Sunday, November 14, 2010

Building Homes and Hope in Haiti appeal

Please consider helping LCMS World Relief and Human Care to help the suffering in Haiti. Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Cholera have increased their burdens 100 fold. You can help! Volunteer right now to go build homes or to serve with a medical team!  Donate generously right now to fight Cholera, clean up after Hurricane Tomas, or rebuild after the earthquake. Go to our website at URL:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Children Singing and Dancing at Udom Rescue Centre in Kenya

Udom Rescue Center in Kenya

Linda Merritt, wife of Rev. Glenn Merritt, with children at the Udom E.L.C.K. Chepareria Rescue Centre distributing crosses and and visiting with orphans.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lutheran Villages in Haiti Project Begins

Jacmel, Haiti--The beginning of the Lutheran Village concept in Haiti which will eventually build out several hundred homes using local Haitian Lutherans and LCMS volunteers from the US. April 8th, 2010

Children in Refugee Camps Need Your Help

Volunteers for LCMS congregations in the US join members of the First Lutheran Church in Jacmel as they minister to and distribute gifts to more than 300 children at a refugee camp for survivors of the January 12th earthquake. Children in this camp are at risk for diseases of all kinds and need basic items like shoes and clothing. Please help us help them, give now so that medicines, hygiene, and basic items can be purchased, shipped and distributed by the local Lutherans of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti. Consider being a volunteer, contact us at

Day 2 of Building Homes and Hope in Haiti

Building continues on the first 3 homes in Jacmel, Haiti. Consider a generous gift to help LCMS World Relief and Human Care continue the Lutheran Village concept and/or consider volunteering. Contact us at today!

Building Homes and Hope in Haiti

Building Homes and Hope in Haiti with volunteers from LCMS congregations in the US. The first of several hundred homes being built in Haiti as part of the Lutheran Village project. You can be part of this by volunteering to build in Haiti or giving a generous gift by clicking on the give now button on this page.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tsunami Aftermath in Constitucion, Chile

This video portrays the terrible power of the tsunami that struck Constitucion, Chile following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Central-South Chile on February 27th. Over 300 lives were lost in Constitucion along with hundreds of homes and businesses.

Emergency Camps outside of Constitucion, Chile

This video is an example of the type of emergency camps being set up in various locations around Chile following the devastating tsunami. This particular camp will have about 300 small temporary homes that will provide shelter for approximately 2000 people. These are very basic units with no electricity, no running water, and no sanitation. Each unit is divided into two rooms which will serve as many as 6-8 people for cooking, eating, sleeping, storage and living.

Aftermath of Tsunami in Constitucion, Chile

This is the type of devastation that occurs when 4 tsunami waves crashed into the town of Constitucion, Chile following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake of Feb 27th. The last of the 4 waves was 25-30 tall and killed more than 300 people who were dragged out to sea.

President Carlos Schumann of the IELCHI ministers to tsunami survivors in Constitucion, Chile

President Carlos Schumann along with Pastor Cristian Rautenberg minister to families in the tsunami devastated town of Constitucion. The IELCHI (Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Republic of Chile) is reaching out across Chile to those affected by the magnitude 8.8 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sanitized and Sanctified

Sanitized and sanctified—
Last week I returned home from Haiti after an especially long and dirty trip. I spent days in and out of the refuse and rubble of the lives of the victims and survivors of this devastated country. Arriving home I left my luggage and computer case in the garage while I slipped off my shoes, stripped down to my underwear, emptied all my bags on the floor, and began to sanitize everything. I loaded clothes in the washer (hot water with bleach), jumped in the shower twice (hot water and scented soap), and washed my bags (hot water and dish soap). I sprayed down everything with Lysol including myself. Everything was sanitized just the way I like it! Maybe I like it too much!
Later, sitting on my patio, sipping an ice tea imagines of the helpless and hurting flowed back into my mind in a virtual slideshow of agony and anguish. I realized I hadn’t done enough. I couldn’t do enough! Sanitizing shoes and clothes, luggage and even my body I couldn’t sanitize my heart and mind. Maybe, that is good too!
I felt ashamed and somewhat sad that my obsession with cleanliness seemed to overshadow something far more important—the sanctified life. It’s easy to get so engrossed in staying clean on the outside that the inside suffers. This season of the year, Lent, reminds me that I can’t clean up the inside. No amount of Lysol or hot soapy water will take away my selfish inclinations and sinful ways. Clean shoes, clean clothes, clean luggage and clean bodies don’t make for a clean heart and mind.
I was sanitized but was I sanctified?
It seemed to me that I hadn’t done enough, couldn’t do enough for the helpless and hurting of Haiti to make myself feel good. I wanted to go back, to do more, to do it better, and to stay until the job was finished. Perhaps that extra effort would render a clean heart and mind. If I only I did more, maybe then the dirty selfish sinful feelings inside would go away and I would feel good about myself, clean on the inside and sanctified once more.
My mind wandered to yesteryear when each Sunday at worship we would sing Psalm 51as the Offertory back in the days when the liturgy was still in vogue:
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
In my mind I could hear those words and they reminded me that being clean inside and out, being sanctified, is not my work but God’s. I ran to my desk and read from my old friends Luther’s Small Catechism and Koehler’s Summary of Christian Doctrine articles on sanctification and living the sanctified life.
I turned in my Bible to Romans, chapter 12 and read once again Paul’s words:
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
My sanitized life is a sanctified life not by what I do but because of what Christ has done and continues to do through the work of His Holy Spirit. I can clean the outside but He cleans us inside out with His sanctifying life giving word and sacraments.
I’ll go back to Haiti and I’ll get dirty again for sure! I’ll have sinful selfish thoughts and regret not doing enough again I know. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, I’ll know the difference between being sanitized and being sanctified. Clean, clean in and through Christ………..

Friday, March 5, 2010


Meeting with President Gerald Kieschnick, Dr. Jorge Groh, Dr. Douglas Rutt, Rev. Glenn Merritt are President Marky Kessa of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti and the Executive Committee on March 2-3 at a resort outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
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Marky Kessa and Revenel Benoit meet together in Port-au-Prince

On Wednesday, March 3, Rev. Marky Kessa of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH) and Rev. Revenel Benoit of the Lutheran Church of Haiti (LCH) met together in Port-au-Prince with Rev. Glenn Merritt, director of Disaster Response for LCMS World Relief and Human Care to discuss cooperative and coordinated ways of responding to the ever increasing needs in Haiti following the devastating 7.2 earthquake of January 12th. The discussions focused on 4 primary areas including the urgency of providing adequate shelter and medical care as well as beginning clean-up & rebuilding while managing the large numbers of volunteers ready to stream into Haiti.

President Kieschnick with the children at a refugee camp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Saturday, February 20, 2010

No Time to Waste!

This past week I had the opportunity to spend time with colleagues from the Dominican Republic Lutheran Mission and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Haiti while in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Throughout the week our meetings were meaningful and full with no time to waste. The week was highlighted by the Ash Wednesday worship which was rich in the gospel and sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
As recovery from the disaster in Haiti heads into its sixth week, there is no time to waste. People's lives hang in the balance and we must dedicate ourselves to prayer and ministry of the word while continuing to meet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs at every level. What an opportune time God has given us to respond with the fullness of his gospel in word and deed but there is no time to waste.
I urge you to uphold our Haitian brothers and sisters in prayer along with all those who strive to bring assistance and encouragement. I urge you also to consider giving generously your financial support or to provide material goods for the rebuilding of churches, schools, orphanages, and hospitals across Haiti. Believe me, there is no time to waste. Please help now!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Preparing for Worship

Ash Wednesday worship in the Dominican Republic

Ash Wednesday I worshipped with our Dominican Republic Lutheran Missionaries at one of their churches a few miles outside of Santiago. It was a wonderful worship service where the people welcomed us warmly. I was there with a colleague, Barb Below, from LCMS World Relief and Human Care and with President Kessa and two members of his executive council from Haiti. The service was in Spanish, Barb and I spoke English, our Haitian friends Creole and French yet the message of repentance, forgiveness, and mercy came through clearly. Even differences in language can't prevent the Holy Spirit from working.Pres. Kessa and I were asked to administer Holy Communion for which I felt somewhat ill-prepared but very privileged. The Sacrament also reaches beyond the boundaries of culture and language. It was deeply meaningful for the members of the church that we offered them Christ's body and blood. I can't begin to explain what it meant to me! After the service, they hugged us many times and thanked us for being with them. As the generator ran out of gas, we made our way downstairs to the street where cell phones provided the only light until final goodbyes were said. God is a God for all times and for all peoples. In the gospel and sacraments, there is mercy and peace for every tribe and nation on earth.

Sunday School & English Class before Ash Wednesday Worship in the Dominican Republic

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Faith Based Response to Haiti

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Something to think about!

Recently I ran across this old poem while sorting through some files. While the author remains unknown, the words have been passed down over the years. They still give us something to think about and they could easily be applied to other situations like our work, hometown, or country. Enjoy!

It Isn’t the Church—It’s You!

If you want to have the kind of church
Like the kind of church you like,
You needn’t slip your clothes in a grip
And start on a long, long hike.
You’ll only find what you left behind,
For there’s nothing really new.
It’s a knock at yourself when you knock your church;
It isn’t the church—it’s you!

When everything seems to be going wrong,
And trouble seems everywhere brewing;
When prayer meeting, young people’s meeting, and all,
Seem simmering slowly—stewing,
Just take a look at yourself and say,
“What’s the use of being blue?”
Are you doing your ‘bit’ to make things ‘hit’?
It isn’t the church—it’s you!

It’s really strange sometimes, don’t you know,
That things go as well as they do,
When we think of the little—the very small mite—
We add to the work of the few.
We sit, and stand round, and complain of what’s done,
And do very little but fuss.
Are we bearing our share of the burdens to bear?
It isn’t the church—it’s you!

So, if you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of a church you like,
Put off your guile, and put on your best smile,
And hike, my brother, just hike,
To the work in hand that has to be done—
The work of saving a few.
It isn’t the church that is wrong, my boy;
It isn’t the church—it’s you!


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