follow Matthew’s blog on his amazing adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail as part of the Pi Architect team
Please join the entire LCC staff and LCC K-9 Ministry affiliate teams as we pray for Matthew’s safety this summer. We thank Matthew for his generosity in support of LCC mission to share the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need.
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
LCC K-9 Police Ministry:
Aaron (St. John's - Napa, California) delivered goodie bags, and thank you posters and cards to the Napa (CA) Police Department, Napa County 9-1-1, Napa County Sheriff's Office, and the California Highway Patrol. Blue ribbons and appreciation posters were also tied to trees that line the street in front of the church.
Amos (Our Savior's Way – Ashburn, Virginia) attended a memorial service at Fairfax County (VA) Police HQ, and helped with the COPS Kids event at Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy for surviving children of fallen officers.
Cubby (Redeemer – Fort Collins, Colorado) attended the Weld County Memorial Service in Greeley, Colorado.
Elijah (Our Redeemer – Wichita Falls, Texas) attended the memorial service at the Wichita Falls (TX) Police Department.
Eve (St. John's – Lombard, Illinois) attended the memorial service at the DuPage County Law Enforcement Memorial in Wheaton, Illinois.
Gracie (Trinity – Davenport, Iowa) attended a memorial service at the Davenport (IA) Police Department.
Joy (Gloria Dei – Houston, Texas) attended the memorial service at the Pasadena (TX) Police Department.
Kezia (Emmanuel – Baltimore, Maryland) attended the Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall, the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, and the wreath laying ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.
Nigel (LCC staff) visited the Wilmette (IL) Police Department to thank officers for their service.
Reuben (First Lutheran – Yuba City, California) attended memorial services at the Stockton (CA) Police Department and the Yuba City (CA) Police Department.
Shiloh (Christ Our Savior – Dixon, Illinois) attended a memorial service at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, Illinois.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs:
Anna (Trinity – Toledo, Ohio) attended the memorial service at the Toledo (OH) Police Department.
Lizzie (Trinity – Savannah, Georgia) visited the memorial at the Savannah (GA) Police Department for fallen Sgt. Kelvin Ansari (EOW/05-11-19), and offered comfort there.
Lois (First Good Shepherd - Las Vegas, Nevada) assisted K-9 Police Ministry Dog Aaron with visits to Napa, California, area police departments.
Rachel (Immanuel – Charleston, Illinois) visited local police departments to thank officers for their service.
Sheba (Immanuel – Washington, Missouri) attended the memorial service at the Washington (MO) Police Department.
Please join Lutheran Church Charities in thanking all law enforcement officers and departmental staff for their service and keeping them in your prayers for safety as they serve and protect their communities.
The teams were in the high school all day on Friday and finished the afternoon by attending a Tree Planting Dedication that is in remembrance of those that lost their lives. On Saturday, the teams divided up and spent time at the Resiliency Center, call center, fire stations and a faculty sponsored kickball event at the local park. Later in the afternoon, all seven teams reunited at the fairgrounds and participated in a community event that included many activities for people to participate in. There was music therapy, making “stress balls”, painting rocks, creating a tile mural and, of course, seven golden retriever Comfort Dogs to meet and love on. The evening was finished with a candlelight vigil. The community sang worship songs and heard from God’s Word and then we closed with singing “Jesus Loves Me” as our candles lite up the evening.
It was an honor to be invited, and we were welcomed and thanked wherever we went. Glory be to God!
Carol Lisk, handler and caregiver for Joy Comfort Dog, shares thoughts on what it means to serve the Santa Fe community:
“One year following the tragic events at Santa Fe High School, I stand in the library for a moment of silence to remember those whose lives were lost on that tragic day. I am filled with an overwhelming mixture of emotions. My eyes fill with tears of sadness, but also in joy. Sadness for innocence lost, lives taken senselessly, fear and pain for those who continue to mourn and struggle. Joy, and a strong sense of peace and hope, for the love exhibited by and for the community, the kindness of total strangers, the resiliency of the students and faculty, and the understanding that we all rise by lifting others.
One year ago, in my own small circle of the on-going nightmare, our church (Gloria Dei Lutheran Church) sent pastoral staff to hospitals, worked with families affected, attended a prayer vigil that evening, and made a phone call that brought some much-needed help to a hurting community. They called for a legion of golden angels, also known as Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs. They came within hours, from across Texas initially, and then from across the country. They came with dogs and handlers who stopped their lives to be there. They came with stuffed dogs, ministry cards with dogs’ pictures, “dog tags”, and most importantly with the ability to share unconditional love, a sense of calmness in the storm, a listening ear, and the love of Jesus to share through these beautiful creatures of God and their amazing handlers.
On that fateful day, I never imagined that one year later I would be standing in the school as a handler of a Comfort Dog. Alongside their teams, Comfort Dogs Joy and Gabriel have spent many hours over the past 12 months at Santa Fe High School. We go because we care. We go because we love. We go to share the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ. We go because we have seen the strong bond the students, faculty, counselors, and parents have formed with these loving dogs. Time after time, tears are shed, hugs are given, prayers are lifted and hopefully one more person is one step closer to healing. The entire LCC community has supported Santa Fe throughout this journey. When Joy and Gabriel were voted honorary homecoming queen and king, and Joy was unable to attend, Damaris Comfort Dog and her team stepped right in to act as Joy’s substitute. Seven Comfort Dogs have returned for the anniversary of that fateful day, to show their ongoing love and support for the Santa Fe community.
While there are too many personal and private interactions to recount, they have been seen and felt by those involved, and are forever held close by those of us who have experienced them firsthand. We treasure the Santa Fe community, we lift them up in ongoing prayer, and every one of us feel honored to be a small part of the healing of that community.”
Please join LCC in continuing to lift up our LCC K-9 Ministry teams in Texas as they serve those still hurting and healing in Santa Fe.
Teams were also present at the Celebration of Life at Cherry Hills Community Church for student Kendrick Castillo. A reception followed the memorial service and the teams met many, many families and made many connections to be invited back to this hurting community.
On Thursday, teams were again present at the STEM School where children were returning for a shortened schedule day from 9:00 – 11:00am. There was a group of parents who gathered together in the parking lot right by the entrance and stood there with tears in their eyes. The teams could see how hard this was for the parents to let their kids go back into the school. Don Moeller, Top Dog for Eddie Comfort Dog, gathered them up and prayed with them.
The trip concluded with a visit to the Douglas County Sheriff’s office, the sub-station that was first on the scene of the shooting. They are located one mile away. They were so happy and giddy to see the dogs. They thanked the K-9 ministry teams repeatedly for stopping in. One of the officers was a police dog handler and had Nicodemus Comfort Dog literally back up right into him so he could be pet.
Please join LCC in praying for the students, families and communities as they continue to heal from the tragic shooting.
Join LCC in welcoming LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs-in-Training Jemimah, Claudia, Keren, and Eden! They are a wonderful group of pups who have a lot to learn but are definitely up for the challenge. We have no doubt about it! These puppies are being trained to one day be placed with a church or school to bring the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need.
Follow the new Comfort Dogs-in-Training on Facebook!
The teams spent the following days at Recreation Center at Northridge, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where students were transported after the shooting, meeting with students individually and their parents, multiple vigils throughout the area, businesses where students had fled to after the shooting, meeting with youth groups and others impacted by this tragedy.
Deb Heuer, handler for Katie Comfort Dog (Trinity-Fremont, Nebraska) shared a text that she received from a mother after her daughter and son spent over an hour with the dogs at the Recreation Center:
Thank you again for being there today. When my oldest son asked me tonight why God would let that happen, I told him that wasn’t what God wanted. I explained that God could be found in the students who were brave, and the first responders, and the caring team of handlers (like yourself) that brought those sweet dogs to us. That’s where we find God and his love.”
LCC is grateful for the invitation by Our Father Lutheran Church in Centennial, Colorado, and we ask that you would continue to hold the students, families and communities up in prayer.
A beautiful worship service was followed by a delicious luncheon and fellowship. A presentation on the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry followed by Top Dog and Northeast Regional Coordinator Joel Wardenburg and Handler Kathryn Sturizk.
In attendance were several ladies who had never heard of or had met an LCC K-9 Comfort Dog. A demonstration of some commands with an interesting exchange of questions and answers were part of the video presentation. A wonderful offering was received on behalf of Team Addie and Leah.
We appreciate the support of LWML on a local, zone, district and national for the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.