Our November Mission Partner is St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
2022 IA Mission District Youth Mission Trip – Grand Isle, LA
This past month, the Iowa Mission District Youth (including our youth: Emma A., Mikayla A., Hailey J., and Gabi S.) went down to Grand Isle, Louisiana, to aid in the disaster relief efforts of rebuilding people’s homes from last summer’s hurricane Ida. With great anticipation and enthusiasm, the youth and adults arrived on the scene, but the island was still ravaged by the effects of the hurricane over 11 months ago which gripped our hearts with sadness. We asked ourselves, “how can it be that is almost a year later and there are still buildings left in a pile of rubble and debris.” It was as if the hurricane had just happened the previous week. It was then that we knew that we were bringing so much more to these families than rebuilding their homes, we were bringing them hope.
The stories that were shared with us upon our arrival were captivating. Father Mark, the priest of Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church, who hosted us for the week, shared with us the story of the Sanctuary being hit by hurricane Ida. First, the narthex roof ripped off the building allowing the wind and rain to ravage the inside of the Sanctuary. This pushed out the altar wall and shattered the stain-glassed window behind the crucifix into a million pieces. The wind pounded against the cross, banging it against the back wall, leaving visible markings. But all the while, the crucifix remained fully intact and unscathed, which still hung on to the chains from the ceiling in the wake after the storm. Father Mark said that “the cross was visible sign that God was still with them even in the midst of this storm.” There was hope. Working at each of the job sites over the course of the week brought forth challenges amongst themselves but the word that still rang throughout was hope. We were physically, emotionally, and spiritually, bringing them all hope. Hope for a better future, hope for a secure future that they can no longer worry about each daunting task that they barely had time to do. And as we shared our stories with each other, we wept with them as they shared their struggles with us.
It is all too often that we pay attention to a certain situation when the news media is covering the stories and headlines but what about when the media has packed up and headed home? It was 11 months ago that hurricane Ida made landfall, and some of the families were just getting the help that they so desperately needed. It reminds me of one of my favorite Scriptures: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) Yes, these families waited for a time, but they waited for the Lord to renew their strength. And my prayer is that we have brought them the hope that can only be found in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Past 2021 Mission Trip
Mark your calendars for a mission trip to God Speed Equine on August 28th. The Iowa Mission District has partnered with God Speed Equine that is in Dallas Center, IA (close to Des Moines) to build a new corral because they have outgrown their existing space. First Lutheran Church in Manchester has organized the entire mission trip. They currently have 17 skid steers, over 20 UTVs, roughly 60 people signed up already. There are committees and teams for everything: food, water, placing posts, setting posts, running wire, stapling, battery exchangers, etc. You name it, there is a place for you to help out with your level of skills and interests. This is a mission trip that is already planned, we just need people to do the work now. We may even have the opportunity to make this a longer trip if anyone is interested in helping First Lutheran Church early during the week for set up. If you are interested in joining myself and a few others from Emmons, please sign up in the Narthex.