Dear Partners in Ministry:
I wanted to give you an update on our multiple Disaster and Crisis Response deployments going on right now in California and in Florida. It seems like it is one thing after the other. The California deployment for the shootings is now also serving all the families displaced from their homes because of the fires happening right now – and we are in the middle of it.
People have been emailing me asking are they safe? Folks – our Ministry is not done in safety zones but in the midst of disaster and crisis. They are as safe as all the people we are serving! We PUT and KEEP boots and paws on the ground to be with people who are suffering! It is what Jesus did – IT IS WHAT WE DO as we serve Jesus by serving others in HIS NAME. Please keep everyone in California and Florida in your prayers – as in both places we are serving people who have been traumatized (hurricanes, shootings, and fires).
We do a ministry of PRESENCE being there – knowing that Jesus loves them and is there with them, showing compassion, giving a human hug, and PRESENCE is essential. People need to know they are not alone, others care, and are there to help! IT’S WHAT JESUS DID – IT IS WHAT WE DO!
I appreciate the emails from some of you asking how we doing. We are keeping our heads above water just enough to see the Feet of Jesus walking on it! Knowing that we are never alone, and where we are, Jesus showed up before us and we follow HIS lead! It keeps us going! It keeps us serving!
I want to thank all of you for your support in California and Florida for all who are suffering! Please keep all the families that have been displaced in Florida for weeks in your prayers and continue to support them. They are no longer on the news – but they and those who have lost homes in Florida – have a long road ahead of them! But they will NOT BE ALONE thanks to all of you who participate and support the work that Jesus is doing! THANK YOU!
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs, handlers, and helpers are on the ground and working to bring the Mercy and Compassion of Jesus to those suffering in Thousand Oaks and surrounding communities in California and also in Panama City, Florida.
In Thousand Oaks, California, our LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams have been working not only with the victims of the shootings and others effected at Borderline Bar & Grill. They are also in the middle of the fires taking place now and are working with individuals and families that had to evacuate their homes. All around where our Comfort Dog teams are working, they can see the fires burning. They will continue to serve in that area as long as they can provided they are not asked to evacuate. They have served hundreds of people at California Lutheran University, Pepperdine University, a reunification center for the victims' families that now serves as a shelter for those evacuated due to the fires, just to name a few. We are in contact with the Pastor from Christ the King who has evacuated his home.
Click here to watch a video on LCC K-9 Ministry teams comforting in California
Report from Rich Martin, LCC Director of K-9 Ministries, serving in California now:
God had our morning planned before we started. Our devotions did not start on time - no, they did not start at all. From the moment teams gathered in the breakfast areas they came. One by one, family by family. The worried, the tired, and the weary. Sad and teary eyed, their faces brightened as they saw them: LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Ruthie, Emma, Cubby, Jacob, Hannah, Lois, and Aaron.
It was just what the doctor ordered. A spiritual triage from the wounds of life and recent day's events. Evacuees, Red Cross workers, families from near and far. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs were there to listen to their harrowing stories and pray with each one. Sometimes once, sometimes twice, and often as a group with everyone.
The teams moved on to California Lutheran University where they have been for the last three days. Meeting with students who stayed and were sheltering in place. Having the teams there every day gave them the hope and encouragement needed to get through their days.
With 10's of thousands of people still under evacuation orders, the teams also continue to make daily visits to the evacuation centers around Thousand Oaks, California, again bringing comfort and hope to those we meet.
The fires have put a pause on a time that would have been spent in different circumstances - on the grieving of those lost at the Borderline shooting. We continue to offer our assistance to those affected and to our first responders.
We continue to pray for hope, healing, and restoration of lives.
We know that physical help and a comforting presence is needed to help the individuals, families, first responders, and volunteers in all of these communities who are shocked, devastated, and feeling hopeless and helpless. Please continue to support us with fervent prayer and if you are moved, continue to help us with expenses.
Working Together, Serving Christ, so we can serve others IN HIS NAME!
Peace in Jesus Christ,
Lutheran Church Charities