Hurricane Katrina. Superstorm Sandy. Tornadoes in Joplin,Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma. Typhoon in the Philippines. Flooding in Colorado. Mudslides in Washington State. Ebola in Guinea, West Africa. Earthquakes in Japan, Haiti and Chili. Bombings. Shootings.
These days it may seem like devastating tragedies are never-ending, sort of a “disaster du jour” environment — with life-changing losses and horrendous human needs laid bare on TV, on the Internet, and in newspapers every single day.
But there is light in the darkness: both Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Lutheran Disaster Response (LCMS-LDR) are there reaching out with caring and compassion in the name of Jesus Christ to those in need.
“Nowhere is the body of Christ stronger,” says The Rev. Glenn F. Merritt Director of Lutheran Disaster Response, “than when it touches lives in time and eternity with the Gospel of hope and peace found in Jesus Christ. This is the call of God to the church!” The human-care ministry of Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Disaster Response are on the leading edge of the cutting edge among faith-based disaster-response organizations around the world.
The way they both respond to disaster follows a truly biblical model. They make available aid and assistance that has been provided by generous donors through your local congregations, to Christian brothers and sisters who are responding to disaster and tragedy in their own communities both here in the United States and overseas. Rather than relying on governmental bureaucrats, these Lutheran Disaster Relief Teams take money (and quilts and sewing kits and school kits and baby kits, etc) from the generosity of your congregation and distribute it through local congregations in the disaster-stricken area to the families who have been directly affected by the disaster.
Those pastors and volunteers who engage in the relief efforts also lead prayers acknowledging that these gifts come from the Lord. They do it in the name of the Jesus Christ and the Lutheran Church, so that people see that Lutherans are engaged in the needs of their communities and that they are acting mercifully. Plus, additional pastors and volunteers provide ministry to those “First Responders” as they become overwhelmed by the demands of the relief and recovery efforts, and the continued ministry to those in need.
Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Disaster Response both look for opportunities to be the light of Christ in a dark world. You can look up both of them on Charity Navigator where they are both listed as 4-star charities as they seek to be a blessing to the world around them that is hurting. The care they give is for everyone — Lutherans, other Christians, and the non-believing world.
You can give to each organization directly or contribute to them through Holy Trinity. Whether the disaster is man-made, natural, or humanitarian, we, as members of the Lutheran Church look for opportunities to be the light of Christ in a dark world. Thank you for getting involved in Jesus’ Name.