Volunteers strengthen Mission Outreach Globally

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in News | Comments Off on Volunteers strengthen Mission Outreach Globally

The LCMS sends short-term volunteers around the world to assist with mission outreach.  The volunteers are sent in response to requests from missionaries or local churches to fill a need.  

Here are a few stories of how these volunteers made an impact.

Mercy Medical Teams

EMT David Watt takes vitals during the 2017 Mercy Medical Team in Tanzania.

Volunteer participants on Mercy Medical Teams staff primary medical care clinics in under-served parts of the world in partnership with local church bodies. Volunteers include primary care providers, nurses, other medical professionals, and hard-working lay people.  

Two participants on a Mercy Medical Team in Madagascar in July 2017 experienced putting their medical training into action and changing a family’s life.  

Emma Simonson explains the situation: 

We were able to provide a family with a gait belt to help their son Patrick walk. My educated guess would be that Patrick, who is fourteen, has cerebral palsy. At times he has difficulty walking and his family has to help pull him along by his clothes. The gait belt, worn around his hips, will allow family members to more easily aid him. It was exciting to put what I’ve learned in the classroom into action.

Laura Porath explains more about the impact that this had: 

Once our message was translated and interpreted across the language barrier, Patrick’s mother looked at us and immediately started crying…she was so surprised and thankful someone was showing an interest in her son because no one had ever done that before…I am humbled by how such a small gesture could have such a large impact on this family. I will never forget Patrick and his mother. I thank God for allowing me to meet them as it rekindled my passion of working with people with disabilities. 

Gabrielle Bahr, a nursing student from Missouri, reflects on the impact that volunteering in Tanzania on an MMT had on her: 

My goal is to work in the emergency department after I graduate before going on to get my emergency nurse practitioner degree, focusing on preventing PTSD in the ER. Eventually, I would love to translate this work over to working in the field of disaster relief, refugee camps, and battle fronts. My trip to Tanzania has provided me with the ground work to grow comfortable traveling internationally and to learn to overcome barriers such as culture, language, and healthcare beliefs.

Seven Mercy Medical Teams are planned for 2018.  About sixty volunteers from the US will join volunteers from partner churches in hosting 35 days of clinic that will provide medical care for more than 10,000 people as well as sharing the Gospel with them.

English Bible Camp in Poland

Steven Wolf teaches about Christmas during the Brenna English Bible Camp in July 2017.

For the last ten years, the LCMS has been sending volunteer teams to Poland to help host English Bible Camps.  This grass-roots partnership supports the work of the local Lutheran church by providing opportunities to connect with families in their community.  

Rev. Jim Butler, who led a team serving in Konin, Poland in August 2017, writes, 

On Tuesday, one of the moms came in to talk to Ewa, the pastor’s wife. On Monday, her son did not want to come to camp. He complained that his mom had ruined his summer. He came home raving about his day; he couldn’t wait to return. He told her that he didn’t care about any other summer camp, but he wanted to come to the English Bible Camp again next year. 

Stacey McIntyre, team leader in Brenna Poland, reports a similar experience, 

The older boys at camp often acted disinterested or “too cool” to participate in music or group activities. However every single one of the attended camp every day. In fact one of the ones who complained the most had an allergic reaction and had to leave early one day. He told the pastor to let me know that he would be back the next day.

Over forty volunteers are currently working to prepare to lead English Bible Camps in Poland in 2018.  Their work will share the Gospel as well as encouraging the members of the small Lutheran churches in Poland.  

Agricultural work in Malawi

Rev. Davis Wowa translating for Linda Meyer as she teaches about the soil nutrient cycle.

In February, Delano & Linda Meyer and Jacque Breman traveled to Malawi to teach agricultural classes to the people there.  Reverend Davis Wowa of the Confessional Lutheran Church—Malawi Synod shared the following feedback on their work and how it impacts the church there.

“First and foremost I would like to thank the committee for coming up with this very important idea. Frankly speaking the couple, Delano and Linda Meyer. showed us three very important things in the country. 1. They had shown us that they are people of three worlds; They are the economists, Biblical expositors and farmers. Their presentation of lessons were of great enthusiasm to all who were attending their lessons’ personally did not identify any weakness as so my fellow members. They proved to be very hard working and zeal for the work.

          They contributed a lot to the missionary field in that people learned new ways of farming, learned the Christian way of living and also the budget lessons taught them much so as to use the resources they have to meet their daily livelihood.

             If they could have enough time with their lessons it would be very helpful. People were very excited for the first time and when it comes to have lesson penetration, the time is gone. Know that teaching was started at 10 am till 16:30 pm. So according to perception and indeed all who attended say that time was too short. ” 

About Jacque, he wrote: 

The strength lies on the way he had been working in the country among people from different tribes, culture and faiths….He is a good bible narrator, able to explain, analyse, and apply the Bible truths.

Partner churches in East Africa continue to request this type of short-term agricultural teaching.  This allows them to strengthen their community and provide opportunity to share the Gospel with their neighbors.

Praise God!

We thank God for all our volunteers.  There are many more whose stories we don’t have space to tell: those who taught English in Hong Kong, theologians who taught in partner seminaries, teams that assisted with construction, pastors who served vacancies at international congregations, and many, many more.  By partnering with long-term missionaries and local churches, volunteers shared the good news that Jesus is our Savior.  

Leader Blog

Source: LCMS News