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Fall 2020 Lutherans Engage the World is published quarterly by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. © 2020 The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Reproduction for parish use does not require permission. Such reproductions, however, should credit Lutherans Engage the World as a source. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are property of the LCMS. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Staff David L. Strand Pamela J. Nielsen Erica Schwan Megan K. Mertz Erik M. Lunsford Lisa Moeller Chrissy Thomas Rudy Blank

executive director, communications executive editor director, design services managing editor manager, photojournalism designer designer webmaster

Cover image A seventh-grade student prays during chapel at Grace Chapel Lutheran School in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo., on Sept. 16.

PHOTO: LCMS COMMUNICATIONS/ ERIK M. LUNSFORD

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We’d love for you to join us on the journey. To be notified when new issues are posted online, visit engage.lcms.org.

Editorial Office

314-996-1215 1333 S. Kirkwood Road St. Louis, MO 63122-7295 lutheransengage@lcms.org 888-THE LCMS  |  lcms.org

Living in Faith in a Broken World Jesus said: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (R ev. 2:10). Our trials are enormous in these extraordinary days. The devastating consequences of sin and the brokenness of creation are everywhere. The members of Christ’s Body, His church, are never immune to such afflictions. It takes a resurrected Jesus authoritatively to instruct us: “Stop with the fear of future suffering.” Repent; do not fear what man can do to you in merely killing your body, but fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matt. 10:28). “The fear of the Lord” — not fear of an earthly death — “is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Your worrying is misdirected and dangerous. Anxiety over this earthly life is a contradiction of your faith in the Word of God, the very thing by which you, the righteous, live unto eternal life. Jesus speaks of being faithful — despite all miseries, grief and persecution — to a first death, the death of your body. The baptized faithful who stand on such faith unto a first death will in no way be troubled by the threat of a second, that is, eternal separation from God. Adam ate of the forbidden tree, which brought the possibility of this second death upon all who followed. But the tree of the cross flourished by the water and blood that flowed from those holy wounds inflicted upon the Son of Man. Christ the Lord caused the firstfruits of salvation to sprout up in the fallen creation, the very place where sin and evil had arisen, announcing a blessing in peace to His disciples beforehand: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). There is no better time than now for the church to redouble her commitment to God’s mission in Christ. In His hands, Rev. Kevin D. Robson Chief Mission Officer, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod


Feature

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The One Thing Still Standing Stacey Egger

After a devastating windstorm in eastern Iowa, Lutherans hold onto the thing that cannot be moved.

Feature

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Oriented Toward Christ Kevin Armbrust Even amid a pandemic, the church continues to walk by faith as new missionaries are trained and sent.

Feature

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Lutheran Education Under God’s Grace Megan K. Mertz New safety procedures enable Grace Chapel Lutheran School to continue providing a Christcentered education to children in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo.

Departments 2 A Note from the Team 3 Q&A With DCE Kristi Bauer 13 Mercy Moment

Grants assist people in Latin America.


A NOTE FROM THE LUTHER ANS ENGAGE TEAM

Things look a bit different these days.

You may be working from home, eating out less, not able to see friends and family. COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives, including the church. Here at The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s International Center in St. Louis, we’ve made some tough decisions in an effort to continue being good stewards of the gifts you’ve made to your church. One of those is to suspend the printing of Lutherans Engage the World magazine this fall. But don’t worry! The work of the church continues, and the Lutherans Engage team is still researching, writing and photographing to bring you stories of how Christ’s mercy and the Gospel are going forward — albeit in different ways during these uncertain times. Although the magazine won’t be arriving in your mailbox right now, we will continue to post the same high-quality stories to our website, engage.lcms.org, where you’ll also find additional multimedia content. The Fall 2020 issue features a story about how Lutherans are helping each other and the community in the aftermath of the devastating derecho in Iowa. There are also stories about how our church workers are meeting new challenges head on. Only the Lord knows what the future will hold, but we will continue to communicate our church’s stories to you, dear reader. We hope you’ll continue to join us on the journey by reading the magazine online. To be notified by email when new issues are posted, sign up at engage.lcms.org/subscribe. In His hands, Pamela J. Nielsen, executive editor Megan K. Mertz, managing editor Erik M. Lunsford, manager of photojournalism Erica Schwan, director of design services Kevin Armbrust, director of editorial

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Q&A

Many church buildings have been empty during the COVID-19 pandemic, but ministry has not stopped. For Director of Christian Education Kristi Bauer, who serves at Hope Lutheran Church in Hastings, Minn., it has been just the opposite. Since March, much of Bauer’s work has shifted to producing online videos for children and adults — including holding the church’s first virtual vacation Bible school. She also keeps up with members of all ages through phone calls, emails, texts, Instagram, Snapchat, socially distanced visits and in whatever other ways are needed. Bauer recently took time to chat about what her ministry has looked like during this unusual time.

Q&A WITH

DCE Kristi Bauer

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How have things changed for you since the pandemic started? If you had told me a year ago that canceling all church services and closing the church would result in 90-hour weeks and exhaustion, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are. … As far as ministry, it’s really taken it back to placing the emphasis on parents in the home to provide Christian education and formation for their children.

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PHOTOS: DAN ROTHER, KRISTI BAUER

Did you take on any new responsibilities? One of my biggest things is working with our preschool. Our church had to figure out how to do distance learning with preschoolers, and I pioneered a daily YouTube chapel time. … It kind of captured the attention of families not only in our church, but outside of our church and in the community. It was a fun faith highlight. But I would also play games, have parents on as mystery readers and do scavenger hunts. It became a little piece of normalcy in the craziness. Has the situation changed the way you work? Even now because we can’t gather as a whole, I feel like I do ministry more individually rather than in a group or in a

class. It’s a lot of text messages or side conversations or birthday drive-bys. It takes way more effort, energy and time to cover the people within the congregation. How are you encouraging faith formation in the home? This fall, we’re not doing in-person Sunday school. I’m putting together take-home Sunday school kits instead. … Church is church, but then you have the rest of your life. I’m trying to break that down to show that it’s interwoven. A

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lot of parents feel ill-equipped or underqualified to pray with their kids or have a faith conversation. I want to help parents see that the greatest gift they can give their child is Christian education and restructuring for time around God and something that’s lasting and eternal. I’m pulling from a bunch of different resources for the kits.

priority, and it really is all they had. Here in Hastings, we had no summer softball, no summer baseball, not even show choir camp. It was all canceled. Seeing them bring friends and make church a place where they want to be has been really rewarding. We’ve been here all along — they just didn’t realize it.

Have you seen any positives come out of this time? Seeing [the youth] make church a priority. It is a

Megan K. Mertz is managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World and chief copy editor for LCMS Communications.

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Check out the church’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/c/HopeofHastings/playlists Learn more about LCMS Youth Ministry: lcms.org/youth

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DCE Kristi Bauer records a video in her living room for the children of Hope Lutheran Church’s preschool.

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PHOTOS: LCMS COMMUNICATIONS/ERIK M. LUNSFORD

BY STAC EY EGGER

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After a devastating windstorm in eastern Iowa, Lutherans hold onto the thing that cannot be moved. You’ve got to have faith to make this kind of living. … What God sends you, you’re living off of that,” says Eric Franzenburg. The skeletons of Franzenburg’s greenhouses stand mangled in a row behind him. Through the empty places where their siding once was, bright flowers stick out here and there from windbeaten plants.

Trusting God Amid Loss in Rural Iowa “The thing about selling flowers is that they need to look perfect,” says Franzenburg, who raises flowers, vegetables and herbs, in addition to corn and beans. “We might be able to salvage a few of these for bouquets, and that will help.” Franzenburg has never seen a storm like this. His 81-yearold father has never seen a storm like this, either. Most farmers across this stretch of eastern Iowa would doubtless say the same. The “derecho” windstorm that tore through Iowa on Aug. 10 brought hurricaneforce straight-line winds of up to 112 mph. Within half an hour, the rural landscape changed, as flattened and

St. John Lutheran Church in Keystone, Iowa, here pictured through its broken sign, sustained damage inside and out when a massive “derecho” windstorm tore through the state on Aug. 10.

crushed barns, silos and farm equipment were spread across fields not only in Keystone, where Franzenburg lives, but across the state. Millions of acres of corn and soybeans were destroyed. “Those trailers were over there when the storm started,” Franzenburg says, gesturing toward a place 20 feet out in a bean field. Now they sit against the edge of the field, one on its side, the other’s wheels facing the sky. An old corn crib lies crumbled, its roof resting atop a heap of timber, broken crates and spilled beans. After the storm passed, the community of Keystone immediately got to work. In this farm community, the residents had access to tractors and equipment for clearing trees and rubble, and they wasted no time in doing so. Within a week of the storm, the trees and debris that had filled streets and yards in Keystone had been mostly cleared away. Neighbors helped neighbors without having to be asked. “This is right in their wheelhouse, this is how they take care of each other,” says the Rev. Andy Wright, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Keystone. “This is part of their life here. They understand this.”

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St. John’s altar still stands, although the sanctuary walls suffered water damage after the windstorm damaged the roof.


The Rev. Andy Wright, pastor of St. John, Keystone, visits with congregation member Eric Franzenburg at his damaged farm on Aug. 17, a week after a massive windstorm tore through with winds of up to 112 mph.

In a place where the COVID-19 pandemic had already wrought many changes, the storm brought even more. What could be blown away, was. But for Franzenburg and the other members of St. John, the most important things could not be blown away. On the Sunday morning following the storm, Wright led Franzenburg and over 50 other members, a sizable portion of St. John’s membership, in a worship service — as he had the week before. Gathered in the sanctuary the week before, the congregation had sung the hymn “What Is the World to Me.” Now, as he looked out at his congregation, the words to that hymn rang again in Wright’s ears.

“We went from singing that hymn and talking about the things of this world and mammon, to the next day, most of these people’s mammon was gone. And yet: ‘What is the world to me … Jesus is my treasure … my peace, my rest.’ And to think about that as we were gathering again on Sunday, having lived through the storm — it brought us back to that very thing,” says Wright. Unlike the week before, this Sunday they were gathered outside on the lawn. They could see the large hole the storm had blown through the sanctuary roof. For now, the congregation would have to find other ways to gather for church. And they did.

“I could have done a million other things, but I knew that I had to go to church.” — ERIC FRANZENBURG

“I could have done a million other things, but I knew that I had to go to church,” says Franzenburg. “It was the Holy Spirit telling me, ‘This is it. You need to be there.’ … There are a lot of distractions. They’re there every day, but it’s even worse now. And that’s the time when you feel like you’ve got to get back to where you belong.”

Inside St. John’s sanctuary, a tarp covers the railings in front of the altar. Although the ceiling beneath the damaged roof still holds, streaks from the rain are visible down the walls. Cracks are forming. Above the altar, a statue of Jesus stands with arms outstretched.

St. John’s roof also sustained significant damage.

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It reminds you that we need to give thanks to the Lord, even now.” — PRINCIPAL FRANK PARRIS

Wright surveys his empty sanctuary. A week after the storm the power is still off, and windows are open to let cool air in. “As we see and look around at the destruction and rubble, what gives us comfort is that our God is not just sitting on His throne, watching all of this happen,” says Wright. “Our God is the God who died and was laid in the tomb. It

comforts us to know that God is not far — He’s near. As we’re gathering around His Word, He’s right here with us.”

Holding onto the Mission at Central Lutheran School Sixteen miles down the road in Newhall, Iowa, Frank Parris, principal of Central Lutheran School, is standing next to what

used to be the roof of one of the school’s gyms. Now part of that roof lies upside down in a courtyard outside. The other half crashed through the wall of a neighbor’s house. “Of all the years I’ve been here, the teachers were really ready to go this year, after everything with COVID. A lot of them had their classrooms ready,” says Parris. Six of those teachers were in the school building preparing their classrooms when the storm hit. It quickly became clear that this was much more than a typical summer thunderstorm, but it was too late to leave. Gathered together in a hallway, the teachers heard the gym roof torn from the building. Through a window, they saw part of it fly across the neighbor’s lawn. Then they started to smell the gas leak. “Finally after the storm, I got in contact with the teachers who were inside,” says Parris. “‘We want out, we can’t get out, we want out,’ they kept saying.” As he recounts this story, Parris picks up a sign from amid the rubble and scattered classroom materials next to

the roof. “Give thanks to the Lord,” reads the sign, handwritten by a student in marker and smudged from the rain. “It reminds you that we need to give thanks to the Lord, even now,” says Parris. “Because it could have been worse.” A member of the school community came with a truck after the storm let up and got all of the teachers out safely. No one was injured. Parris was sitting in his truck outside his house for the duration of the storm. After it passed, it looked like everything had changed. But he was quickly reminded that one thing hadn’t. “I saw a tree fallen onto my porch and leaning on the house, and things were knocked every which way. And then I saw that the one thing still standing was the white cross that some of our teachers gave me after my father passed away. When I saw that cross, I was like, ‘OK, I’m done crying now.’ It made me refocus: That’s what really matters.” As the school works to rebuild and to remake their plans

The gymnasium of Central Lutheran School, Newhall, Iowa, lost most of its roof in the derecho.

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for the beginning of this school year, Parris is grateful that they can continue to pursue what they always have: “We have a mission statement: to assist our parents and congregations in preparing our children to be disciples here and in the life to come. It’s still the same mission. We’ve just got to figure out how to do it in these different circumstances.”

Clearing Trees in Cedar Rapids The sound of chainsaws fills the air next to Concordia Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) members call out as the last tree still standing on Concordia’s lot slowly leans and then crashes to the ground. Around it lie pieces of the many trees felled by the storm’s winds,

which the team has cut up to be hauled away. Cedar Rapids, the secondlargest city in Iowa, is inside the region of Iowa that saw the fastest and most damaging winds during the storm. A week later, trees are down everywhere. Some still rest on houses, where they fell. Homes, businesses and properties in every direction are missing shingles, siding, parts of their roofs. In many places, brand-new power poles already stand where the old ones were splintered. Within an hour of the storm, LERT volunteers from LCMS Iowa District East (IDE) were on the scene. By the next week, LERT members and other volunteers came from multiple states to assist in the recovery efforts. “If we can get our churches up and running, and our

Within an hour of the storm, LERT volunteers from LCMS Iowa District East were on the scene.

church workers up and running, that’s a key priority. But then there’s finding people who can’t get their power on until they get their trees out of the way,” says Daniel Sanchez, IDE assistant district disasterresponse coordinator. Sanchez is also director of Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca near Solon, Iowa, which is offering food and lodging for the LERT members and other volunteers, funded by grant money from LCMS Disaster Response. From Concordia’s parking lot, IDE President Rev. Dr. Brian Saunders watches the chainsaw team work. He says that it looks like this in his own neighborhood and all over town right now — trees piled up so high on every corner that it looks almost like an Iowa winter, when the streets are lined with plowed snow. “It’s a test to our resolve,” says Saunders. “Are we going to hold onto and trust God [that] what He says is true? And that is that the God of

|   L EA R N MO R E  | lcms.org/disaster

storm and wind is also the Lord of life and salvation.” The storm hit congregations especially hard after months of difficulties related to the pandemic. But it has not taken away, and cannot take away, the things that are most essential to the church — and this very fact is the church’s greatest witness, Saunders says. “These are times when the church has more opportunity than ever to witness to what it believes and confesses is true. That’s where I, as the district president, am encouraging our pastors to lay out before our congregations the importance of Divine Service,” says Saunders. “Whether it’s COVID, whether it’s no electricity, whether it’s tree damage, stand up and tell the community: The most important thing in our life is to receive the gifts of God in this place.”

Stacey Egger is a staff writer and editor for LCMS Communications.

Jason Koepnick, LERT chainsaw coordinator for LCMS Iowa District East, walks through some downed trees next to Concordia Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Aug. 17.


BY K E VI N A R MBR UST

Oriented Christ

Even amid a pandemic,

the church continues to walk by faith as new missionaries are trained and sent.

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The word “orientation” originally meant to face toward the east, where the sun rises. Though the word certainly carries more meanings now, this original meaning was evident during missionary orientation in St. Louis in early August. A small group of four new LCMS missionaries gathered — yet remained socially distanced — for an abbreviated and intense week of learning and preparing to serve our resurrected Lord and His church.

PHOTOS: LCMS COMMUNICATIONS/ERIK M. LUNSFORD

T OWA R D


The entire church stands behind these missionaries, but more importantly, their Lord’s promise to be with them “to the end of the age” is true.

The Rev. Daniel McMiller, executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission, preaches during a Service of Sending for new missionaries on Aug. 7. Deaconess Sandra Rhein

“Missionary orientation imparted an amazing, exhausting and wonderful week of learning,” noted Justin Logston, a new LCMS missionary to Belize. “Having the opportunity to attend missionary orientation in person was magnificent, and I am grateful to the LCMS International Center team for going above and beyond to give our group that chance.”

Changed by COVID-19

Barbara Rebentisch

Jordan and Justin Logston

COVID-19 changed many aspects of missionary orientation, and the staff of the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) worked to ensure the safety of all involved with this vital week. Physical spacing allowed for proper social distancing. Masks were worn

at all times. Many presenters gave virtual presentations in lieu of being in the room. Speaking about mission work in light of COVID-19, OIM Executive Director Rev. Daniel McMiller said, “The work remains the same. There are restrictions, but we have been blessed with opportunities for virtual gatherings that have been quite successful. ... I’ve asked our regional directors to develop online possibilities for meetings. We are also at this time working on many projects, including translation projects with our partner churches.” Despite masks and other precautions, the fellowship and encouragement that happened during the week blessed all those involved. “Missionary orientation was a great opportunity to network with other engage. l cms .o rg

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mission-minded people,” said Barbara Rebentisch, an LCMS missionary to Asia. “It also provided an encouraging, supportive environment in which to refine mission statements and improve communication skills.” Rebentisch, who has been living in Taiwan for many years, will serve as a Chinese theological resource developer in Chiayi, Taiwan. Her primary task will include translating theological materials into Chinese and editing those already translated. Since Rebentisch is fluent in both Chinese and English and knows Lutheran theology, she brings a needed theological eye to the resources that were previously translated. Many of these materials were translated by professional translators, most of whom were not Christian let alone Lutheran. This means that translational decisions were made that may not be in concert with biblical and confessional theology. Rebentisch also will translate new materials and serve as a translator for visiting professors and pastors. Another new missionary who attended orientation will serve as a teacher in Central Asia. To her new role, she brings decades of experience. “COVID may have caused a detour in my ultimate plan to rejoin a team as they open

a language center in Central Asia, but unplaced, willing missionaries don’t sit for long!” said the missionary, who may help pastors in Ukraine brush up on their English skills as she waits for travel to open up again. No matter where she serves, she unites her love of her Savior with her love of teaching children and shares God’s love in Christ with those in her care. Also in attendance were Jordan and Justin Logston, who will serve the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region in Belize. Jordan will work with children and outreach programs, including expanding English-as-aSecond-Language offerings and a new youth outreach program in Seine Bight. Justin will serve as a communicator for the region, providing multimedia support for the LAC.

Stepping Out in Faith During an Aug. 7 Service of Sending in the LCMS International Center chapel, McMiller told these four new LCMS missionaries that the entire church stands behind them, but more importantly, their Lord’s promise to be with them “to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20) is true as they go where He has called them.

Other missionaries, who attended orientation online or at other times, have also begun their service during these challenging times. Deaconess Sandra Rhein recently began her work as a sacred music educator for the Asia region, Rachel Krause serves as a refugee outreach missionary in Germany, and the Rev. Dr. Gerald Paul has accepted a Divine Call to serve as a missionary in the Cayman Islands. Paul will be joined by his wife, Heidi. “We are grateful for the church’s continued support of missionaries throughout the four regions of the Synod’s endeavors, and we are confident that the Lord will continue to provide,” said McMiller. “We operate in faith, following His will to send missionaries.” As the Lord Himself orients our eyes and our lives toward His love, the church goes forth in the work of His Kingdom, until Christ returns. The world continues to change, yet the promises of God remain steadfast in the cross and resurrection of Jesus, in the Word and Sacraments given to His church. And the Gospel continues to bear fruit, as a new cohort of missionaries prepare to serve in various locations around the world.

The work remains the same. There are restrictions, but we have been blessed with opportunities for virtual gatherings that have been quite successful.” — Rev. Daniel McMiller

Dr. Kevin Armbrust is director of Editorial for LCMS Communications.

|   LEARN MORE  | lcms.org/missionary Heidi and the Rev. Dr. Gerald Paul

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Rachel Krause


MERCY MOMENT

Grants Help Provide for People in Latin America PHOTOS: LCMS COMMUNICATIONS/ERIK M. LUNSFORD, HERB BURCH, OSMEL SOLIZ BERNAL, GRISELDA AGUILAR, ELVIS CARRERA

Amid COVID-19

Churches in Peru, Panama and other countries are able to provide physical and spiritual food to those impacted by the pandemic. n a part of the world where hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and the numbers continue to rise, there is something that fuels a much greater fear in people’s minds and hearts than the virus.

I

BY JA N A I N G LE H A RT

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With no running water for washing hands, they live in one-room, tin-covered huts on steep, dusty hillsides. In the poorest areas of Lima, Peru, multiple families share a common lavatory. For these families, hand sanitizer and masks cannot be a priority, as every last coin is spent on physical sustenance. Peru had one of the earliest and longest-lasting lockdowns in Latin America. Now with prolonged unemployment, the over-riding fear of starvation is palpable.

“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?’ … ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matt. 25:37–40)

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Due to the generosity of many in the LCMS, World Relief and Human Care was able to give a special $5,000 grant to the Lutheran congregations in Peru to bring not only physical food but also spiritual food to those living in poverty. With these funds, congregations created food baskets with rice, beans, oil and other provisions for those in need. In the Los Olivos congregation, members could either use the food themselves or give their basket to another family. During the food distribution, Vicar Elvis Carrera held a short Bible study with each recipient and prayed with them. “Some of them cry a lot because of their situation, but

they can see with this mercy work that God never left them alone. They come here to receive physical food, but they also receive spiritual food. They can take this home to their families,” Carrera said. “We thank God. That is the only thing we can say.” The church is able to reach out in similar ways across Latin America thanks to support from donors like you. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Panama has used a $5,800 grant from the LCMS to help meet the needs of its church workers, one of whom has been without a salary for some time due to the pandemic. The church also has provided food for congregational members and people in the community.

The Lutheran churches in Guatemala, Mexico, Chile and Uruguay have also used LCMS grants — totaling nearly $45,000 — to provide the hungry with good things from the Lord. “Please pray that our Lord will continue to work even in the midst of these challenging times to bring people closer to Him,” said Missionary Pastor Arthur Rickman, who is based in Panama. Jana Inglehart is an LCMS missionary and communications specialist for the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Top: Pastor Patricio Mora gives a bag of food to a woman in Panama. Bottom left: People receive food and other items from Pastor Osmel Soliz Bernal in Peru. Bottom right: Volunteers prepare hygiene kits to distribute in Peru.

|   L EA RN MO RE  | international.lcms.org/latin-america-caribbean

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Lutheran Education

Under God’s Grace BY ME GAN K . ME RTZ

On a recent September day, seventh-graders at Grace Chapel Lutheran School in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo., studied the parts of a plant cell, while kindergarteners practiced sight words down the hall. It was a normal school day — or as normal as it can be when everyone in the building is wearing masks and some students attend class via videoconferencing. Of Grace Chapel’s 120 elementary-age students, 40 students’ families opted for virtual learning in Fall 2020. “It’s been pretty challenging. It definitely takes a lot of extra time, a lot of extra planning,” fourth-grade teacher Daneen Hanson said of prepping for both sets of students while also navigating the inevitable technology issues that have arisen. Yet, Grace Chapel’s teachers and staff members have met these challenges head-on and are providing the best Lutheran education possible

while adhering to rigorous new procedures, including daily health screenings, constant mask usage and lunch delivery directly to kids in their classrooms. “We’re trying to keep each class self-contained, including bathroom breaks, recess and lunch,” said Principal Eric Brofford. Teachers also have to remind students — especially the younger ones — to wear their masks properly and stand patiently in the designated spots along the hallway. “Social distancing and no sharing is hard … of course the kids gravitate toward each other,” Hanson said. “They want to play, and they want to be with each other.” Despite these challenges, Brofford said the school didn’t even consider going all virtual. “School is a safe place for our students, a place where they feel comfortable,” and a place where God’s Word is shared even amid a pandemic.

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Top left: Daneen Hanson, fourth-grade teacher at Grace Chapel Lutheran School in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo., assists a student with in-class work. Top right: Eighth-grade teacher Emmi Forbes conducts class for both in-person students and students attending virtually. Above left: A student prays during chapel. Above right: Sharon Schmidtke helps a student in the library. Below: The Rev. Eric Stacy, associate pastor of Grace Lutheran Chapel, leads chapel at the school.


Top right: Students head to class after chapel. Below: Third-grade teacher Rebecca Little monitors a classroom activity. Below left: Students run around during P.E. class. Bottom left: Seventh-grade teacher Stacy Lloyd instructs students on plant biology. Bottom right: Lunches are delivered to classrooms as part of the school’s new social-distancing procedures.

PHOTOS: LCMS COMMUNICATIONS/ERIK M. LUNSFORD

LEARN MOR E: lcms.org/schoolministry

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YOU are making a difference and changing lives with the Gospel and Christ’s mercy. To be notified by email when new articles are available, visit engage.lcms.org/ subscribe.

Free church art celebrates our Lutheran heritage The congregations of The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod have a rich heritage of visual art depicting God’s plan in Jesus Christ for the salvation of His people. The LCMS has made hundreds of these photographs of stained-glass windows, crucifixes and other treasures available for congregations and schools to use for free as they proclaim God’s love in Christ.

Visit lcms.org/church-art-gallery to view the searchable gallery.

Profile for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Lutherans Engage the World | Fall 2020  

Things may be a bit different these days due to COVID-19, but the work of the church continues.

Lutherans Engage the World | Fall 2020  

Things may be a bit different these days due to COVID-19, but the work of the church continues.

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