LCC Disaster Response LERT Chainsaw Volunteers Complete Deployment in Olive Branch, Mississippi Helping Families Recover from Extensive Tornado Damage
Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) chainsaw teams were invited by Angela Fowler, Congregation President from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi, to assist with tornado recovery in their community.
On January 10, the towns of Olive Branch, Hernando, and Lewisburg in DeSoto County experienced two tornadoes in the early morning hours. The first of two reported tornadoes was rated an EF-1 storm by the National Weather Service with an estimated wind peak of 100 miles per hour, was 200 yards wide, and traveled 11.3 miles. The second tornado was rated an EF-2 storm with an estimated peak wind gust of 120 miles per hour, was 300 yards wide and traveled 8.25 miles.
LCC Director of Disaster Response, Kathy O’Day and twenty-seven L.E.R.T. chainsaw certified team members completed their deployment this past week, serving 14 families affected by tornadoes in Olive Branch and Hernando, Mississippi. They worked through Beautiful Savior in partnership with Eight Days of Hope – Rapid Response.
These L.E.R.T. team members spent six days cutting and removing many fallen and damaged trees that completely covered the yards of many homeowners, as well as removing dangerous leaning and dangling limbs.
The LCC L.E.R.T. team served three homeowners representing four generations of a family. Their large properties had multiple trees down and dangerously hanging trees.
Grandma had tears of joy and praise for the work completed and presentation of the cross and quilt to her from the team. She sent a text message to the team leader the next day, “We are so thankful for you helping us. Y’all are awesome! The boys and I just prayed for your team’s safety and safe travels home. Thanks again!”
The LCC L.E.R.T. team served 78-year-old Mr. Smith whose parents had built the home he currently lives in. He is the caretaker of his older brother who needs regular trips to the VA. The chainsaw team cut approximately 100 fallen or damaged trees on his property. While they weren’t able to move it all to the street, they made significant progress. Mr. Smith was very pleased as he never thought it would be able to been done at all.
Another homeowner, Larry, knew God was watching over him as he took shelter in his closet during the tornado. He had no idea how he was going to clean up any of the extensive damage to his property. He was thankful for the LCC L.E.R.T. team assistance over the two days it took to clear the destruction the tornado had left behind. Everyone enjoyed taking the time to talk and pray with Larry. He loved the cross we made for him out of one of his many damaged pine trees that he had planted with his dad when he was 7 years old.
This is why L.E.R.T. teams serve those in need after a storm - to bring the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need!
During this deployment, our LCC volunteer L.E.R.T. teams took heavy equipment, such as the 50’ boom lift, dump trailer, two Bobcats and a tractor with grapple. These were used extensively during the week to move heavy trees, and cut dangerous trees and limbs from roofs. Due to our heavy usage, we have some equipment that now needs repairs in order to be able to send it back out when needed. The cost of repairing a cracked windshield and seal on the Bobcat, replacing a gasket and couplings of broken grapples, and covering gas expenses for volunteers who are donating the use of equipment and their time totals $2,675.00.
Please consider a donation to the LCC Disaster Response Equipment Maintenance & Fuel Expense Fund so that we may continue to show the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
LCC never goes where we are not invited. We NEVER charge those we serve. We pick up all of our travel, lodging, and meal costs. We put boots on the ground within 24 hours (often fewer) from the time we get the invite.
Prince of Peace Welcomes Pastor Alfred and His Family from Pakistan. Your Donations Made this Log-Awaited Reunion Possible!
Last year, Pastor Karl Fay from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Palatine, Illinois, asked Lutheran Church Charities for financial assistance to relocate and reunite family members from Pakistan. We are happy to share that the day has finally arrived!
After 20 years apart and an arduous process, Pastor Alfred Emmanuel, his wife Asia, and their four children arrived on Saturday, January 25. They were joyously reunited with his brother, Gulfam Emmanuel, sister-in-law Anila, and their son Austin. This reunion was blessed by the tireless efforts of Gulfam and Anila, the generous financial support of LCC donors, many donations of furniture and other household essentials, and fervent prayers by many congregation members, friends, and LCC followers.
On Sunday, February 2, Pastor Karl Fay and congregation members welcomed Pastor Alfred and his family to the United States and Prince of Peace. The outpouring of love surrounded them all as they praised God for protecting them throughout this long process and their journey to the United States.
Gulfam and Anila shared their gratitude to everyone who helped reunite them:
We are beyond blessed and would like to give a big Thank You to Prince of Peace pastors, congregation, and Lutheran Church Charities donors. We have no words to explain how we feel by everyone’s love, support, and continued prayers for all of during this process. I can’t explain how amazed the family has been since their arrival. They keep praising God for the many blessings, everyone’s support, and everything they have received to help them begin a new life here.
May God bless you for your compassion and generosity!
Gulfam and Anila
On Sunday, LCC Director of Communications, Debra Baran, presented additional donations received to Rev. Karl Fay, Senior Pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Palatine, Illinois. The Emmanuel Family is greatly humbled and blessed by the outpouring of love and support and are excited to begin their new life here.
Please prayerfully consider donating to help Prince of Peace support all of the family members for a few months during this transition as they enroll Pastor Alfred’s children in school, work on improving their English, and secure employment. Pastor Alfred plans to continue his Christian ministry to the people of Pakistan giving them hope that can be received through Christ’s love and mercy.
On Thursday, January 30, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Malachi (St. Matthew - Hawthorn Woods, Illinois) and Tobias (Lord of Glory - Grayslake, Illinois) visited the Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC) in Chicago.
The staff members were participating in a three day peer support seminar, and their training wrapped up with a presentation on how the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry can help in times of stress.
It was a blessing to help them complete their training with some joy.