Disaster Response

Disaster Response

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)  —  Helping the hurting amid disaster

California Wildfires  |  Puerto Rico Hurricane  |  Hurricane Harvey  |  Hurricane Irma

Updated Dec. 8, 2017 — LCMS Disaster Response is focusing on long-term recovery in two areas: Texas and Puerto Rico.

For at least the next 18 months, the greatest need in Texas is for volunteers. In Puerto Rico, the greatest obstacle to recovery is the island’s crumbling infrastructure (utility services), massive unemployment and migration to the U.S., and complicated banking system.

  • California Wildfires
  • LCMS Disaster Response has reached out to the LCMS Pacific Southwest District regarding the fires in Southern California.

    The situation is changing quickly because of the winds, and a better assessment can be done once the area is declared safe.

    As of Dec. 7, three families from two churches in Ventura have been seriously affected by the fires. One pastor has been evacuated from his home.

    LCMS Disaster Response has sent spiritual care resources to the district for distribution to the hurting through local congregations. Lord willing, Disaster Response is planning a visit before Christmas to help district and local congregations put in place an action plan for response.

    • Text LCMSWILDFIRES to 41444 to make a disaster relief donation.

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  • Puerto Rico Hurricane
  • The LCMS has two full-time disaster-response coordinators in Puerto Rico, and the Synod has contracted with a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Mayagüez to provide part-time assistance.

    The LCMS response plan includes:

    1. Distributing food and items for families with young children (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.).

    2. Establishing mercy centers in Mayagüez and Ponce.

    3. Starting an English-as-a-Second-Language program.

    4. Starting a music outreach and training program for impoverished children and youth.

    5. Beginning a reroofing and home repair project.

    Although the LCMS congregation in Puerto Rico is small, it has a mature core group of members as well as an excellent piece of property.

    The Synod’s Latin America and the Caribbean region has been very supportive of recovery efforts, and the LCMS has designated $1.3 million to support the approved strategic plan.

    Gustavo Maita is organizing the LCMS response in Puerto Rico, and he has requested that all financial donations be sent to LCMS Disaster Response.

    • Text LCMSPUERTORICO to 41444 to make a disaster relief donation.


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  • Hurricane Harvey
  • LCMS Texas District

    The Synod is blessed to have a close and brotherly working relationship with Texas District leadership. Disaster Response leaders are assisting the district with dollars so they can tend to the needs of congregations, church workers and laity. So far, approximately $240,000 has been granted to the district.

    Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Southern Houston

    Gloria Dei Lutheran Church’s relief project is focused on long-term, inner-city rebuilding for low-income and underserved communities, especially Hispanic, African-American and single mothers.

    The project will focus on Dickinson, a predominantly black and Hispanic area southeast of Houston. So far, LCMS Disaster Response has provided approximately $250,000 in funding for immediate and long-term projects.

    Strategic partnerships also have been developed with:

    • Orphan Grain Train has supplied bunkhouses and funding.
    • Fuller Center, an evangelical model of Habitat for Humanity, has case managers, project coordinators, site management, volunteer managers and pre-negotiated discount materials.
    • High Socks of Hope plans to help furnish homes.
    • Lutheran Church Charities is providing comfort dogs and volunteers.
    • Multiple LCMS congregations in Houston are joining relief efforts.

    The average cost to rebuild a house from the studs is $18,000 to 25,000. Other houses will require a complete teardown and rebuild.

    In 2018, the goal is to rebuild 30 homes with a total cost of only $600,000 to 700,000. The biggest obstacle is a possible lack of volunteers.

    Salem Lutheran Church/Heart for Texas, Northern Houston

    Salem Lutheran Church operates one of the largest food banks in the city of Houston, with thousands of people served per month. Its constituents are mostly blacks and Hispanics. The church has a bilingual, multi-person staff that runs the benevolence program.

    Gulf Coast of Texas

    LCMS Disaster Response has mercy centers located in Rockport, Port Arthur, Beaumont and Corpus Christi. Dustin and Chesley Beck, along with Julie Tucker, are taking the lead on disaster-relief work in the small churches and cities along the Texas Gulf Coast.

    • Text LCMSHARVEY to 41444 to make a disaster relief donation.


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  • Hurricane Irma
  • LCMS Disaster Response is working with the LCMS Florida-Georgia District on meeting the unmet needs of pastors, congregations and laity. The district has asked the Synod to help with an after-care conference for pastors.

    • Text LCMSIRMA to 41444 to make a disaster relief donation.

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Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson, Director

  Contact Ministry



  Staff Directory

  Published Writings

  Disaster Response overview


How to Help

Give Online


  To make a credit card gift by phone, call the LCMS toll-free donor care line between 8 a.m. and 4:10 p.m. Central time at:




 Text LCMSDISASTERS to 41444


  Make checks payable to LCMS, or The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Note how you want your gift used on the memo line or in an enclosed note (such as: Disasters - where needed most, Hurricane Harvey, California Wildfires, etc.) Mail to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861


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