Harvey Disaster Relief Update – 8/29/17

This important post is an update on the Southern District response to Harvey relief efforts.

I know many of you have been praying for those in the path of the storm and are anxiously waiting to know how you can help. I have waited with this information because of the uniqueness of this storm.  We are still three days away from it leaving our area. We continue to be in touch with our Louisiana folks as the ride out the remainder of Harvey.

Our Southern District Disaster Relief team has been asked by the Texas District to provide our experience and resources, especially in the area of organization and management of volunteer work camps. That team consists of Dave Buss, Camp Restore-Baton Rouge LA, David Goodine and Kurt Jostes of RAI and Camp Restore-New Orleans LA, Ed Brashier, Shepherd’s Heart Ministries-Gardendale AL, and myself. Preliminary work has started and a meeting of partners will be held next Wednesday in Houston.

It is important that we support the coordinated efforts of the Texas District. This will allow for the best stewardship of our resources. We will not be neglecting the needs of Louisiana and we will respond as we become aware of them.  The volunteer camps will triage the needs. This order is not in order of importance but focuses on building greater capacity of care.  We are enabling our churches and their people to be servants to their neighbors. The camps will also be centers of distribution to meet the basic and immediate needs of all people. Very early numbers from Texas are reporting over 105 members have water in their homes. Many members evacuated from their homes (over 30). Church damage – 6 with roof leaks, 3 with minor damage, 2 flooded. Pastors’ homes flooded – 5. Staff and teachers evacuated – 3 Staff and teachers flooded – 3.  30,000 people in shelters. These numbers will increase as assessment continues.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

PRAY for those in need and for those who serve them with the love of Jesus.

GIVE money and other items when the call goes out for them. Cash gifts are needed the most at this time. 100% percent of your gifts will go to the affected areas. CLICK HERE or go to http://southernlcms.org/disaster-relief-donations/ to give online. You can send your checks also by mail to: Southern District – 100 Mission Dr. – Slidell LA 70460. Please mark them for Harvey Relief.  CLICK HERE  for a list of care boxes that will be needed.  Please do not send them until they are needed. We do not want to overwhelm the centers with items they do not need.

VOLUNTEER next week after the search and rescue phase is over we will be providing contact information to sign up to help. Watch our website – SouthernLCMS.org, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/southernlcms.org – Southern District-LCMS, and Twitter @SDLCMS for more information.

I thank all of you for your partnership in the Gospel and your generous sharing of Jesus’ love, mercy, and compassion.

Rev. Kurtis D. Schultz
President, LCMS Southern District

Harvey Relief Update

Hurricane Harvey has been and continues to be a unique storm system. Making landfall at Rockport TX (just north of Corpus Christi) as a Category 4 and bringing wind and rain two to three hundred miles from its center, Harvey has made its presence known. Having stopped movement, the feeder bands from this storm have trained relentlessly over the northeast section of the Texas Coast, including Houston and surrounding communities dumping record amounts of rain measured by the foot. The reach of this storm has been growing to include Austin, San Antonio and a large section of East Texas. In all, an estimated 212 LCMS congregations and members (in the tens of thousands) have been impacted. Before the storm made landfall, many pastors and church workers and members evacuated to higher ground. They have not been allowed to return as yet. Most of the church services have been canceled on August 27 and emergency officials are telling residents who did not evacuate to shelter in their homes, even if their home is flooded.

The rain is forecast to continue and heavy rates of downfall. Property owners and volunteer services may not be allowed into their areas until Thursday, August 31 or Friday, September 1.  It simply is not safe. For now, airports are closed and roads are impassable. The only significant movement in communities both large and small are emergency management.

The Strom has moved Southeast and is not threatening Southwest LA. Flooding is expected in the Lake Charles area.

The Southern District has been in close contact with the Texas District to offer our response resources and coordinate efforts.

What can you do?

  • First and foremost, your prayers are requested.
    a. Pray for emergency management personnel and first responders.
    b. Pray for the encouragement of property owners and renters.
    c. Pray for disaster relief organizations (that they make wise decisions)

 

  • Consider donating dollars to assist in the relief efforts. The needs of church workers, congregation members, and communities will be enormous. You can donate through the Southern District.

 

  • please wait until there is a clear call for volunteers. That time has not yet come!

Farewell to Rev. Dr. Richard H. “Pedo” and Lois Meyer

The Rev. Dr. Richard H. Meyer (or “Pedo” as he is affectionately known) and Lois celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on July 30th in a worship service at St. Paul (Port & Burgundy) in New Orleans. Their four children celebrated with them. Rev. Adam Cooper officiated. A reception followed in which many, many warm memories of the couple’s forty-six years in New Orleans quickly filled the church’s basement. Many present wanted their pictures taken with them. For a while, it looked like the paparazzi surrounded them!

Pedo and Lois came to New Orleans from Japan where they served as missionaries for 23 years. They were called to two congregations in the New Orleans area: St. Paul (1971-1978) and Prince of Peace (September 1988 to August 1994). Pedo also served as Southern District President from 1978 to 1988.

Both Pedo and Lois are known for their gentle and kind spirits. Someone commented, “You can see the light of Jesus in their eyes.” This light directed many to know God’s love. On August 1st they flew to Massachusetts to live near two of their children. If you’d like their address, contact Sabine Laird at the District Office – s.laird@southernlcms.org.

Volunteer Opportunities for Locals

This August, we celebrate 11 years of service at Camp Restore – New Orleans. In that time, we’ve been blessed to host over 30,000 volunteers from all 50 states and more than 30 countries, including hundreds of local volunteers and nearby neighbors from across the Southern District.

Read more

Baton Rouge Lutheran School’s Changing of the Guard

Baton Rouge Lutheran School (BRLS) and Trinity Lutheran Church (TLC), 60-year members of the Baton Rouge community, announce the arrival of a new principal–its first in nearly 30 years and only the 4th in the school’s history.

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New DCE Welcomed – New Orleans Style

Southern District DCEs welcomed Kenzie Woltemath, DCE intern at Trinity in Baton Rouge, with a day in New Orleans. Joining the festivities were DCE Curtis Wiese of Good Shepherd (Shalimar), Nick Butcher of Trinity (Baton Rouge), and Zeal Beal of St. Paul (New Orleans), along with Concordia-Seward DCE student and summer Lutheran Young Adult Corp participant, Alex Lillis.