From the Missouri District (LCMS) office:

By now many of you have some information regarding the devastating tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., Sunday evening. The reports I have received indicate that up to 75% of the city of 50,000 has sustained some damage with much of the damage catastrophic. As of 7:00 a.m. Monday, the media was reporting 89 confirmed deaths and it is anticipated that that number will increase as search and rescue efforts continue.

Immanuel Lutheran Church is the only LCMS congregation in Joplin. The principal, Jeremy Schamber, reports that the school is damaged and at this time is unsafe to enter. It appears that the church did not sustain significant damage. The parsonage received structural damage including the loss of its roof.

The pastor of Immanuel, Rev. Gregory Mech, and his wife are uninjured. Likewise, the principal of the school and the DCE are both safe. Jason Glaskey, DCE, just sent a message via Facebook that all of Immanuel’s staff are now safe and accounted for. The homes of three of the Christian Day School teachers were destroyed. The brother of one of the teachers was killed.

Only approved emergency responders are permitted to enter Joplin. We have no information regarding specific needs and ask that all desiring to provide assistance please wait for a list of needs to be published. We will provide a list once that it has been developed. In the meantime, even for those with insurance, there will be immediate need for cash assistance. You can send cash assistance to:

The Missouri District Disaster Fund
The Missouri District – LCMS
660 Mason Ridge Center Dr. – Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63141

Lutheran World Relief and Human Care
1333 S. Kirkwood Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63122
Give online here

We give thanks and praise to God for the countless lives that were spared. We pray God’s comfort and blessings upon all of the families that mourn the death of loved ones. We ask God to bless the ministry to the injured and upon all the recovery efforts.  Please keep all the residents of Joplin in your prayers.

Through this disaster in Joplin we are once again reminded how temporary this world is. Thanks be to God that through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, all who believe in Him have His promise of a life that will never end. As the Scriptures teach, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

—-Rev. Ray Mirly, President, Missouri District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

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