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"What good is it, my brothers (and sisters), if we claim to have faith but no deeds?  Can such a faith save us? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."  Book of James 2:14-17
 
Jesus brought a free gift to us in the salvation from sin and death for those who simply have a faith that it is true.  Once this is understood and assimilated to the very core of our being there is a change from the inward to the outside. And that change is action on the behalf of God the Father.  "You see that a person is justified by what he does (with their faith) and not by faith alone."  
 
Martin Luther knew this well and stated that you are justified (declared righteous before God) by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.
 
Deeds matter and you, the congregation, have acted. In conjunction with Grace Lutheran of Waynesboro, the medical clinic is thriving in one of the most remote parts of the Western Hemisphere.  The tangible part of this is your support of $28,000 a year.  This is solely by extra donations from you! (it is not covered by your annual Stewardship Pledge), to pay salaries, buy equipment, decrease the co-pay amounts for patients and supply regular daily medicines from the only pharmacy within a three hour very rough drive-if you can afford a ride.  
 
By doing this you have acted on your faith.


Questions and Answers on Haiti

Questions and Answers on Haiti

What did we decide?  During the seven weeks of Epiphany in 2023, the Global Missions Team talked about the significance of the Epiphany, and what it means to us as christians in regards to our generosity to those who have relatively little and struggle for existence.  We had been made aware of four unique projects in Haiti and now you, the congregation, have chosen one to support.  We are, of course, open to the support of more than one project.

The Stipend for a Doctor, a Nurse and a Stocked Pharmacy for a Year has been chosen by You. After voting was concluded on January 19th, the tally supported this program by the majority of the those voting.  What this will mean is that for the first year of support, at a cost of $24,000, there will be a Monday through Friday presence on the southern shore of the island of a regular, properly certified nurse. Having the same nurse available everyday at the same location is invaluable for the patients care. They will get to know each patient over the weeks and months of operation.  This will allow them to see who has changed, gotten worse and who simply needs a few questions answered.  They will be able to do diabetic teaching and testing, reassess blood pressures, wounds, infections and injuries.

 This also means that there will be a primary care doctor present several times a week. They too will learn the patients and be able to do continuing care of diabetic leg ulcers, follow pediatric seizures, manage congestive heart failure and treat infections and gastric ulcers.

 And lastly, enough support to stock the pharmacy with regular Hypertension, COPD, Antibiotics and Diabetic medicines so that there will be continuous control of these maladies. This will dramatically reduce the rates of stroke, infections, shortness of breath and permanent deformity from untreated injuries.

 How do I make a donation?  You may make out a check to the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church at 26 West Boscawen St, 22601 ℅ Global Missions Team or Click the “Give Now” button in the Green Block below where it says “Give Online.” Other gifts of Appreciated Stock or other investments, Required IRA distributions or Annuities are welcome. Contact the church directly for those.

 Why does this matter?      It matters to you. Why? Because this is the Epiphany season that has a beginning tied to the Baptism of Jesus and an ending tied to the Transfiguration. Think about this: Christmas was all about Jesus as fully human. Epiphany however is about His becoming fully divine. Jesus had two sides to Him then and you have two sides to you now. You certainly are fully human and as a new creation in Christ, you have begun your life in the divine with Jesus. As this changed person, you see the poor differently. Remember Jesus’s first words when His ministry finally became public:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.   He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:16–21).

It is clear that the Haitians are poor, and in the Americas, THE poorest. He came for them first.

Who benefits from this Global Missions Project? The humans that walk that island shore right now will feel this as a lift. You will be sharing their yoke just as Jesus offers to do for us. Their daily burden will therefore be lighter. You will play a part in relieving suffering.  It is this goal that demonstrates our response to the free gift of grace from the act of Jesus on the cross.

Isn’t Haiti beyond help?     Can you imagine Jesus making such a declaration? No, never. For just as it was the mission of Christ to bring the Good News of salvation to the lowly, it is also ours to bring the same hope to the poor today. We are His hands and the stewards of His money. While the news from Haiti is depressing, the gangs, the failed state, the violence, there is a more profound spiritual undercurrent going on in Haiti. There are people and organizations who care deeply for their fellow Haitians. There are churches that work ceaselessly to educate, to feed, to provide healthcare along with the eucharist to those who hunger for it. No one is beyond hope, no one beyond the gift of grace and salvation. It is up to us to see past the dirt, the inept government, the wicked behavior of gangs, and see the face of Christ in each Haitian. It is up to each of us to give them hope. To show them that good will prevail and that Christ’s love is abiding and stronger than any man made suffering they must endure.

A PRAYER FOR THE PEOPLE OF HAITI

Good and gracious God, in Jesus Christ you give us a new vision of your gacre and generosity that calls us to love our neighbors near and far. Help us to show your love to our sisters and brothers in Haiti through our gifts and resources that will provide hope and well being for their future. Open our hearts and eyes to see and and respond in love as we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are blessed to have resources to give to BUILDING TOMORROW BY GRACE. Help us to see that we are called to give from our abundance to bless those in Haiti who are also building for a new tomorrow in God’s grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

 

Medical Clinic ~ Status of the Project

Updates and Implementation of the Project

November 2023

For the first time we have been able to offer basic dental care to the villagers. Most of us take for granted what it means to have a pain free mouth that is full of teeth that effectively work to chew all sorts of foods. Walking around with chronic soreness and infection can lead to insomnia, depression and even infected heart valves.  Now we are providing periodic professional care for these problems.

October 2023

 What does this picture mean to you?

 The average driving distance for anyone in America from home to a pharmacy is 10 miles.  The average time to get there is 13 minutes.  It is taken for granted that for the most part your pharmacy is well stocked.  This "pharmacie" (Creole) is fully stocked and for those in the village of Sous á Philippe, it is a five minute walk across the village.  If the pharmacie was not present there would have to be a trip to find one.  The next closest would be by a road across the island that resembles a dry creek bed. Driving at 5 MPH over land to the City of Anse-a-Galets, a distance of 15 miles, takes three hours.  Imagine making that round trip every month to treat your blood pressure?  Convenience supports daily compliance and it is simply that compliance with a daily regimen that will be the deciding factor in preventing stroke, kidney and heart failure.  This IS making a difference.

 Here we are--already now five months into sponsoring the medical clinic that is not only the pharmacy but provides the care and attention of a doctor, a nurse and soon to be a lab in support of that care.  In that amount of time we have treated many maladies that include Flu, Rashes, Pregnancy, Intestinal Parasites, Anemia, Hypertension, Eye diseases, Burns, and Kidney Stones.  Our lab soon will have a centrifuge to diagnose and follow anemia, a microscope to diagnose and follow blood, urine and other bodily fluid diseases. With a glucometer we will find diabetes and wrest that under control.

 These are pragmatic, measurable, and life changing interventions made possible by your dedication to doing justice. Does not God ask us if we notice the disparities?  Are we not to be about the Lord's work?

We welcome a new partner in the righteous cause of God's work. Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church of Waynesboro has generously donated $2,500.  We look forward to getting to know our gracious partners there in this endeavor.

Donations To Date ~ $23,516

  • Grace Winchester:     $21,016
  • Grace Waynesboro:     $2,500
Our Haitian Medical Staff
Personnel at SAP Medical Clinic.    

Epiphany Season Support for Haiti

Our Focus for 2023 - 2028

Temple talk from Sunday, January 29, 2023

Grace Global Missions Team Presents: The Case for Support of the Medical Clinic"

Grace Global Missions Team Presents: Solar Electrification of the Sous á Phillippe Medical Clinic


Resettlement History and Needs

Current Needs in our Refugee Resettlement Efforts

June 2023

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Our congregation has a long history of assisting refugees through the years. We have always been willing and ready to open our hearts and offer our hands to help our brothers and sisters in need of a safe place to live their lives without constant fear.  

Many of us remember our more recent involvement with the Alnajar family we welcomed from Syria several years ago.  They are doing very well and are citizens and fully involved in the community.

Today we continue this outreach through our Global Missions efforts.

Currently Church World Services is working diligently in Winchester to help relocate refugees from Afghanistan and Syria primarily.  Families are arriving on a regular basis fleeing from war, political strife and persecution.  CWS is providing them with housing, employment opportunities, assistance with arrangements for medical care, transportation, and help with establishing themselves in the community with a goal of independence.

Our role as a congregation has gone from being the single source of arrangements for a single refugee family to one part of a larger interfaith community supporting over a hundred refugees under the guidance of Church World Services.

There are numerous ways we can serve today.  I have personally felt a calling to spend my time mostly transporting clients to various locations from CCAP, to medical appointments, to the DMV, to the bank to open accounts, to grocery stores, to the laundromat to name some. It is a joy and at times a challenge to help them learn how to become more independent and to feel comfortable in their new environment.

Your help is needed and there are so many opportunities to provide that help.  

If you are interested in hands on work it is needed.  Please just reach out to either myself    540-664-1754 or Kyle Hayes 540-824-8630 at Church World Services.    If you are not able to give of your time your financial help is needed both in kind donations and gift cards for groceries, or a cash donation.

God is calling us to reach out to these families who are struggling to make new lives in a foreign land.  Can  you answer in some small way?

Your Sister in Christ,

Joyce Ray

Extensive History of our Church's Resettling of Refugees

History of refugee resettlement at Grace Lutheran Church, 1950 to the present. 

 Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Winchester has had a long history of supporting and sponsoring refugees over the past 67 years. Grace has sponsored a total of 8 families including 40 individuals. Now working with Church World Service in a partnership with other area congregations, over 160 refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, and Honduras have been assisted in the past year alone. 

 Starting in 1956, Grace sponsored the Kendziorra family from Germany. A former German POW, Mr. Kendziorra, his wife and 5 children came to Winchester and worked to begin their new life here. 

 In 1975, 3 Cambodian Naval Officers and crew escaped the Khmer Rouge and found their way to Winchester via Lutheran Immigrations Services. One of those gentlemen still lives in Winchester, though he has declined our overtures of recognition, preferring to live as an "ordinary Joe" in our community. Now retired from the health field, his children have flourished and have moved around the country as he continues to enjoy his ordinary Joe life in the valley. 

 In 1979, the Huynh family (Vietnamese / Chinese refugees) of 7 came to Winchester under the support of Grace Lutheran and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. Survivors of the "boat people" evacuation from Vietnam, members of the congregation remember their time with the family as they worked to learn English over the dinner table. The last known contact with Tho and Trinh found them working at Winchester Medical Center and local restaurants in food service with the teenage girls going to engineering school from Handley. 

 In 1982, two Polish couples were sponsored by Grace as Pastor Koons planned his retirement. Proud of what the congregation was willing to take on without pastoral leadership, Pastor Koons was gone when two families including one small child came to Winchester via Grace Lutheran Church. Coached in English at Grace, coached in childbirth by a nurse from Grace, one of the families George and Ursula Nazarewicz, went on to Alabama with the US Air Force and recently gifted the congregation with $ that is presently be used in support of refugee services in Winchester today. 

 In 1986, seven members of the Laotian Souvannasoth family moved to Winchester, sponsored by Grace with the assistance of members Shelda and Lt Col James Longerbeam, a colleague of Langsanh Souvannasoth's from their collaboration in the US and Laotian Armies. The Souvannasoth's moved to Minnesota after a short stay in Winchester when professional opportunities became available. 

 In 1988, the Troung family came to Winchester from Vietnam as Amer-Asian children and their families were given the opportunity to immigrate to the United States to escape the prejudice against them in Vietnam. The family has prospered, with their youngest son Min Bah still living in Winchester and raising a family. 

 In 2016, Grace saw a need to assist with the resettlement of Syrian refugees and reached out to Church World Services. In August, the Alnajar family arrived from a refugee camp in Jordon; Emad, Eman, and their four children. Working with a core team of volunteers from Grace, Winchester Public Schools, Beth El Congregation and the wider community, Grace was able to address the family's needs in a comprehensive manner. If anything, we may have gotten carried away and made them too dependent on us. Still in Winchester, the oldest son graduated for Handley with Honors and now attends Shenandoah University. The family members are now American citizens. 

 In 2022, Church World Services Harrisonburg office and a coalition of congregations reached out to Grace for our most recent experience resettling refugees in the area. Instead of working independently, congregations have been encouraged to have volunteers sign up for duties including; set up and furnishing homes, buying initial groceries, initial transportation to doctors and health department offices, initial transportation to work, etc. The new members of our community now have homes and work, full cupboards when they arrive, bicycles to get where they need to go, and a vision that helps them succeed. Now with a Winchester office, Church World Service and the faith community around Winchester has resettled families and individuals, many anticipating the day when their families can join them here in our community, now their community, their home. 

David Ray

 

Japan Mission

Global Missions Team Article for December Tidings

As members of Grace’s Global Mission Team acquainted with at least a few ELCA missionaries around the world and always interested to learn about the work of the Church when we travel abroad, Joyce and I were able to visit Carol and Jim Sack in Tokyo during a trip in October.

The Sacks, ELCA missionaries to Japan since 1982 and supported in part by Grace’s benevolence gifts to the ELCA Global Missions fund, have been providing hospice care, prison ministry, and education leadership in their roles as missionaries.

Left to right in the photo:  Hiro Takenaga, Joyce Ray, David Ray, Carol Sack, Jim Sack, and Keiko Takenaga

Carol began her current work in hospice care after getting training in Music Thanatology / Pastoral Harp over 20 years ago. An enthusiastic proponent of the harp, Carol sings the Psalms to the dying accompanied by her Celtic harp. Explaining to us that the Greek word psallein originally meant “to pull” or “to pluck”, it came to be used meaning “to play a stringed instrument”, much as David did for King Saul, soothing him while in distress. Carol is not a trained musician. She has however, trained over 20 individuals in Japan to extend her ministry to the dying. You can hear more about her work on YouTube by going to https://www.jela.or.jp/en/ and click on English. The videos are long, I suggest starting with the 2nd in the series of 3.

The Rev. Dr. James Sack, Carol’s husband, teaches at Japan Lutheran College at the undergraduate level as well as in the seminary in the areas of pastoral care, counseling, Christian Anthropology, and Clinical Psychology in the areas of spirituality and counseling. Away for the college, Pastor Sack goes into the Japanese penal system and ministers to international prisoners convicted of drug smuggling into Japan. His stories of Japanese rules and the harsh penalties for infractions were harrowing. You can see more about Japan Lutheran College at https://www.luther.ac.jp/.

The Sack’s days as missionaries ended “officially” in March of 2023. They have been granted an extension as they restore a 150 year old, thatched roof, farm house in Nagano to be their home in retirement. Their children and grandchildren live in Japan, they intend to stay close to family.

Wanting to continue the tradition of support for Japanese missionaries that Grace has maintained since 1892, we have been in contact with the Rev. Dr. Franklin Ishida, ELCA Director for Asia and the Pacific. We have made it clear to Rev. Ishida that we want to be engaged with and maintain contact with specific missionaries or projects so that we can report to the congregation the work that is being done on a regular basis. We look forward to reporting about this work to you.

David Ray

History of Grace’s involvement in Japan

In 1892 Rufus Benton Peery was one of the two original Lutheran missionaries sent from America.  Pastor Peery’s ministry (and salary) through 1904 was entirely supported by Grace. Among the members of the congregation impacted by this ministry was LSG Miller, the teenage son of Pastor LGM Miller, the pastor at Grace when Peery first went to Japan. Upon the graduation of Lewis Samuel Godfrey Miller from Roanoke College and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Dr. Miller was commissioned by the congregation and sent to Japan where he served until 1951. Among Dr. Miller’s ministries was as the head of the Kyushu Gakuin school for boys. While Dr. Miller (and his wife Martha) were expelled from Japan during WWII, he was the first civilian allowed back in the country after the war and when he retired, he was awarded the highest civilian honor that could be bestowed by the Japanese Emperor.  Dr. Miller and his wife ministered to Japanese populations in California after his retirement until he moved to Winchester at the age of 76 in 1957. He served as interim pastor at Grace before Dr. Moyer was called and died in 1977. His wife remained active at Grace until 1985.

The current missionaries, Jim and Carol Sack, started their ministry in 1982. Dr. Sack teaches at Japan Lutheran College and Theological Seminary in Tokyo. He also ministers to incarcerated prisoners in Japan’s penal system convicted of drug smuggling. Carol ministers to persons in hospice care with her Pastoral Harp and has enthusiastically taught Music Thanatology to assure that this gift can be offered long after her retirement.

Joyce and I have enjoyed making contact with and have been privileged to visit several of the far flung ministries that Grace supports around the world. Before our trip to Japan in 2010, we sought the assistance of the ELCA Global Missions office and were able to visit Kyushu Gakuin, Dr. Miller’s school in Kumomoto. Having read some of Dr. Miller’s journals kept in Grace’s archives, we found ourselves visiting a school still celebrating LSG Miller’s work 59 years after his departure. We were asked to speak to the student body. Whew!! This is not a small school. 

Celebrating its 100th anniversary, a tour by members of the school board and faculty visited Grace in 2011 in honor of Dr. Miller, just in time for the earthquake that shook Winchester that day. None of the other hosts were able to make the Japanese feel so at home. During their visit they identified the Japanese print in the Christian Streit Room as being the work of a noted Japanese artist, we assume a gift to Dr. Miller for his work. You can find his photograph and pieces of his pastoral care “kit” in the Narthex, on the left column as you come up the stairs to the sanctuary.

Joyce and David Ray

Bethania Kids

Bethania Kids, founded in 1987, is a Christian Ministry that serves nearly 1,000 impoverished women, children, and families in Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, and Odisha in Southern India. Their ministries include:

- 4 Residential Homes for Girls and Boys
- 9 Care Centers
- 2 Rehabilitation Centers / Community Services Programs
- 6 Women’s Empowerment Programs

The Mission of Bethania Kids is to nurture and equip the women and children of India to change their world through Jesus’ love. They provide food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care, a loving environment and emotional support, as well as providing education and vocational training.

In the Gospel of Luke, Luke 2:52, we learn “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men.” Inspired by this, the staff nurture and care for all the children at Bethania Kids based on four crucial elements of development that gives every child the best possible chance to change their world through the love of Jesus.

- Wisdom: Intellectual Growth
- Stature: Physical Growth
- In Favor with God: Spiritual Growth
- And of Man: Social Growth

 The people of Grace have held these precious ones close to their hearts since 2007 and continue to make contributions via special Lenten collections and from the Mission Endowment.

 
 
Further donations to Bethania Kids can be given in many ways. We refer you to their webpage: www.bethaniakids.org