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This month we are highlighting the Mission Grant for $100,000 for Mercy House for Women and Children that helps the underserved in urban Flint, Michigan. This grant is one of 22 Mission Grants that was approved for the 2017–2019 biennium.

Mercy House: Serving the Underserved in Urban Flint 1

It was one of those weeks when the basic needs of life were intensified. Not that every week isn’t a challenge, but this week the necessity for adequate housing for the homeless—especially women and children—was magnified.

The night before, a fire bomb hit the home of a mother and her three children. They lost everything—their home, clothes, food, furniture—everything! They asked Franklin Avenue Mission if we could help them with these basics we take for granted. Housing for people in crisis situations in Flint, Michigan, is limited. We helped them with food and clothes and placed them in a temporary shelter.

That same evening, a young mother who is trying to get her life straight also sought our assistance for housing. She had been couch cruising and had run out of options of where she and her child within could stay. It was obvious her life required more than a roof over her head. She was about to deliver, and she wasn’t under any medical care. Again we were able to meet her immediate needs. The clinic that operates at our mission was able to attend to the overdue medical care, and she was placed in temporary housing.

That evening, I thought to myself we were becoming the hands, feet, face, and voice of Jesus to these two families, but we could have done much more had our future Mercy House for Women and Children been operative. The underserved urban poor of America (and, in particular, in Flint) are crying out to the church—like the challenge the Lord placed before Isaiah: “‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’” (Isaiah 6:8)

Franklin Avenue Mission (FAM) is located in Flint, one of the poorest cities of America, where 46% of the general population and 66% of children live below the poverty level. On the east side, these percentages increase to 80% percent. Mercy House for Women and Children is being planned in an attempt to break the cycle of poverty and decrease the potential for abuse. This will be accomplished by housing women and children in a safe, caring, loving environment where the best practices of parenting and relationship building can be modeled and taught. We believe this component to our ministry will benefit the participants by providing a different view of family and living. This will ultimately complement our theology of “Right to Life” and protect the unborn, precious in the eyes of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

On June 23, 2017, at the LWML Convention in Albuquerque, a vote was cast that will influence the future of a once-forgotten neighborhood on Flint’s Eastside. The $100,000 grant approved that day will begin the remodel of an existing house in this neighborhood, transforming it into Mercy House for Women and Children, adjacent to Franklin Avenue Mission. The word spread quickly—all the way to Flint—as excited convention-goers from Michigan communicated with friends back home, “The Mission Grant has been approved!”

This abandoned house is the site of the future home for women and children.

The sixteen LCMS churches and 500 volunteers that operate biweekly the Franklin Diner, ROCK Children’s Program and Clothing Closet were thrilled to hear the news and know the impact this grant will have on the Flint community. God is truly working through these “boots-on-ground” missionaries!

  1. Rev. Dr. Bradley J. Yops, “Mercy House: Serving the Underserved in Urban Flint” (Lutheran Woman's Quarterly, Fall 2017).

Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML) is the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since 1942, the LWML has focused on affirming each woman’s relationship with Christ, encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries and by supporting global missions. Saint John’s Mission Guild (LWML) meets the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM in Room 301. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.