BE THERE WITH LUTHERAN CHURCH CHARITIES
Authorities are continuing to search the community by grids and the harbor waters for remains. This is the deadliest United States wildfire in more than 100 years. 3,000+ homes, businesses, schools, government, and cultural centers are destroyed.
An estimated 12,000 people are displaced. This wildfire caused more than a loss of homes and land, but a loss of identity, loss of heritage, and a loss of ohana (family) as known here. These fires have affected everyone on the Island of Maui directly or indirectly, and all are suffering and mourning their losses. With businesses destroyed, there is also a massive loss of jobs, income, and tourism.
Lutheran Church Charities received an invite from Rev. Michael Lange of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod California Nevada Hawaii (CNH) District, CNH District Disaster Response Coordinator (DDRC) Phil Zabell, and Leif Sjostrand, Congregational President from Emmanuel Lutheran Church & School in Kahului on Maui to assist this congregation in how to respond effectively in their community from this devastating disaster.
Rev. Chris Singer, LCC President/CEO, Jeanette Singer, and Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, have been serving in Maui. In the last two weeks, they have met with Russell Wilson, Head Elder, Diane Wilson, Church Secretary, and Josh Rempfer, Emmanuel Lutheran School Principal, many times to assist them in determining the best way to help their community in the recovery process.
Lutheran Church Charities and Emmanuel Lutheran Church were invited by the Hawaii VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to provide spiritual, emotional, and trauma care to displaced residents staying in hotels. Rev. Rod Hall, Licensed Counselor, and Rev. Mark Hannemann, President/CEO of GracePoint Institute for Relational Health, have continued to minister to these displaced residents. This ministry will continue with professional counselors provided by GracePoint Institute for Relational Health at the request of the CNH District.
Emmanuel Lutheran Early Response Team in Action
Parents Housing Extended Family Trust God Will Provide
This week, Kathy O’Day was able to minister to a service technician who came to the home she was being housed at for this deployment. He shared that he has three adult married sons. One son, his wife, and four children lost their entire home and all their belongings in Lahaina. His son was not at home when the fire broke out and was trying desperately to get back to his family, as his wife does not drive. She eventually found a ride out with another family in a very crowded car. His son was very grateful but is now very silent and feels lost.
Another son lost his belongings in a rental in Lahaina. They are now all living with their parents. His third son is a police officer who has been searching for remains and then notifying relatives of their loss, affecting him greatly. He is very worried for all of his family but trusts that God will provide.
Kathy gave him gift cards and offered a word of prayer. Overcome with emotion, he expressed his gratitude with a big hug. Emmanuel members will continue to follow up with this family.
Helping Displaced Residents through Food Pantry
After meeting the first week with food pantry leaders from Emmanuel and Wailuku Union Churches and a community distribution site in Lahaina, the first shipment of requested goods arrived from Orphan Grain Train (OGT), a Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) Recognized Service Organization led by Rev. Ralph Schmidt on the Island of Maui.
Within 24 hours of its arrival, Emmanuel Lutheran Church members divided the cargo and delivered everything to three distribution sites. Another large shipment will be arriving in the coming weeks to help serve families in need.
Lutheran Early Response Team Training for Our Savior Lutheran Church in Oahu
Providing Tuition Assistance for Emmanuel School Families
Lutheran Church Charities is providing tuition assistance for Emmanuel Lutheran School families that are now struggling to make their payments due to loss of income from the fire destroying their place of business.
In addition, many families have taken in and are supporting other family members who have lost everything, increasing their household size and expenses. Emmanuel did not want to lose any family at a time when they need the most support.
Your generous donations make it possible for the school to operate effectively, providing continued education and ministry to struggling and hurting families.
You Can Continue to Be There with LCC
The congregation of Emmanuel and the people we have met and minister to extend heartfelt “Mahalo nui” for prayers and financial support sent on their behalf.
The greatest need is for financial donations to help the people of Maui. They do not have the ability to take in any more donations of items. If you are so moved by this disaster, please donate generously so that we can help survivors with this unfathomable loss.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support for all of the communities affected by these wildfires as well as for the local first responders, LCC staff, and volunteers that help during the long recovery process. Be there with LCC to show them the love and presence of Jesus!
Lutheran Church Charities is ready to show the Mercy, Compassion, Presence, and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need. We only go where we are invited and we never charge those we serve.
LCC works in coordination with LCMS Disaster Response national and local districts of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.