Kathleen Childers 2016-08-13 01:37:36
READY TO RESPOND Disaster training provides a way for a church and its community to help at home and beyond. MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA—Most people don’t want to think about facing a disaster. It’s bad enough when a hurricane, flood or tornado strikes, so why dwell on it when you don’t have to? Risen Christ Lutheran Church sees it differently. “Our congregation is truly committed to wanting real ways to respond to disasters,” says Pastor John Kassouf. It stems from the idea that providing disaster training allows people in a community to take care of others, as well as their own families, in an emergency. But how do you organize disaster training? Church member Susan Heitmuller worked with Kassouf to bring in experts from the local community, including the fire department and a meteorologist, for a weekend event. Thrivent Financial Representative Caroline CampbellTwentier helped. And Liz DeMik, a church leader and volunteer disaster coordinator of the Southeastern District of The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod, provided the core of the training. DeMik, who does this kind of training a couple of times each year, uses the Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) manual. It has a theological component of serving others as Christ serves us, and it also covers what to do in a variety of disaster situations. “The training teaches how to set up a system so that a congregation knows how to reach out to its members as well as its neighbors,” says DeMik. “And it teaches what flood buckets are, the need to have an emergency supply kit at home and how to connect with local disaster resources and agencies to serve the community.” The event, a Thrivent Action Team project, was publicized to the Myrtle Beach community and held at the church. Nearly 60 people attended. Thrivent Action Team seed money was used to promote the training, to purchase food for the training and to stock backpacks for each participant (donated by Thrivent) with emergency supplies. The training, it turns out, was just the beginning. Risen Christ now has a disaster response team, which meets regularly. It’s planning a disaster awareness effort this fall. And now it’s looking at organizing annual mission trips to places where people have had disasters. THE LUNCH BUNCH RICHFIELD, MINNESOTA—Many hands made light work at a Thrivent Action Team project at St. Richard’s Catholic Church. Seventy-five volunteers from the church and the community assembled more than 1,500 bag lunches at a Lenten event organized by Julie Kraus, with help from Ted Vickerman, Thrivent Financial representative. Children and adults worked side by side putting carrots, cookies, sandwiches, chips and a message of love into decorated bags. Lunch supplies came from personal donations and Thrivent Action Team seed money. The lunches were delivered to Sharing & Caring Hands, a Minneapolis service organization. Leftover supplies were donated to a local food shelf. Help From Within CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA—When her adult son Danny suffered an injury that left him a quadriplegic, Carolyn Kruelle Schuett was quickly overwhelmed. Dealing with the mounting medical bills was taking a toll. Seeing her need, Thrivent member Karen Fabean and other members of Carolyn’s church, Messiah Lutheran, organized a free-will offering. Then they held a luncheon, a Thrivent Action Team project formed by Fabean. The seed money purchased pizza, salad and brownies to serve and three gift baskets to give away. Seventy people attended and donated $6,500. The money will be used to help with Danny’s nursing care and medical needs. FAST FOR FILTERS FORT MYERS, FLORIDA—A trip to Guatemala during seventh grade inspired David Mahan to make a difference in the lives of that country’s people. Mahan, now a senior at Bishop Verot High School, and his mother recently led multiple Thrivent Action Team projects at his school in support of this cause. His goal was to educate students about the needs in Guatemala and raise money to purchase water filters for residents. Mahan created a presentation about poverty and malnourishment. He also designed an activity to teach students about hunger. And he organized a Fast-A-Thon fundraiser, where students fasted for all or part of a day. His efforts raised awareness and $6,100, enough to purchase 300 filters. Missions Accomplished PHOENIX—Nearly 200 members of Christ Lutheran Church reached out to the local and global community last spring when the church held a City Missions Day. They worked on four Thrivent Action Team projects that would benefit the Phoenix area and beyond. The Thrivent Action teams created Bible characters for felt boards to send to Cambodia, made sack lunches to hand out to the homeless community in Phoenix, organized a room at the church where low-income families come to get children’s clothing, and set up the church gym for a musical to be performed for the larger community. HATS FOR CANCER FORT WAYNE, INDIANA—Marilyn Winn, her 92-year-old aunt and five friends from Emmanuel Lutheran Church are waging their own battle against cancer. Their weapons are needles and hooks. For the past two winters, the group has formed Thrivent Action Teams to knit and crochet hats in a variety of styles for men and women receiving cancer treatment. The Thrivent Action Team seed money is used to purchase supplies. The first winter they made 115 hats; this past winter they made more than 200. The hats, some of which featured flowers, bows and other whimsical touches, were donated to the oncology department of Lutheran Hospital, where the staff is delighted to give them to patients. Quilting for Good CROSBY, MINNESOTA—Laura Gottschalk has been hand-stitching quilts much of her life, and she intends to continue. That’s admirable for anyone, but especially for her: Laura turned 100 this year. This centenarian sees no reason to slow down; instead, she’s getting more resourceful— she turned her church quilting group into a Thrivent Action Team (with a little help from her son Mark, a Thrivent Financial representative) and used the seed money to purchase supplies. These women meet every Tuesday to make quilts for men’s and women’s shelters, a church camp and other nonprofits. Some quilts are donated; others are auctioned off. Last year, they sold 27 quilts, raising more than $3,500 for the camp. YOU CAN TRY THIS, TOO! Do you think one of these activities would work in your congregation or community? Get more details from the members below: READY TO RESPOND Susan Heitmuller firstname.lastname@example.org THE LUNCH BUNCH Julie Kraus Julie@mfkcpa.com 952-679-2059 HELP FROM WITHIN Karen Fabean email@example.com 803-431-7425 FAST FOR FILTERS David Mahan firstname.lastname@example.org 239-834-8498 MISSIONS ACCOMPLISHED Lynne McGinley email@example.com 480-688-1754 HATS FOR CANCER Marilyn Winn firstname.lastname@example.org 260-447-3300 QUILTING FOR GOOD Mark Gottschalk email@example.com 804-794-4600 GET INVOLVED! There are many ways to live generously. Whether you want to volunteer your time or donate money, Thrivent has a wide range of programs available to members. Find out more at Thrivent.com/livegenerously. You can share your stories and photos with us at Thrivent.com/magazine/stories. Kathleen Childers is assistant editor of Thrivent magazine.
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