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Mission trips and service are in the makeup of Saint John’s members. Our congregation has experienced the pleasure of being able to serve God’s people both here in the United States and abroad. This summer will continue the outreach provided by Saint John’s members. On August 14–23, Kimberly Pepmiller and Nelly Sanford will be traveling to Uganda in East Africa to serve with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod on a Mercy Medical Team. Kimberly and Nelly will be part of a team of nine medical and lay personnel who will host primary care clinics in the northern part of Uganda. The team will be serving in the town of Lira.

The team will host five medical clinics, which are usually held inside of a Lutheran church. Members of the community journey to the clinics to receive primary care treatment provided by our team in conjunction with local medical personnel. During the course of a regular Mercy Medical Team trip, the team has the opportunity to serve 200 or more patients per day and between 1500–2000 patients throughout the week. What an awesome opportunity to positively impact and assist these African communities and to witness God’s great mercy! In addition, a LCMS pastor from the United States will be a member of our team, which allows time for team devotions, decompression and reflection on God’s Word. The pastor also has the wonderful opportunity to share God’s message throughout our time in Uganda.

Tracy Quaethem is the Project Coordinator for the Office of International Mission for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. On June 9, 2015, she wrote the following blog post on the LCMS website. Tracy does a marvelous job of explaining the importance and impact of the Mercy Medical Teams. I really hope her words will resonate with you!

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Recently, I was telling a group of students about the LCMS Mercy Medical Team program. One of them raised her hand and asked, “Why do you do this? It’s not sharing the gospel. It’s just good works.” That stung a little bit.

I’ve changed my presentation a bit since then. Now, each time I stand before a group, before I bring out the photos and the stories, I pause. And I answer that question. Why are we doing this? What is the reason we ask busy people to spend their money travelling half way around the world?

Short answer? We love, because He first loved us.

Longer answer? We show mercy to our brothers and sisters because God has shown mercy to us. It’s our response to God’s love and grace. With Christ as our example, mercy flows through us and we serve our neighbors. A good explanation of the Theology of Mercy can be found here.

LCMS Mercy Medical Teams very intentionally operate only at the invitation of the local Lutheran church body, and with the approval of the LCMS regional director.  We are very fortunate to have our LCMS missionaries and field personnel available to help us structure our work in a way that is helpful and beneficial to our partners.

We provide medical services that are not available through other sources locally.  This is very different than, say, painting a building that was just painted last year and will be painted again next year by another group.  There are numerous stories of patients who would have died without the intervention of a MMT, many of whom give the glory to our Lord for their healing and our presence. 

Short term missionaries turn into career missionaries. Without exception, MMT participants describe their experience as “life-changing,” sharing with me their story of how the trip has strengthened their faith. I know of at least two recent participants who are planning to pursue a career in missions as a result of their participation on a MMT.

Yes, medical missionaries do good works. Our team members do good works. But we are doing it as Christ’s hands and feet, as a response to God’s mercy and grace and forgiveness. It is sharing the gospel by example, and opens a door to let us share Christ’s love in other ways. A terminally ill patient asks to pray with a team member, or a local authority asks why we are in his town. At our clinic, perhaps a family talks to the local pastor and hears about baptism. We don’t know how God will use our presence in the community, but we do know that He uses it abundantly. And thanks be to Him for that!

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.Tracy Quaethem, “Mercy Medical Teams—Why Do You Do That?

In preparation for this trip and in an effort to bring needed supplies to Uganda to make the clinics as successful as possible, Kimberly and Nelly will be collecting supplies. Your support in this endeavor will be greatly appreciated! There will be a collection box near the Welcome Center from July 12 until August 2. Please consider picking up any items from the below list and donating them to the Mercy Medical Team trip to Uganda in August.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin)
  • Children’s Vitamins (non-gummy)
  • Adult Vitamins
  • Prenatal Vitamins
  • Antacids
  • Hydrocortisone Cream
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Antifungal Cream
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Gloves
  • Urine Dipsticks
  • Glucose Test Strips
  • Glucose Meters
  • Pregnancy Tests
  • Needles and Syringes
  • Pens and Permanent Felt Tip Markers
  • Tongue Depressors
  • Trash Bags
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Bandages and Tape
  • Blood Pressure Meter and Cuffs (adult and pediatric)
  • Digital Thermometer

Kimberly and Nelly greatly appreciate your donations, support and prayers! Stay tuned this fall to hear more about the trip and see pictures from their service in Uganda.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness”, “mercy”, “loyalty”, “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?