Thanks to You, They Were Able to BE THERE
Anna Piro shared the team's sentiment, "We all worked well together, falling into the tasks at hand. As you can imagine, there has been much joy and laughter throughout our trip with each other and those we worked with. Belize was good to us, and we have loved the people we met at Camp Concordia and Good Shepherd."
The Northern Illinois District and Lutheran Church Charities thanks each of these volunteers for their willing service in Belize. The Lutheran Mission Belize posted the following thanks on their Facebook page: "We are so grateful for the hard work of these Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) volunteers this past week! They took down damaged and diseased trees in several locations throughout Belize, including at Camp Concordia. They have been a blessing!"
Please prayerfully consider donating to help with costs accrued on this LERT mission trip to Belize that served those in need.
Lutheran Church Charities Welcomes Nine New LERT Certified Members and a New Northern Illinois District Team
There were a total of 19 in attendance from the following teams or churches in Illinois:
Christ the Rock, Rockford
St. John, Union
St. Paul, Rockford
It is good to see how the LCC Disaster Response ministry is continuing to grow with volunteers willing to share the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ in service to those suffering and in need.
CLICK HERE to learn more about getting trained to serve as a LERT volunteer.
Help them continue to BE THERE
The following Northern Illinois District, Lutheran Church Charities LERT team members spent the last week in Belize:
Larry Zagorski, Max Metz - Lord of Life, Elburn
Marty Johnson and Anna Piro - St. John, Wheaton
Pete and Christel Springmire - Immanuel, DeKalb
All of the families served by the team expressed their deep appreciation that their properties are now safe for their children to play and that they would not have to worry about falling trees causing major damage in the next storm. The team feels blessed to be serving their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Please continue to pray for the team, Pastor Herb and Markie Burch, Pastor Benjamin and Karina Flores, and GEO Missionaries Jordan & Justin Langston, and Gary & Sue Kessler, as they each serve the people of Belize in the Name of the Lord.
Several local teams and District Disaster Relief Committees (DDRCs) from other districts worked with Jan in Madison, Tennessee, immediately after the tornado before Christmas to help many homeowners. The week after Christmas, DDRCs Jan Simko, Pastor Ed Brashier, and Pastor Trae Fistler, with his Faith in Action Disaster Response team, finished work on many sites.
Steve Chester from St. John Lutheran Church in Wheaton, Illinois, was also invited to join them for this final week. Steve brought in his bobcat to move multiple very large and downed trees and worked tirelessly from December 26 to December 31. He was very glad to be able to assist with his heavy equipment.
Homeowners expressed their deep appreciation for the team's efforts, which allowed them to clear their properties and avoid costly professional services. Through their work, the LERT volunteers also shared the love of Christ with those they served, making a meaningful impact on the community.
Lutheran Church Charities thanks our generous donors and volunteers for their willingness to serve. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support for all of the communities affected by the catastrophic tornadoes and those responding to assist.
Lutheran Church Charities has been invited by Gary Kessler, Globally Engaged in Outreach (GEO) Missionary to Belize, and Rev. Dr. Allan Buss, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Northern Illinois District President, to remove multiple dead and storm-damaged trees from properties in Belize: Concordia Mission House grounds in Belmopan, a local partner church in Orange Walk and at the Belize Zoo in La Democracia.
The storm occurred many months ago, but none of the organizations could afford to hire crews to do the cleanup. They are all very happy to finally have their properties made safe for visitors.
The following Northern Illinois District Lutheran Church Charities Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) members volunteered for this mission trip to Belize and will be serving January 24 – 30:
• Larry Zagorski, Max Metz - Lord of Life, LaFox
• Marty Johnson and Anna Piro - St. John, Wheaton
• Pete and Christel Springmire - Immanuel, DeKalb
The teams will be taking their own chainsaws, ropes, rigging, and personal protection equipment. Once in Belize, they will also be renting a tractor with a grapple and lift to use for the week.
The Northern Illinois District Missions and Lutheran Church Charities, through donations, have committed to fund this team’s trip expenses, which are estimated to be approximately $8,000. Gary Kessler and Rev. Dr. Allan Buss appreciate LCC’s disaster response team's commitment to serve in Belize and the opportunity to help support this endeavor.
Please prayerfully consider donating to help fund LERT mission trip to Belize to serve those in need.
LCC Disaster Response LERT Volunteers Remain on Standby in Response to the Tornadoes in Tennessee and Kentucky
Lutheran Church Charities Disaster Response and Lutheran Early Response Teams (LERT) have been asked to remain on standby at this time in responding to the tornadoes that tore through Tennessee and Kentucky on Saturday, December 9.
The Montgomery County, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has told Pastor Trae Fistler of Faith Lutheran Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, through which LCC LERT volunteers would be working to provide assistance for the community, they cannot accept any more volunteers to assist with tree and debris removal at this time. The roads are impassable in much of the town, utilities are still in the restoration phase, and residents are being overwhelmed by those coming into the town as they are still trying to assess their own damage.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Mid-South District Disaster Response Coordinators will remain attentive to needs and continue to be available for assessments, and remain in communication with the EMA director in these upcoming weeks in order to determine when a response will be more beneficial for the community.
Lutheran Church Charities, the Northern Illinois District Disaster Response Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT), has been asked by Jan Simko, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Mid-South District Disaster Response Coordinator, to deploy to Faith Lutheran Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to provide assistance from an EF-3 tornado with 150 mph winds that occurred on Saturday, December 9. This tornado was on the ground through Clarksville, Tennessee, and multiple rural towns in Kentucky for 43 miles and just over an hour, causing the loss of three lives, many injuries, and significant damage to hundreds of homes, businesses, schools, infrastructure, and vehicles in both states.
Kathy O'Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, and Chainsaw Team Leader Pete Springmire will arrive in Hopkinsville on Friday, December 15, to assist Pastor Trae Fistler in assessing the damage. LCC LERT volunteers will arrive on Sunday, December 17, to begin work on Monday, December 18, continuing through Saturday, December 23
We look forward to BEING THERE to provide the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are in need at this time.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support for all of the communities affected by the catastrophic tornadoes and those responding to assist. BE THERE with LCC to show them the love and presence of Jesus!
Lutheran Church Charities Welcomes Fifteen New LERT Certified Members & St. Paul’s as a New Northern Illinois District LERT Team
On Saturday, October 28, LCC held a Basic LCMS LERT training for new and recertifying team members at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bourbonnais, Illinois, led by Deaconess Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response.
There were a total of sixteen in attendance from the following teams or churches in Illinois and Indiana:
Good Shepherd, Frankfort
Peace Lutheran, Beecher
Prince of Peace, Palatine
St. Paul’s, Bourbonnais
Christ Lutheran, Valparaiso, Indiana
It is good to see how the disaster response ministry is continuing to grow with volunteers willing to share the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ in service to those suffering and in need.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Persis (King of Kings - Glenpool, Oklahoma) and her team attended the conference and presented how they responded to a local disaster in Oklahoma with their church’s L.E.R.T. team. They also shared what the LCC K-9 Ministry teams have done and can do in other areas of the country after a disaster in partnership with local L.E.R.T. teams.
While attending the conference, L.E.R.T. team member Christel Springmire assisted Forged by Fire, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization (RSO), to cook and serve southern food for Concordia Seminary students at the annual Jambalaya Fest they host.
Kathy O’Day, Anna Piro, Marty Johnson, and Pete Springmire spoke with seminary students about what LCMS L.E.R.T. is and how its program and volunteers can be the church and serve those affected by a disaster. For many seminary students, this is their first introduction to L.E.R.T.
Share the Comfort Event
During the conference, Rev. Chris Singer was invited to speak at Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Missouri, about the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog, Disaster Response, Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, and Human Care ministries.
Lutheran Church Charities Is Seeking a Suitable Property for Indoor Storage of Its L.E.R.T. Deployment Trailers and Equipment