Dear Friend in Christ,
“Be merciful as your father in heaven is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
It’s time to come to the aid of our LCMS friends in Texas. Hurricane Harvey is eerily similar to Katrina. The LCMS responds to disasters constantly. Since Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, we’ve trained 15,000 LCMS people as early responders. Every single district has a disaster coordinator. Together we have amazing capacity to help.
When we respond, we come alongside our LCMS districts, congregations and church workers as they lead the effort in reaching out to their suffering communities. We have LCMS congregations in 161 communities hit by this storm!
It is being reported that insurance companies are expecting the damage of Harvey to equal or exceed that of Katrina. Brock Long, director of FEMA, said he expects that agency to be working in Texas for years. Former Texas Governor and now Energy Secretary Rick Perry stated, “Texans are going to need a lot of help.”
Being on the ground through a lot of disasters, I have realized that the greatest asset of the LCMS is the local pastor and people. As I write this, at this very moment, there are thousands of members of LCMS churches and their pastors and church workers who not only are acting to care for their own churches, people and property, they are reaching out to their communities in love.
We’ve done this before. We’ve responded to hurricane after hurricane. We’ve been on site after tornados, floods and fires. The LCMS, strengthening our people in New Orleans, rebuilt 6,000 homes after Katrina. The mayor of that city said that without the Lutherans, East New Orleans would not be rebuilt even today.
We need your help to do it again. And when you support this work, you know it’s going to be done in the clear confession and name of Jesus Christ, Savior of the World.
We are launching a major response to Harvey, and here’s how you can help.
Continue to pray. Pray unceasingly that Christ’s mercy and love are made known to the suffering. Pray for those who are going to share that love and mercy. Pray for our disaster response teams and our leaders, that they make wise decisions.
Give. Give as generously as you can, as the Lord allows: lcms.org/givenow/hurricane.
If you own a smart phone you can send a text message to 414-44, and type LCMSHARVEY in the message field. After sending, you’ll receive a link via return text to a phone-friendly, secure donation form. If you prefer to give over the telephone using a credit or debit card, please call our toll-free Donor Care line between 8 a.m. and 4:10 p.m. Central Time at 888-930-4438.
Volunteer. Tell others in your congregation that our Synod is going to work in Texas, and invite them to join you in this response. Forward this email to others. Encourage them that there is hope, because Christ lives in them (Galatians 2:20), just as He lives in you. Specific volunteer opportunities will be communicated in the days ahead, and you can sign up to volunteer at lcms.org/harvey.
Learn more, follow the story, ask questions. Follow our Synod’s response online at lcms.org/harvey, on the Synod’s social-media outlets and in our official publications. You can call the Church Information Center at 888-843-5267 to speak with one of our representatives who will help answer any questions you may have. Please follow this story, because the road to recovery is going to be a long one.
I am reminded of what one person exclaimed when we were in this kind of situation before, as he saw the LCMS in action: “Thank God! The Lutherans are here!”
Will you join with others, with me, in helping people near the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana? I pray you will. I know you can.
Sub Cruce (Under the Cross),
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison