The Rev. Larry Myers, LCC staff coordinator for Ukrainian relief, returned home to Wisconsin from a 16-day trip to Germany. He reports the following:
Even though this trip, planned three years ago and delayed from two years ago, was originally designed as a vacation and 40th birthday present for my son Christoph, it turned out to be much more meaningful than a mere vacation.
In Marsberg, Germany, we were privileged to visit with five families of SELCU pastors’ refugee families from Ukraine. The Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Ukraine is a partner church of the Lutheran Church-Canada. It also has an affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Brethren Church in Marsberg, Germany. The congregation there is providing good care for the refugee families. Many tears and concerns were shared as both wives and children expressed their longing for husbands and fathers and their desire to be back in their home country.
In Homberg, Germany, we also visited with the extended family of another SELCU pastor. The S.E.L.K. congregation in Homberg and its pastor, the Rev. Christian Utpatel, are also doing an excellent job of caring for Ukrainian refugees. The Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche is the German partner church of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Back in Ukraine, the SELCU pastors and their laity are continuing enormous efforts in combining gospel proclamation with humanitarian relief assistance. Providing refugee evacuation to the Romanian and Moldovan borders continues, but the main efforts are now directed toward the provision of food, medicine, medical supplies, and other equipment.
Assisting with this effort in Romania is the young, 19-year-old Sergiu Trifa (son of Rev. Sorin-Horia Trifa, Romania) and his small group of volunteers. They continue to shop weekly, to assemble pallets of needed supplies, and to arrange for shipment to the SELCU in Odessa.
All of this is being supported by donations channeled through Lutheran Church Charities. We Americans tend to have short memories and like quick fixes. However, the conflict in Ukraine is not going away soon, and there are no quick fixes. I encourage you to remember your Christian brothers and sisters in Ukraine and to continue supporting them. Your support is greatly needed, and it is greatly appreciated!
The LCC K9 Comfort Dogs were invited to Clarendon Avenue Elementary School in Mukwonago, Wisconsin on Monday, May 23rd for a special visit with students and staff.
Following the Waukesha Parade tragedy in November of 2021, the school suffered a loss of a beloved student and friend. Jackson succumbed to his injuries after being injured in the parade and his brother, Tucker, was severely injured but has now returned to school. When the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs visited for the first time in 2021, many tears were absorbed into the fur of the many dogs present as children and staff processed what had happened and grieved for the loss of their friend.
Six months later, and as the school year was coming to a close, Principal Andrea Kaplan and District Psychologist Brittany Sardorf invited the Comfort Dogs back for a "fun" visit. Bekah Comfort Dog (Immanuel - Belvidere, Illinois), Charity Comfort Dog (Brookfield Lutheran - Brookfield, Wisconsin), Hagar Comfort Dog (Faith - Appleton, Wisconsin), and Mary Comfort Dog (St. Paul's - Janesville, Wisconsin) returned to lots of student excitement on that Monday.
The Comfort Dogs had a fun day of spending time in each classroom with the opportunity to visit with each and every student of the large elementary school. Many students remembered the Comfort Dogs and some even had the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog cards still in their desks. Others pointed to the stuffed LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs that were given to each classroom many months ago. There were lots of snuggles, sweet scratches behind the ears, and plenty of big hugs given to each Comfort Dog.
While some are still processing the loss and tragedy, seeing the dogs made each of those students know that they are loved each day and will always have a friend in the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs. The tragedy and loss many of these children had to experience are unimaginable, but as one staff member said, "having you here makes today a little more bearable."
Hearts of Mercy & Compassion were presented to the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, honoring the eleven Corrections Officers who lost their lives between the years 2004 through 2022. The HMCs were placed in the Corrections roll call room in recognition of their service.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Julia (King of Glory - Elgin, Illinois) is pictured with Commander Cantwell, Correction’s Chief Garcia, Deputy Chief Schoenenberger, and Lieutenant Prosser in front of the memorial.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
"Thank you for being a big part of this work!”
“We continue to serve the refugees in our city. We keep the rhythm. Sixty to eighty family sets per day. The number of people is only getting bigger. We have now closed pre-registration for assistance for a while. We've got a list for a few weeks ahead. We don't want to get very far. Many people come without registering and calling. Their situation is such that they are ready to spend half a day just to find out why they cannot get through to us and sign up for a queue for help.
The last week in our city is quite calm. Thanks be to God. But serious problems with fuel began. Filling up the car is almost impossible. Many gas stations do not work because they do not have fuel. You have to stand in line for several hours to buy 10-15 liters of fuel. We assumed that there would be problems with fuel and made a small reserve in advance. Now we are using it. The authorities promise to arrange deliveries within 10-15 days. But the price of fuel will rise even more.
We are all waiting for good news from the front. Our troops are beginning to push the enemy back in some directions. May mercy and peace be multiplied to you!”
Last week we packed 100 food bags for Nikolaev, but more than 150 people came to Nikolaev Lutheran church for food. People fought for bags; so, we made a list of those who didn't get the good bag last Saturday and promised to satisfy them next Saturday. We put Christian literature and calendars in each bag. Many of those people have lost jobs and depend on food provided by municipalities, charity organizations, and churches.
Last Friday, SELCU Bishop Alexander Yurchenko had surgery. After recovery, chemotherapy will be prescribed. I provided some financial assistance from Lutheran Church Charities donors for the bishop's treatment since we have no insurance medicine here in Ukraine yet.”
Rev. Valera Verba was in Odessa and will be driving back to Dnipro. We have already filled up his minivan with some stuff; tomorrow we will get sixty or so grocery bags to Pastor Timerkan (it is on the way to Dnipro). We will divide it among some of our congregation and this will be given to the people.
I am sorry that I am unable to get to you all the tears and smiles for the people who are getting this needed help right now. I think right now we are not only supporting the people of Ukraine; we are spreading the seeds of the word of Christ among the people. We are showing the people who leave near our congregations who God is, that He cares for the people, that His church is not a building but church is loving and caring! Thank you for being a big part of this work!
Another special thanks for Rev. Larry Meyers for visiting our wives and children in Germany! They really enjoyed the visit and were surprised and grateful for the unexpected gift they brought along!
SELCU Bishop Alexander Yurchenko is recovering from cancer surgery and is in much pain but he is already caring for the people at the hospital.
I am continuing to use the financial donations you sent to meet the following needs:
- Vehicles: lots of fuel, oil and filter change, small repairs. I drove already over 20,000km during this difficult time and paid for the fuel of other drivers who helped.
- Medical support: children and adults.
- Refugees: those who are leaving Ukraine and have no money for transportation, food, or other needed supplies.
- People who left their homes or apartments: housing was destroyed (3 families).
- People to move: traveling to the western part of Ukraine far away from the frontline.
- Groceries and hygiene supplies.
- Transportation: cost for people to take train or bus or cost for travel aid.
May the Lord be with you!
Your Donations are Immediately Helping Ukrainians in Need!
Thank You for your support in being the hands and feet of Jesus to those suffering!
On Monday, May 23, the Palatine (Illinois) L.E.R.T. Team helped an elderly church member with tree removal and yard cleanup. They felled and cut up two dead trees and cut and trimmed many overgrown bushes so she can now access her yard safely.
She was very grateful to the following volunteers that offered willing assistance and the Christian care shared with her:
Approximately one hundred pastors were in attendance. Rev. Dr. Allan R. Buss, President of the LCMS Northern Illinois District, enjoyed some cuddle time with LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dogs Brutus (LCC Squad) and Nigel (LCC Staff).
It was wonderful for the teams to be together after such a long time! The weekend was filled with smiles, hugs, laughter, tears, and above all, sharing the love and joy of being together because of Jesus.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Hope's team at Faith - Marietta, Georgia, did an excellent job hosting the other Southeast Region teams and making them feel welcome:
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Zoara (Island Lutheran - Hilton Head Island, South Carolina)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Seth (Eternal Shepherd - Seneca, South Carolina)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Job (Christ the King - Memphis, Tennessee)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Lizzie (Trinity - Savannah, Georgia)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Peace (Trinity - Orlando, Florida)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Moriah (St Luke's - Oviedo, Florida)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Jemimah (St. Paul - Boca Raton, Florida)
The day was filled with fellowship, learning, and growing through various breakout sessions, training, and praying as a group.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams had so much fun joining together for a community visit at Marietta Square, where they met so many people who could not help smiling upon seeing and spending time with the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs.
The weekend's highlight was a special visit from Ms. Donna, a beloved friend of the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry who makes and sends each Comfort Dog bandanas, blankets, and so much more multiple times a year.
It was an honor to see her in person and surround her with hugs, love, and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs. Ms. Donna was overwhelmed with a special presentation of a Heart of Mercy & Compassion (HMC) signed by the handlers and ministry partners who attended the event. She said it was her best day ever! It was a joy to give the HMC to Donna, a woman who gives so much of her time and love to us.
I had a great and wonderful day thanks to all the wonderful people and precious comfort dogs with Lutheran Church Charities.
Thanks for the wonderful heart, which I will treasure. I am so thankful to be in ya'll family. I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to meet you.
Best people and dogs in the world!
Donna and Buddy
Nine LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their teams were in attendance:
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Anna, Claudia, and Ezra (Trinity - Toledo, Ohio)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Rosie (Atonement - Columbus, Ohio)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Jared (Holy Cross - Fort Wayne, Indiana)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Jude (St Peter's - Three Rivers, Michigan)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Mercy (Our Savior - Louisville, Kentucky)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Dove (Peace - Fremont, Indiana)
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Naomi (Holy Cross - Indianapolis, Indiana)
Future LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry churches Cornerstone - Carmel, Indiana, and St. Paul - Napolean, Ohio, also attended the gathering.
Some of the highlights of the gathering were:
- Opening devotion by Trinity Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio, Pastor Ryan Kleimola
- Speaker: Pastor Dan Meckes from Journey Lutheran Church, Oxford, Michigan
- Speaker: Dan Ludlum from team Rosie, who spoke on chapel/children's message
- LCC K-9 Ministry staff and trainers added training and breakout sessions.
Last week LCC K-9 Police Ministry Dog Persis (King of Kings - Glenpool, Oklahoma) and her law enforcement handler were invited to the Boots and Badges: Be a Hero Donate Blood Drive in Bixby, Oklahoma.
It was a competition between the fireman and the police to see who gave the most blood. Persis Comfort Dog calmed a few people who were afraid of needles. Persis understands as she gets that way when she goes to the vet. Thank you all. You are our heroes!
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Families In Need
Hearts Of Mercy & Compassion
In The News
K-9 Comfort Dogs
K-9 Court System - Ezra
K-9 Police Ministry
K-9 Travel Expenses
Kare 9 Military Ministry
Kind Words For HMC
Kind Words For K9s
Kind Words For LCC
Kind Words For LCC Disaster Response
LERT Mercy In Action
Maryland Great Falls
Ministries In Need
Prospect Heights Fire
Thank You From LCC
Tornadoes In Tennessee
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