LCMS offers support, prayers for flood victims in the Philippines
ST. LOUIS—December 21, 2011—The The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), through its World Relief and Human Care ministry, has provided an initial grant of $25,000 to help support flood victims in the Philippines. The grant will provide for immediate needs including food, water, clothing and shelter.
By Tuesday, the official death toll had climbed to 1,000 people and many are still missing after Tropical Storm Washi struck the Philippine island of Mindanao in the early morning of Dec. 17.
Some 40,000 people have been evacuated from their homes as residents scramble to recover from the severe flooding now affecting more than 120,000 people there, including members of the LCMS partner church, The Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP). The LCP has congregations in Cagayan de Oro – reported to be one of the hardest-hit areas – and Iligan. Both cities are located on the northern coast of Mindanao.
LCP officials report that many of the church’s members have lost their homes. Plans are developing for an assessment team to visit the affected areas immediately after Christmas to evaluate how the LCP might carry out relief ministry.
As the news continues to unfold, the LCMS plans to closely monitor the situation and stay in contact with the LCP and LCMS missionaries in Asia.
The LCMS also is working toward a collaborative response with Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, to offer long-term assistance in the hardest-hit regions.
LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said the LCMS is “committed to walking alongside The Lutheran Church in the Philippines as its leaders and members seek to bring the mercy of Christ to their neighbors in need.”
The LCMS began work in the Philippines in 1946. In 1971, The Lutheran Church in the Philippines became an LCMS partner church. As last reported, the LCP had 23,000 baptized members in 190 congregations and preaching stations and a national staff of 301 pastors, evangelists, lay preachers and teachers
At present, Sean Harlow is the only resident LCMS missionary serving in the Philippines. Harlow communicated over the weekend that he is safe and lives far away from the affected areas. He asks Lutherans to pray for those affected and that the LCP congregations in the area would be lights that point people to the Gospel of Christ in the midst of so much suffering.
Help from LCMS members is “urgently needed,” said the Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, director of disaster response for the LCMS, “to bring mercy and witness to those who have been affected.”
To make a donation for Lutheran relief efforts in the Philippines, mail checks (payable to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, noting "Philippine Floods" in the memo line) to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861, or call toll-free 888-930-4438. To learn more about the LCMS’ response in the Philippines, visit www.lcms.org/floodrelief/Philippines.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit www.lcms.org.