In recent months, the world has experienced a series of disasters and international events of far-reaching consequences. The LCMS has responded with its prayers, encouragement and financial support for those involved.
As the effects of these events continue, the church’s response does as well. Please continue to pray for and support those affected by the following situations.
On Aug. 26, a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, resulted in the deaths of almost 200 people, including 13 members of the United States military. On Aug. 30, the United States completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some U.S. civilians remain in the country.
The LCMS has nine chaplains directly involved in the situation in Afghanistan through receiving or caring for refugees, helping with the evacuation, or providing chaplaincy support to members of the military. One LCMS chaplain was present during the explosion at Kabul and assisted with triage for civilians and military personnel immediately following the blast.
Chaplain Craig Muehler, director of LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces (MAF), said, “MAF will work to ensure all our chaplains get the support they will need after experiencing that trauma and ministering to those in need. MAF will also continue networking with our LCMS chaplains who will be assisting with the refugees as they move to U.S. bases. This is an ongoing effort, but MAF is fully engaged and supported by the LCMS Office of International Mission.”
Learn more about MAF at lcms.org/armedforces.
On Aug. 14, Haiti was struck by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. LCMS World Relief and Human Care Disaster Response has begun to respond to the situation in Haiti in coordination with the LCMS’ partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (Église Évangélique Lutherienne d’Haiti), and those LCMS Recognized Service Organizations that have longstanding expertise operating in and providing assistance in Haiti. Projects currently underway include the rebuilding of churches, digging of deep-water wells, feeding of the hungry and providing of Mercy Medical Team clinics.
On Aug. 15, heavy rains caused devastating floods in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The home of the Rev. Eric and Johanna Stinnett, LCMS missionaries to Ethiopia, was completely flooded, but the Stinnetts are safe. Read more here.
Eastern and Southern United States
On Aug. 29, Hurricane Ida came ashore near Port Fourchon, La., as a Category 4 storm, resulting in over 100 deaths and an estimated $50 billion in damages. The Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson, director of LCMS Disaster Response, reports a goal of over a million dollars’ worth of tree removal in the next 12 weeks. In the Northeast, there are about 30 churches and 30 church workers’ homes that are known to have flood damage. Disaster Response is working with those congregations and workers to provide grants to help restore their homes and churches.
Hurricane Ida will be the first natural disaster for which the LERT volunteer website will be fully functional. The website provides a platform for connecting volunteers with opportunities to serve. It may be found at lcms-lert.org.
As reported by The Sacramento Bee, California’s 2021 wildfire season has resulted in the burning of nearly 2 million acres. The Dixie Fire and the Caldor Fire continue to burn, although firefighters are making good progress in containing both. The Synod’s Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) program is continually working with district officials help train volunteers and enhance the ability of local congregations and members to respond to disasters like this one.
A unique response
Johnson says the Synod’s response to disasters is always grounded in the Gospel.
“As the world experiences brokenness, we as Lutherans help in two ways. First, we bring the light of Christ with our acts of compassion and mercy as we care for disaster victims in their physical needs. Second, we care for people’s spiritual needs as we share the comfort that only the Gospel can bring.”
Johnson adds, “Our greatest need right now as we assist with multiple disasters around the world is prayer. In addition, we need volunteers for the work in Louisiana and financial gifts to help people and churches rebuild after the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti.”
For more information about LCMS Disaster Response, or to make a donation, visit lcms.org/disaster.
Posted Sept. 28, 2021