Christian Aid and Relief | WELS Christian Aid and Relief


together-humanitarianaid_0At its June meeting, WELS Christian Aid and Relief approved grants worth $324,460 for fiscal year 2014-15 humanitarian aid in home and world mission fields.

“Many of the people we wish to reach with the gospel in our world mission fields have great physical needs,” says Rev. Robert Hein, chairman of WELS Christian Aid and Relief. “They lack fresh water, medical care, food and nutrition. Christ’s love compels us to lend a helping hand in their time of need. As our missionaries provide humanitarian aid, they also develop caring relationships with the people of their communities. As we build relationships, we also build bridges to proclaim the gospel to them.”

This is the third year in a row that grant money for humanitarian aid has increased. “We rejoice that God has moved the hearts of his people to provide the special gifts needed to increase our funding of humanitarian aid grants,” says Hein. “We are eager to ‘tell our stories’ of how humanitarian aid is building bridges for the gospel, and the members of WELS have responded generously.” Christian Aid and Relief relies entirely on special gifts and is not funded through Congregation Mission Offerings.

Hein says more aid also is being distributed because there are more opportunities. Besides continuing aid in countries like Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Russia, Mexico, Haiti, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Japan, new projects are being funded in Thailand and the Dominican Republic.

A new project here in the United States is refugee/immigrant outreach in Las Vegas, Nev. Several WELS churches in Las Vegas have been working with Chapel of Improvement Christian Fellowship, a group of 90 souls from 16 different African nations being served by two men who are training to be WELS pastors through the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI).

“Pastor Isaac David (one of the men we are training with PSI materials) was himself the first African refugee brought to Las Vegas through the immigration agency ten years ago,” says Rev. Matthew Vogt, pastor at Water of Life, Las Vegas, Nev. “Now he and the other refugees he serves feel blessed to be in a position to pass on the Lord’s kindness to them by showing the love of Christ to the newest refugee immigrants. They seek to share the love of Christ by providing useful items as a gift from the church to help these families set up a home, which will then also—prayerfully—serve as a wonderful bridge to the gospel and an opportunity to witness to Christ’s love for us.”

With grant money from Christian Aid and Relief, this African ministry hosted a gathering July 4 for 35 new immigrant families. Each family received a voucher that they could use to buy discounted household items. Says Vogt, “A number of those families have since been attending the church for worship and Bible study.”

Christian Aid and Relief works closely with the WELS Boards for Home and World Missions, WELS missionaries, and sister congregations in the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference in determining humanitarian aid grants. It also provides money for disaster relief efforts and people dealing with extreme medical emergencies, distributing more than $300,000 in 2013 for these purposes.

To learn more about the work of Christian Aid and Relief, watch this month’s edition of WELS Connection or go to

The WELS’ Wells of Tadipatri

Dedication of India Well

Dedication of Bethany Calvary Lutheran’s new well – May, 2014

WELS Christian Aid and Relief supports Gospel bridge building projects in India and around the world. Danamiah, his congregation and the people in Tadipatri, Andhra Pradesh are just a few of the people who are benefiting from the generosity of our WELS members. Through the giving and building of this well, there is clean water to drink and, at the same time, the living water of the gospel is able to be shared with the people dying from spiritual thirst.

The Samaritan woman of John 4 was very familiar with the well outside the village of Sychar. She carried water from it every day. But she had a greater need. She needed living water from the Gift of God. Through the power of Jesus’ words she got it.

A gospel worker named Danamiah from Tadipatri, Andhra Pradesh, India had the opposite problem. He had freely dispensed living water for a number of years. He had gathered a group of believers on the edge of Tadipatri. Through the generous donation of an individual, the group was able to construct a humble worship facility and parsonage. The land wasn’t great, but you couldn’t beat the price. It was free. The only problem was that lots of living water was being dispensed, but there was no regular water to drink.

Danamiah’s land was near a railroad track and across the road from a government “new colony.” “New colonies” are government land development sites in which lots are given away and foundations are put in, if people agree to finish the house themselves. Electricity and city water will follow at an indefinite time in the future. That future never came for the empty colony across the street from Danamiah’s parsonage and church. With no drinking water available, Danamiah’s family and congregation had to order water from a government truck. It was expensive and its purity was questionable.

Danamiah & Wife

Danamiah and his wife in front of Bethany Calvary Lutheran Church

There is one more interesting piece of the story that led to Danamiah and his church being approved for a WELS Humanitarian Aid well. At a time when salary subsidy to gospel workers was being cut back by our mission board, Danamiah came in one day and said, “Stop giving me subsidy. Give it to someone who needs it more. My congregation can support me. God will take care of us.” Now there’s a faithful worker with a faith-filled service attitude!

So when Danamiah applied for a well installation in his neighborhood, he was approved. His family and his congregation now have clean drinking water. They no longer have to buy it from the government. If the new colony develops across the road, the neighbors too can help themselves to water from the well put in by WELS. And living water from Danamiah and his congregation will also be available. That too is free of charge!

Sharing God’s Word

Beaver DamPastor Briones and family recently had the opportunity to travel to the United States for two weeks. While there, they gave presentations with regard to the mission work in Mahahual. Some of the people to whom they presented were the students of a Lutheran gradeschool, the ladies at an LWMS circuit rally, the Sunday school children and an adult Bible study group. It was a blessing to be able to share the ministry with all of these people.

One of the joys of the presentations was the chance to share one of our most recent projects – something called Proclaimers. This is a device with the New Testament recorded on it (in our case in Spanish). It can be charged by crank, outlet, or solar panel. As we work with many adults who cannot read, the Proclaimers are a godsend. Pastor Briones gives a Bible study with these folks once a week, but now they have the means to listen to God’s Word all week long. You can read more about these devices at

One of the gentleman who has been listening to the Proclaimer commented, ¨It’s the pure Word of God. That’s what is important.¨

Please continue to pray for God’s Word to take root in many hearts here in Mahahual.

Blood, Sweat and Capri Sun

Pastor Roebke

Lamb of God, Madison, Ala., pastor Rev. John Roebke shares his account of the recent tornadoes.

Last night, I hunkered down in a storm shelter for two hours with about 150 of my neighbors as tornados tore through North Alabama. People were scanning the Internet with their smartphones, desperate for the latest damage reports. While there was the occasional crying child, for the most part everyone maintined a civil tone. Shelter volunteers waded through the sea of humanity with pitchers of cool water. Their hospitality is greatly appreciated.

As we waited for the atmosphere to settle, I wondered what was waiting back at our cul-de-sac. Missing shingles? Stripped off siding? Splintered wood? Thankfully, all was as we left it – with the exception of our supper, which in our haste was left for the cats to devour.

But others did not fare as well. On a country road about 20 miles west of my home, I saw downed trees and power lines, mud-splattered homes, debris fields and a bare spot where a trailer once stood. Thanks be to God, there were no fatalities on that stretch of road. I was not there to gawk, snap and post, but rather to offer cleanup supplies and our church’s sympathies and prayers. I thank WELS Christian Aid & Relief for the funds to purchase these supplies, as well as our church members for putting these “tornado tubs” together.

In the big picture, this was only a small gesture – but it was greatly appreciated. One resident shared how a neighbor and her daughter had driven up and down the street offering pouches of CapriSun drink to their neighbors. In the midst of tragedy and terror, even the smallest acts of kindness bring relief.

Jesus said, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42) Whether it’s a cup of cool water, a bin of cleaning supplies or a plastic pouch of sugar water, we have so many opportunities to show Christian love to others. Whatever it may cost us in time or money to serve others, it certainly will not cost us the place Jesus purchase for us with his holy, precious blood. That is the most precious gift of all.


Spring Storms Sweep South

Dear Lord God, Heavenly Father,

We entrust to your loving care the people affected by the tornadoes in the southern United States.

Bless the relief efforts. Help these hurting families to rebuild their homes and lives. These times of tragedy remind us that we live in a fallen world. Help us to look to you alone as our source of strength and security in a world of hardship. We pray that the hurting people affected by this disaster would turn to you as their refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Amen.

The news has reported 27 people confirmed dead with the latest tornadoes that have swept through the Midwest and South. Many small towns and rural areas have been heavily damaged with the possibility of additional damaging storms in the forecast.

Mark Vance, Director of Operations for WELS Christian Aid and Relief, has been in contact with our WELS congregation, (King of Kings, Pastor Weiss) in Little Rock, AR. He shares that the church facilities and all the members are unharmed. There is one snowbird member who lost both his home and car to the storm. In addition, the surrounding community was heavily damaged and 6 people were killed. The congregational leadership is assessing the affected member’s immediate needs and how they can assist with community recovery. WELS Christian Aid and Relief has offered emergency funding and made them aware of the resources that are available.

WELS Christian Aid and Relief thanks God for your support and prayers on behalf of all who have been affected by the storms.