Through your generous donations, LCC is able to provide scholarships for 70 students in Myanmar to attend school. LCC received the following email from Pastor Charles Edwards requesting funds to provide food and clothing for the children again this Christmas.
How is everyone? Here, all 70 students are doing well and hope they will pass their exams in March 2018. Yesterday, after the worship service many students and their parents requested me to do Christmas for the students like last year. But my church does not have enough funds to do it.
In my country there are so many problems including the economy. Now the exchange rate is up to 1360 Kyats per US Dollar. Very hard to live. But through the power of our Lord God my church members and I overcome and continue doing HIS mission.
Last year LCC sent funds for Christmas gifts to my students. All my students and their parents were very happy and gave thanks to God and also to LCC. This year again my church requests LCC to help my poor students to celebrate Christmas.
Most of my students have no good clothes. So my church wants to buy clothes for them during Christmas and also feed them a good meal.
The expense is $1,400 US Dollars to buy each student two sets of clothes and good meals.
I and my members are praying and trust that God will provide this in time through LCC. You are always in our prayers.
Rev. Charles Edwards
National Lutheran Church
Precious Hearts Raise Money with a Precious Paws Fundraiser
The students even received help from local first responders from the Harmony Volunteer Fire Department and San Antonio Firefighters, who were very proud of these kids and their hard work and dedication. A special thank you to mom, DeAnn Pieniazek, who helped her daughter and classmates use their precious hearts to help the LCC K-9 Ministries continue to help others.
On Thursday, November 23, LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dogs Brandy and Flex (Squad), and Levi (Immanuel – East Dundee, Illinois) were invited by the Moose Lodge in Wauconda, Illinois for a special Thanksgiving Day dinner for forty-seven US Navy trainees from Great Lakes who were away from home for the holiday. The food was tremendous and bountiful, and from the portions the recruits had on their plates, it was obvious that they were thankful for a home cooked meal. Veterans Marv, Steve, and Fred were especially happy to be able to have the LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dogs bring a little bit of home to these young men and women because each of them knows how hard it is to be away from home and loved ones during a holiday while serving our great country.
On Saturday, November 25, four teams from the LCC K-9 Ministries attended the visitation and service for Gregory Wood of the Leaf River (IL) Fire Protection District, who died in a fire at his home on November 10. His mother, father, and brother also serve with the Leaf River FPD, and the family lost its dog in the fire, too.
The family invited the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs to be present for the townspeople and first responder community, who came out in large numbers to pay their respects. LCC was honored to have the following dogs in attendance with their handlers: LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dogs Britta and Butch (Squad), LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Bekah (Immanuel – Belvidere, Illinois), and LCC K-9 Police Ministry Dog Shiloh (Christ Our Savior – Dixon, Illinois).
Please pray for this hurting family, community, and all first responders.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Jeremiah received the following email on November 22, 2017:
You may not remember me. I was the Salvation Army volunteer who fell in love with Jeremiah. I had him on my mind and wanted to let you know how he touched my heart. I have not missed a chance to tell others about all you do for those in need. I read Jeremiah 29:11 every morning to start my day, thank you for this gift.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Bethany (Trinity Lutheran – Danville, Illinois)
(Thursday, November 23, 2017 – Commercial News / Mary Wicoff)
DANVILLE — Bethany the golden retriever scampered across the gym, chasing a ball and delighting the children who watched.
Then, handler Sharyn Klepp put a vest onto the 2-year-old dog, and she soon switched into work mode, sitting patiently as the students petted her. She kept one eye on Klepp’s hands, however, knowing that’s where the ball was.
After all, the highly-trained comfort dog is still a ball-loving, squirrel-watching canine at heart.
The dog is owned by Trinity Lutheran Church, and is supported by a separate fund through donations. She lives with Mike and Sharyn Klepp in Oakwood. A team of seven handlers, as well as seven or eight ministry helpers, have been trained to take her out for appearances.
She is dually trained as a comfort dog and as a Kare 9 military ministry dog, and has separate vests for each specialty. As a comfort dog, she brings a calming influence and allows people to open their hearts and receive help for what’s troubling them.
On a recent day, she attended worship service with Danville Lutheran School students at the Trinity Campus. She next went through her paces in the gym and then basked in the “awwwws” as children hugged her.
Mike Klepp said, “People might feel the holy spirit so they’ll be moved to do better with their lives. A lot of people don’t have hope.”
Launched in 2008, the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry is a national program that uses golden retrievers to connect with people in distress. Besides their everyday duties of cheering up nursing home residents, veterans and others, the dogs are dispatched in times of disaster to help victims and first responders.
They were “deployed” after the recent hurricanes and mass shootings across the country.
Golden retrievers are used because of their loving, calm demeanor and they respond well to training.
“They are a bridge,” Trinity Pastor Kent Tibben said. While petting the dog, people often open up and that allows the handler to have a conversation about faith.
Also, studies have shown that petting an animal helps lower blood pressure and calms a person.
“It’s not about the dog,” Sharyn said. “It’s what the dog can do for people, about bringing the word of Jesus to people. It’s about bringing a person to a place where they aren’t at all the time.”
She added that if people ask, the handlers will pray with them.
COMFORT FOR CHILDREN
Bethany has been in Vermilion County about a month, and already she’s made a difference in people’s lives.
One of the more poignant experiences was attending visitation for an 11-year-old boy in Covington, Ind. With permission from the family, Bethany and other comfort dogs (two from St. Louis, one from Chicago and one from Milford) greeted people in the middle school gym.
Children coming to the visitation stopped and petted Bethany first. Some spent half of an hour with her.
“It was really eye-opening to see the effect she had,” Mike said. “Some of them cried a little, but smiled when petting the dog — if only for a while.”
Comfort dogs can sense when people are in distress.
Pastor Tibben was a skeptic at first, saying, “I thought it was silly.”
But, about three years ago, he went to a Lutheran Women’s Missionary League conference in Milford, and met a dog who was showing what comfort dogs could do. At the conference was a woman whose husband had died a bit earlier.
“The dog went directly to this woman and laid his head on her leg. They can sense who’s hurting,” Tibben said. “I was sold.”
Lutheran Church Charities, based in Northbrook, has trained and placed more than 120 dogs in 23 states. Our Savior Lutheran Church in Milford has a golden, Mahlah.
Bethany, who’s almost 2, has been in training since she was 10 weeks old, and will receive refresher sessions.
Mike Klepp, who served 22 years in the Air Force, offered to house her. He’s had dogs in the past, but none this large. The rules are strict — no spoiling — and she eats a special food.
When her vest (which says, “Please pet me”) is on, she knows that she’s on duty. When it’s off, she enjoys playing and becomes “more of a dog,” Klepp said.
The church is throwing her a birthday party on Dec. 17 (her birthday is Dec. 22).
Bethany goes only where she’s invited. A church team decides where she should go, such as: the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System, nursing homes, Lutheran schools, and she’ll go to public schools if invited.
She has been to a benefit for a cancer patient, a dinner for veterans at the school and a Thanksgiving dinner at Cannon Place at the VA. When mingling with veterans, she wears her camouflage vest. She also attends Sunday church services and sometimes Wednesday night services.
She’s a working dog, but not a service dog (which is highly trained for a specific individual) and she’s not a therapy dog. Like those dogs, however, she’s been trained to tolerate loud noises and crowds.
Donations through the church cover her food, travel and expenses. Dr. Curt Girouard with Stateline Hillcrest Animal Hospital has offered to provide free veterinary care for a year, and Barb Abbott with Classy Critters provides free grooming, when needed, for life.
•To book Bethany at no cost, call Trinity Church at 446-4300 or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Bethany has her own Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BethanyComfortDog/.
• Learn more about the program at http://k9comfort.org.
• Trinity Church also will accept donations for Bethany’s care.
On Saturday, November 11, CrownPoint Ministries “equipped” 17 people from St. John Lutheran Church in Beaumont, Texas to serve as CarePartners for the long-term recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey. In the areas we visited two months ago, nearly 1,200 homes, about 80%, are still under various stages of rebuilding and not being lived in by the residents. Many of the residents have travel trailers on their property that provide lodging during the days of recovery. The majority of the homes that were flooded during Hurricane Harvey were not covered by flood insurance because the homes were not located in the 100 year flood plain.
The “equipping” provided background, ideas, and planning for being ongoing CarePartners offering spiritual and emotional support, hope, encouragement, and prayer during the long-term recovery phase. St. John has been a “staging site” for volunteers as they come from all over to assist in the cleanup and rebuilding phase. St. John has a few members who live in the area we visited and are keenly aware of the needs and emotions following the flooding.
CrownPoint Ministries, through CarePartner “equipping,” provides training for congregations and RV’ers to be ready responders during all phases of a disaster. While there are always physical and material needs following a disaster, there are also great needs in the spiritual, emotional, and mental areas. CarePartners are equipped to “stand in the gap” with those affected by a disaster through presence, prayer, partnership, and the Word.
CLICK HERE for more information on the ministry of CrownPoint Ministries.
Dr. Lou Jander