July 2014 – Quarters, dimes and nickels dropped into the mite boxes of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League members across the United States are funding thousands of LHF publications for Christians around the globe.
Over the past several months, several district LWMLs have chosen to fund LHF projects for Lutheran books in countries like Turkey, Haiti, Latvia, and Ethiopia, to name just a few.
In addition, women at the 2013 national LWML convention voted to send $72,000 to LHF for the translation and publication of children’s Bible storybooks and Small Catechisms for Southeast Asia.
Kay Kreklau, president of the national LWML, believes the books will “impact the children, possibly for life. When LHF sends the books into the mission field, they might be the only thing a child sees about Jesus.”
Following is a brief interview between LHF and Kay, who has been president of the national LWML since 2011.
Why was LWML first formed?
The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League was founded during World War II, when the women were here at home alone, and their husbands were overseas. There were servant events, making items for people overseas and sending funds over to help others. LWML gave an opportunity for fellowship, for Bible study, and making things for people overseas.
It’s hard to believe how the mites – those nickels and dimes – add up!
Yes! From the very first, collecting mites was part of LWML. Over the past 70 years, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League has given over $100 million in mission grants.
I’ve heard many people talk about how mite boxes were always on the piano or on the window sill. The boxes weren’t tucked away, but always visible. When a dollar goes into the mite box, 75 percent stays in the district LWML, and 25 percent goes to the national LWML.
In 2013, the national LWML voted to fund more than $1.3 million in mission grants. God just continues to bless this! We realize that our numbers in LWML are dwindling. We’ve started a new campaign, called “The Time is Now.” It’s time for our LWML members to step out, encourage, and refocus on missions. We continue step out in faith, knowing that whatever the Lord’s will is, that’s what we’re going to have.
The women of the LWML last year voted to give $72,000 to LHF for the translation and publication of Bible storybooks and catechisms into the various languages of Southeast Asia. Why is this the kind of project that the LWML would want to support?
First, I truly believe that God chose each project, and the voting was the result of the Holy Spirit. He was working through those women as they voted. He knew that this money was needed at this time, in this place.
But I think the women liked LHF’s “Telling the Next Generation” project because it’s for children, and because the women trust the Lutheran Heritage Foundation. The women understand that these books are going to make a difference in children’s lives, to know who their Savior is. If someone sits down with a child and reads a picture book about Jesus, it will have a huge impact on that child, possibly for life. And when you send these books into the mission field, you realize that might be the only thing that child sees. It might be the seed that’s planted. Or maybe it’s the second book, the watering. But we know that in everything, the Lord is working and He’s going to use that for His good.
Over the years, what kind of impact do you believe that the LWML has had on missions around the world?
We hear over and over again that someone has been the Philippines, has been to Russia, to India, and they’ll walk up to a church and there will be a plaque, “Donated by the LWML.” Over the years it might be a big building, a chapel, an orphanage, a church…big or small. Or maybe LWML funded a scholarship, and we hear that “without your help we couldn’t have attended seminary.’ Or cancer kits that were made and donated, so that people received not only the kits, but also the knowledge that someone loves and cares enough to send them those things. And that’s because of the love of Jesus!
As the Lord works through the LWML, lives are changed. Many of those lives we’ll never see, but we know that God is alive and He’s working through all those dollars, all those mites. In the LWML, we stay strong in worship and prayer, asking God to direct and guide us in funding those mission grants.
Pictured in the top photo is Rev. Ted NaThalang (LHF coordinator for Southeast Asia projects), who recently met LWML President Kay Kreklau at the LWML Missouri Convention, where he shared with her some of the books printed through the LWML grants.
Only with your help can this important work continue. Prayerfully consider how you can help support LHF projects.