me, even when I falter. It's because of this that I know that my life is in His hands, and I'm very thankful for my time here at CSL in my preparation to go out and serve Him by serving others.”

Katlynn Schnitker is from Seymour Indiana and attends Immanuel Lutheran Church. She is a second-career deaconess student in the Online Deaconess Studies Program. 

Why I chose Concordia Seminary’s Deaconess Studies Program: “I chose Concordia Seminary, St. Louis to pursue my Deaconess certification because of its rich history and commitment to the formation of deaconesses. The Online Deaconess Studies Program allows me to complete the program while I work and take care of my family. I also can serve my church as a deaconess intern concurrent with my studies.”

Laura McCormack was born and raised in the south (Texas, Louisiana, Florida Panhandle). Her father is a Lutheran pastor, so she grew up being very involved in the church and has long been interested in people and learning theology. After gaining many life and missional experiences, Laura answered the call to serve in God's kingdom through diaconal ministry. 

Why I chose Concordia Seminary’s Deaconess Studies Program: “I first learned about deaconess ministry from my father and gained further knowledge and encouragement through friends in the program and other church workers. I chose the CSL Deaconess Studies program for the opportunity to study theology and spiritual care alongside trusted peers, with the instruction and guidance of respected theologians.” 

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

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$50K For Two Great Missions

At Lutheran Women in Mission, we are honored to announce that mission grants going toward “Sharing Christ with Women and Children in Kazakhstan” and “Expanding Gospel Outreach to Hispanics in the U.S.” have each received disbursements of $50,000 during our recent event with Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM).

five men and women standing in the LWML Office holding a checkThe photograph above features Lutheran Women in Mission (LWML) Executive Director Vanessa Johnson presenting one of two checks to Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM). From left to right: Ashley Bayless, LHM Vice President of Program Development, Chad D. Lakies, LHM Vice President of Ministry Engagement, Vanessa Johnson, LWML Executive Director, Lois M. Engfehr, LHM Director of Grants and Foundation Relations, and Jeff Craig-Meyer, LHM President of United States Ministries attended the check ceremony.

With hearts full of gratitude, we praise God that Christ will be shared with women and children in Kazakhstan through LWML Mission Grant #20. This mission is bringing the light of the Gospel to a non-Christian nation where many face hardships. Through Christian training programs, resources, and media, families will receive messages of hope and salvation in ways that touch their hearts and resonate with their culture. This grant allows LHM to spread love, strengthen relationships, and build faith in Jesus in communities that need it most. 

We thank God for the strides made to reach Hispanic communities across the United States with LWML Mission Grant #22. Recognizing the vibrant and growing Hispanic population, LHM crafts tailored programming and materials by Hispanics for Hispanics. This thoughtful approach ensures that the Gospel speaks directly to their daily lives and experiences instead of simply translating from English to Spanish. By partnering with LCMS leaders and institutions, they spread God's message of salvation in their native language, nurturing faith, and inspiring a deeper connection with Jesus. 

Glory be to God that He has so richly provided for us! Thank you for blessing Lutheran Women in Mission to support these missions. Pray with us for those serving and those being served as we look forward to witnessing the beautiful impact of these grants. Watch for more details and resources about these grants in October. 

A message of thanks from Lutheran Hour Ministries


For more information about these mission grants, view the LWML Mission Grant #20 webpage and LWML Mission Grant #22 webpage.

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Church Interpreters for the Deaf

2023–2025 LWML Mission Grant #14 Enhancement of Deaf Ministry and Outreach — $47,000

classroom setting with adults learning

Church Interpreters — Growing in Interest, Growing in Participation, Growing in Christ

By Rev. Thomas Dunseth and Kaye Wolff

Ephphatha Lutheran Mission Society for the Deaf (ELMS) operates the Church Interpreter Training Academy (CITA). Their goal is to train interpreters for Lutheran congregations so that, through Sunday morning Divine Service interpreted into American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf people might have access to the life-giving, life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many interpreters in cities across the United States who serve Lutheran congregations, but few of these interpreters have the skills to sign the Word of God accurately. CITA helps to provide the training. 

We thank LWML for their generous grant which has enabled CITA to hold two workshops, one at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the other at St. Paul and Jesus Deaf Lutheran Churches in Austin, Texas. Three more workshops are scheduled for 2024 — one in Michigan, another in Indiana, and a third at a site yet to be determined. There has been a great interest among Lutheran congregations desiring to be involved in Deaf mission. The key to any congregational Deaf ministry is trained interpreters. 

Many Lutherans want to learn American Sign Language. They want to share the love of Christ with the Deaf community, of which approximately 96 percent is unchurched. It is a win-win mission outreach.

The participants of CITA workshops grow in their understanding of Lutheran theology and worship as they learn to interpret the Word of God in ASL, the language of the Deaf. Then, as they go about their vocations in their communities, they invite Deaf people to church who can see the Word of God being brought to them in their own language. 

An essential tool for the training of church interpreters is the translation of the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) into American Sign Language. Currently, LSB is being translated into a video resource by a translation team of pastors for the Deaf, a Deaf deaconess, and Deaf Lutheran teachers. When completed, this video will be available for use by the LCMS at large. Divine Service, Setting Three has been completed and was used for the first time at the February CITA in Austin, Texas. Thirty-nine interpreters, signers, and youth attended this workshop. 

Rev. Thomas Dunseth (pictured right) has been a pastor for the Deaf as an LCMS missionary in Hong Kong and Macau, China, and a missionary to the Deaf in the Michigan District since 2001. He is the vice president and co-founder of the Ephphatha Lutheran Mission for the Deaf, a member of the LSB ASL translation team, and a regular interpreter at LWML events. 

Kaye Wolff (not pictured) is a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Dearborn, Michigan which houses Ephphatha’s St. Martin Lutheran School for the Deaf. Kaye has been instrumental in the support and promotion of the school, Deaf Lutheran mission in the Michigan District, and the growth of interest in the LWML among our Deaf LCMS sisters. 

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This story was originally featured in the Summer 2024 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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Forged by Fire

2023–2025 LWML Mission Grant #6 Mobile Kitchen, Forged by Fire Services, Gulf Coast Region, U.S. — $85,000

photo of man making hot food outside; photo of man handing box of hot food to person in car

Forged by Fire

By Paul Ernewein with Mission Editor Brianne Stahlecker

We take so many things for granted until they are no longer there — family, friends, jobs, homes — even something as simple as a meal. If you have lived through a major disaster like a hurricane, tornado, flood, or wildfire, you know the feeling that follows. It is almost like an out-of-body experience. Confusion about what to do next invades. How do we start trying to recover? Something as simple as a warm meal, once taken for granted, is missed.

In Forged by Fire serving lines, we hear stories and see the faces of people who are simply lost: seniors who haven’t had a warm meal in weeks; families who had food insecurity issues before the disaster; families struggling just to find one meal a day. Yet, they are thankful that we are there serving them.

Even in “the greatest country in the world,” people and communities can get overlooked in disasters. Paths of destruction during hurricanes can be so wide that it is virtually impossible to cover every community with relief efforts. This is where churches and volunteer organizations become vital. That is how Forged by Fire started. In the Gulf Coast, major disasters have affected our lives. Our leadership team and many of our volunteers have “been there.”

Our feeding ministry has its roots in providing that very basic need for human survival — food. We don’t serve just average food; we serve food cooked with love — delicious food that can be found in your grandmother’s or mother's kitchen. Every time we serve, we try to serve food like that.

Since its beginning, Forged by Fire has prepared and served food for over 150,000 people. Because of generous donations from individuals and organizations like LWML, we have never had to stop cooking due to lack of funding. God truly provides for all our needs!

Those receiving our meals often ask, “Why?” and “How are you able to do this?” What an opportunity to share Christ while being the hands and feet of our Savior Jesus! Our answer is always the same, “Because we can.” This is who we are in Jesus. We serve. It really is that simple.

Where does the LWML fit in? Smaller communities are the ones often overlooked by major relief organizations in recovery work. The LWML Mission Grant for Forged by Fire Services, prayed for and approved at the LWML Convention in Milwaukee, will help serve those communities. The mobile, self-sufficient kitchen will allow us to cook and serve from the roadside. A smaller team of volunteers will be able to comfortably serve up to 500 people. What a blessing this unit will be to those in need! We cannot thank you enough.

To learn more about our work, please visit We are an active Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT). To learn about opportunities to volunteer with the LCMS after a disaster strikes, and learn more about LERT, visit Your prayers and your service are vital to our work that we share together.

Rev. Paul Ernewein, a 2007 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, serves as pastor of The Village Church Lutheran in Lacombe, Louisiana and as president and managing director of Forged by Fire Services. He also serves as a zone pastoral counselor for the LWML Louisiana-Mississippi District. Because he has experienced multiple hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding events firsthand, he and his wife are committed to helping those in need after these devastating events.


Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Spring 2024 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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Check Presentation: "Bringing God's Word to India"

2023–2025 LWML Mission Grant #25 Bringing God's Word to India — India Bible Translation Project — $100,000

Thank you for your generous mite offerings to support LWML Mission Grant #25 “Bringing God’s Word to India.”

Dr. Paul Dasari met with Lutheran Women in Mission President Eden Keefe at the LWML Office, and was presented with a check for the first portion of the mission grant for the India Bible Translation Project.

About this grant:

Thirty-two million Christians living in India do not have access to a study Bible in their own language that has abundant, doctrinally sound study notes, and commentary to help in understanding God’s Word. 

The India Bible Translation Project’s mission is to publish the study notes and commentary from The Lutheran Study Bible into the Tamil and Telugu language. This grant will provide funds to complete the translation work. 

With The Lutheran Study Bible translated in their heart language, indigenous Indian pastors, seminarians, and members of Lutheran churches in India and Sri Lanka will be better able to understand and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Indian Lutheran Study Bible will be a great blessing to the members of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church and Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sri Lanka.

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

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