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Phil’s Friends: Prayers and Cares

2021–2023 Mission Grant #6 "Hope of Christ for Cancer Patients — Phil’s Friends" $70,000

Phil's Friends: Prayers and Cares. man standing next to boxes inside Phil's Friends building.

Phil’s Friends: Prayers and Cares

By Pastor Michael Salemink, Executive Director, Lutherans for Life with Eden Keefe, Mission Editor

In 2010, Phil’s Friends received a grant from LWML, and women from all over the country began praying for the ministry.

Phil’s Friends sends care packages around the nation to comfort those affected by cancer. The care packages open doors to a relationship and bring opportunities to share the Gospel. With the help of the LWML, they have distributed 45,000 Bibles and delivered over 1,000,000 Cards of Hope containing Scripture and prayer. They have prayed for thousands of people at hospital bedsides, in homes, over the phone, and in support group meetings.

Former LWML President Betty Duda said it best. “Receiving a grant is wonderful, but all the prayers that come along with it are even more powerful.” In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Prayer is our communication tool with God. The more time we spend with God, the deeper our relationship with Him grows. Through prayer, God penetrates dark situations with light.

Cancer is dark and widespread. It is often a debilitating disease that brings physical, emotional, and psychological problems. Thankfully, Jesus has the power to brighten any dark situation, and that’s why Phil’s Friends is about spreading light.

Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37–38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” God has blessed this organization with workers because they go about the Father’s business. He uses the seeds that are scattered and causes them to grow.

When they work, people take notice. Dave had stage four cancer and eventually went home to be with the Lord. After he passed away, his daughter, who was in her 30s, was baptized. What was her reason? She had never experienced love in such a pure form from a community of believers who wanted nothing in return. Thank you, Jesus, for changing lives and defeating sin, the cancer of this world.

“I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:36 NIV). In verse 40, Jesus goes on to say, “The King will reply, ‘Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Through prayer, God brings healing to the sick — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven (James 5:15 NIV).

group of people praying over care package boxes

Prayer touches every aspect of this ministry. Sherry decorates boxes and prays over each one (pictured top). Jason prays with patients on the phone. Laurie prays over every card that is sent. Groups of volunteers pray over every completed care package (left).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things …” (Revelation 4:11).

 

Phil Zielke is a two-time stage four cancer survivor and founder and president of Phil's Friends. He lives in St. Charles, Illinois, with his wife Carrie and two sons, Graham and Hudson.


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This story was originally featured in the Fall 2022 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's

Lutheran Deaf Outreach Fully Funded! Now What?

2021–2023 LWML Mission Grant #5 "Helping Hands for Lutheran Deaf Outreach" $50,000

Rev. Dr. John Reinke says THANK YOU to the women of the LWML!

Watch the videos to hear an update from Rev. John Reinke and LWML Vice President of Gospel Outreach Karen Morrison, and find our how you can continue to be part of the process of "Bringing People to See Jesus" with Lutheran Deaf Outreach.

Video: How Can LWML Learn Sign Language?

 

Video: A National Update from Lutheran Deaf Outreach

 

Video: The International Reach of Lutheran Deaf Outreach

 

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's

Life Means Hope

2019–2021 Mission Grant #13 “Digital Media Development — Lutherans for Life” $30,000

Life Means Hope

By Pastor Michael Salemink, Executive Director, Lutherans for Life with Eden Keefe, Mission Editor

crowd of people at March for Life

Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day, but teach him to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime. Address the sanctity of life with laws, and we may change a neighbor’s behavior. This one may become an obedient citizen. But envelop the matter in the Gospel, and we will change the neighbor’s heart. That one becomes a brother or a sister in Christ. Why fling a few coins or crumbled bills when you can break the bank and empty the treasury?

Lutherans bring a distinctive voice to conversations about life issues. We do not deny the suffering they sometimes involve. Surprise pregnancy or terminal diagnosis can leave people feeling afraid, abandoned, and ashamed. Most who support abortion, endorse physician-assisted suicide, or engage in embryocidal biotechnologies do so in anxiety or anger. Legislation and elections apply a necessary triage to the immediate trauma. Protesting and closing clinics treats the symptoms.

But only God’s truth and Christ’s love cure the root condition of sinful selfishness. We come with courage, compassion, and community that relieve and heal. We have hope and joy to give. No one needs to use death as a solution once they know the Lord creates, redeems, and calls every human life; each is His own precious treasure from fertilization to final breath (and beyond — forever!). Whatever a person’s size, skills, or circumstances, we can lead our culture to receive him or her, to rejoice in every member of our race as a gift and a privilege.

Lutherans For Life (LFL) delights to put this ministry into practice across the country. Our Owen’s Mission project leads chapel services and classroom discussions. Our Y4Life initiative engages youth and networks students. Our Word of Hope hotline provides post-abortion and crisis care. Our Life Teams, Life Chapters, and State Federations connect volunteers taking local action. Our professional staff prepares life-affirming articles, devotions, brochures, booklets, podcasts, social media posts, in-person education, and online presentations. As recipients of a series of district awards along with a generous 2019–2021 national mission grant (LFL Digital Media Development), we proudly partner with and represent LWML.

What can you do?
  • Learn. Visit our home page or YouTube channel to explore how Holy Scripture and Lutheran doctrine intersect life issues.
  • Love. Involve yourself in the experiences and concerns of others to affirm their worth and purpose.
  • Serve. Invest your abilities and interests in the relationships and opportunities God gives you.
  • Converse. Ask questions and listen when sanctity-of-life topics arise. Testify to how His grace makes up for all our failings.
  • Celebrate! Invite others around you to enjoy marriage, family, health, and length of days as blessings from the Heavenly Father.

God bless your Gospel-motivated voice For Life!

Pastor Salemink [pictured above on the far right at the 2022 March for Life] has served as Lutherans For Life Executive Director since 2015. He writes and speaks nationwide, equipping people to be Gospel-motivated voices For Life. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Heather, and their three sons.


Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Summer 2022 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's

Thank you from Lutheran Deaf Outreach

2021–2023 LWML Mission Grant #5 "Helping Hands for Lutheran Deaf Outreach" $50,000

Rev. Dr. John Reinke says THANK YOU to the women of the LWML!

 

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's

Water and the Word for Rural Schools in Kenya

2019–2021 Mission Grant #1 “Water and the Word for Rural Schools in Kenya” $80,000

Water and the Word for Rural Schools in Kenya

By Shurie Scheel with Eden Keefe, Mission Editor

The first time I stepped off the airplane in Nairobi, Kenya, I fell in love with the people and culture. As you often hear, that first trip was life changing for me. The poverty is unbelievable, but the people, their deep sense of faith and trust in God, and the work God is doing there are equally inspiring. 

It started with Rotary grants and working with schools to collect and filter rainwater. While in the country, we visited schools to bring soccer balls, books, school supplies, and washable sanitary pad kits to the schoolgirls, in an effort to keep them in school. In fact, the first grant received from LWML was a district grant that paid to ship sanitary pad kits to Kenya, a major expense for us over the years. 

The 2019–2021 LWML grant funded ten schools and much more. We worked closely with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK), knowing that we must be very intentional in relationship building at every level of the church. Our contractor, Isaac, spent a lot of time and effort, holding meetings in each of the five dioceses, or regions/districts, of the ELCK. He has trained pastors in each area about clean water, and they are all on-board with the project. The ELCK also chose only two schools in each diocese, in an effort to not show partiality — to make it fair to all.

In those ten schools, we asked the students, parents, and staff to help with the project and take care of the equipment. We worked with a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), Running Waters International. The Running Waters team takes care of initial school visits, installation, and education sessions with staff and students, as well as helping to facilitate a project commissioning. 

ELCK — working with the LCMS Office of International Mission — provides schools and support. A church worker or pastor makes a school visit periodically to check on the water project and leads students in a Bible study or preaches a sermon. This helps to ensure the success of the water projects and allows the children to hear biblical teachings from a trained pastor. The grant reimburses the expenses of the church in this effort. Due to financial restrictions, pastors aren’t often able to visit the churches and schools under their care. The children have been blessed immensely by LWML mite donations! 

Because the groundwork has been done and the relationships built and cultivated, any funds raised now can go directly to help another school or orphanage. The Kenyan church is so excited about the project. They have already raised enough money to fund one more school! This truly is God’s work, and He can do great things! Our plan now is to just start adding schools and rotating dioceses as we raise funds. Please pray for us. It’s only with God’s guidance and support that we are able to do this work. Please join us! All donations are welcome and greatly appreciated, and there are ways to volunteer. 

Shurie Scheel is the grant administrator for Water and the Word in Kenya. She is involved in LWML at St. Paul Lutheran in Thermopolis, Wyoming, has served as a YWR to both a district and a national convention, and has served in various offices — currently as the LWML Wyoming District Human Care Chair. Email Shurie at shuriescheel@gmail.com for their address or follow them on the Water and the Word Facebook page.


Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Spring 2022 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's

Hope and Healing

2021–2023 Mission Grant #1 “Deaconess Ministry Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch” $81,680

Hope and Healing — Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

By Tammy Noteboom, Vice President of Communications at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor

“Growing up, I coped with my feelings the same way my Mom did — drugs. I thought it was normal. When I was 11, my Mom gave me up to the state, and I was in and out of foster homes until I was 13. I didn’t believe anyone really wanted me,” says one former resident.

“When I came to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, I was pretty much the same way I was everywhere else — I would scream, swear, hit, kick, and bite anyone in my path. But then I kinda realized that the staff are not here to get me mad or to ruin my life. They are here to help. I finally feel like I belong somewhere. My life is still hard, and my future is still very uncertain, but now I have hope.”  

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christ-centered, residential, treatment, and educational center for children ages 10 to 18. Children who are served at the three North Dakota campuses have experienced severe trauma, psychiatric issues, and/or developmental challenges; come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and religions; and have had numerous foster care and residential treatment placements. While at the Ranch, kids overcome challenges such as conduct disorder, autism spectrum disorder, personality disorder, depression, anxiety, chemical dependency, and issues related to trauma, abuse, and neglect. 

With the help of highly trained and qualified staff who are readily available 24/7, children at the Ranch have a structured and safe environment in which to live, learn, and heal. They have access to resources they can't get anywhere else. The Ranch’s on-site clinical staff includes therapists, nurses, psychologists, addiction counselors, occupational therapists, and a psychiatrist. 

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch President/CEO, Joy Ryan, said, “For some of our kids, this is the first time they have slept in a bed, not gone to bed hungry, or had anyone listen to their deepest pains and fears. For many, it is the first time they have been told of Christ’s love for them. The kids come here with psychiatric and behavioral problems of the highest degree, but, if we look at where they have come from, we can understand them and help them to heal. Because of the gifts we receive from generous donors, these children can see the world differently, and feel the love of God through those who care for them.”  

A spiritual foundation has always been at the heart of the services to children. The Christian values children learn at the Ranch aid in their healing and provide a foundation of hope that often stays with them their entire lives. Understanding who they are in Christ helps the boys and girls succeed in treatment and positively shapes and influences their future. At the Ranch, these precious children, who have endured so much, have an opportunity to learn about Jesus and grow in their relationship with God through worship, Bible study, fellowship, music, and faith conversations. 

As her time at the Ranch was coming to a close, Sierra, a former resident, said, “I’ve grown so much in my faith, and I believe God is all-healing. He took my anxiety away and I haven’t had it for weeks. I had a huge breakthrough in my faith while I was at the Ranch. I know there is nothing I can’t do without God.”

We are thankful to God for the support of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League over the years. At the Lexington convention this past June, we were awarded a mission grant for our specialized Deaconess ministry. This ministry will bridge the gap for children — from their hard to handle trust-related issues to the transformational, powerful care of Christ.


Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Winter 2021 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's

Thank You LWML video (2021)

A thank you from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for LWML Mission Grants. Originally shown at the 2021 LWML Convention in Lexington, Kentucky.

Download the Thank You LWML video

  • Instructions to download: Click the above link and the download page will open in a new window. From there, click the “Download” button/icon, then click “Direct download” in the pull-down menu that appears.

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