“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)
On the night of Dec. 10 and early morning of Dec. 11, an outbreak of at least 30 tornadoes swept through six states. So far, 94 people are reported dead across five states, more than 80 of those in Kentucky. For those unaccounted for, search-and-rescue operations are underway. Homes and businesses were destroyed, and over 300,000 people were without electricity.
Lutheran Disaster Response is collaborating with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod and other partners in the area to assess the damage and develop an immediate and a long-term response plan. Your gifts to support these response efforts will empower our partners to meet survivors’ immediate and long-term needs. Given the extent of the damage, recovery will take years as thousands of homes will need to be rebuilt or repaired. With your support, Lutheran Disaster Response can accompany survivors on the long road to recovery.
The season of Advent is a time of hope as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. Right now, we have an opportunity to share hope with our neighbors in their time of greatest need. Please join me in prayer and consider giving if you are able.
In Christ’s service,
The Rev. Daniel Rift
Director, ELCA World Hunger and Lutheran Disaster Response Fund
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Additional Ways to Give
Checks or money orders can be sent to:
Lutheran Disaster Response
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield, VA 22116-8009
Write “U.S. Tornadoes” on your check memo line.
Give by phone at 800-638-3522 (Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm CT), or give online.
2021 MEF Grant Recipient: Youth Group of Four Mile, Mabank
The MEF grant helped provide the necessary food for 13 weekends with a total of 4,602 hot homemade meals to those special recipients who were looking for a daily meal.
The youth of Four Mile Lutheran Church, Mabank, TX, learned about elderly in their community needing food on the weekends when Meals on Wheels does not deliver. These vulnerable individuals were trying to save a portion of their meals during the week so they would not go hungry over the weekend. The Rebecca Project, a local not-for-profit ministry, was solving that issue by making special hot homemade meals for Saturdays and Sundays. The Four Mile youth partnered with the Rebecca Project. They purchased the food needed to make the meals, helped cook the meals, packaged the food, and even delivered meals. The recipients, who most often live alone, were so happy to have the great meals and to have special time with the youth. Four Mile youth frequently complete the whole job of purchasing, cooking and delivering, but during the worst of the pandemic, were only able to purchase the food. Now the youth and adults are able to go back to working through the entire process. The grant from the Mission Endowment Fund helped this small congregation supplement what the youth were offering to do, because as long as there are elderly, disabled and homeless living on their own with no family to help them, they wanted to be a part of the solution. The youth and adults who have been involved personally witness the difference these meals make! They were so touched and blessed with “heart memories” of the individuals who received the meals and also of the times preparing the food. The recipients bragged about their special meals and looked forward to the next weekend. The youth shared their story with the congregation and encouraged others to take part in making life better for these very vulnerable individuals.
Watch “A People of Hope: Until All Are Fed”
The recording for “A People of Hope: Until All Are Fed,” the October 14 benefit for ELCA World Hunger with Rick Steves, is now available to view at ELCA.org/EndHunger. This World Food Day celebration offers compelling interviews, stories from those who do the dynamic work of fighting hunger, and musical contributions from some of our favorite artists. Be sure to check out the video if you missed this great event or want to watch it again.
Featured Resources for December
While watching galactic science fiction films, we might feel the urge to grab a laser sword and join the universal battle, fighting evil and standing for all that is good. These stories resonate strongly because they tap into our desire to rise above what we know and challenge us to become more than we think we can be. For young people who love science fiction and pop culture but struggle to talk about God and the Bible, the new, interactive “Called to Lead” guide offers young people a starting place for discussion of their inner selves, their vocation and their call to lead.
The “Called to Lead” spiritual gifts interactive activity was first offered at the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas. Participants traveled to a distant galaxy where they identified their specific leadership gifts and abilities. Then they were sent to planets that offered them specialized training — so they could become the best protectors of the universe they could be!Now “Called to Lead” has been adapted into a set of downloadable resources that can be used in person or online. The materials include a five-part Bible study guide as well as instructions and supplies for leading the spiritual gifts interactive activity in a variety of contexts. These resources were designed for middle school and high school youth, but they can be adapted for use with young adults. Our church needs leaders of all kinds as we look toward the future. The “Called to Lead” guide will give youth and young adults a new way to explore their baptism, spiritual gifts and call to lead.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/dec-12-feast-of-the-virgin-of-guadalupe/ – published Dec. 12)
(https://www.ntnl.org/40-years-of-ministry-at-covenant/ – published Dec. 12)
Where in the world is?
Across a context as wide and different as NT-NL, the reality of Covid-19 is very different. As such, NT-NL synod staff are doing more in-person Sunday visits for worship and occasional meetings. However, as good stewards of time and travel dollars, we will be utilizing online meeting formats into our new hybrid future. Given the rise of breakthrough infections and in order to protect those gathered, the synod staff will choose to wear masks as is deemed appropriate unless preaching or presiding and sufficient social distancing can be provided.
Dec. 19: Family Sunday
Jan. 16: Bethany, Dallas – Closing Liturgy
Jan. 2: Immanuel, Killeen
Jan. 6: Transitional Pastors meeting, Zoom
Jan. 9: Mt. Olive, Dallas
Jan. 16: Bethany, Dallas
Jan. 22: Faithful Innovation with COW Conference congregations at Bethel, Avoca (Ericksdahl)
Jan. 23: Bethel, Avoca (Ericksdahl)
Dec. 19: Emmanuel, Granbury
Dec. 20-31: Holidays and time off
With the ever-changing guidelines and recommendations in our world right now, as we maintain physical distance in social solidarity, please keep in mind these events may be moved online, postponed, or cancelled:
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming editions of our weekly news.