Image credit: St. Andrew's, Hickory
A 2022 Kaelke Grant from the NC Synod allowed the children of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Hickory to do their first mission trip in ages. The children hosted a supply drive for Living Waters Lutheran Church in Cherokee where they each were challenged to raise their height in food and supplies. A paper cut-out of each child served as a measuring stick for this challenge and a Thrivent Action grant helped them to reach their goals. Prior to their trip to Cherokee, children were asked to read books about Cherokee culture and history to share with the group.
The mission trip consisted of helping with food distribution at the Living Waters food pantry on August 18 and a cultural immersion hosted by Pastor Jack Russell, his wife, Lisa, and other members of the Living Waters congregation. In between the food pantry helping and the cultural immersion, they had an opportunity to play in the Oconoluftee River and the Oconoluftee Islands Park.
Spending the night in Cherokee, evening devotions around the campfire at the KOA campground included the sharing of information read in the pre-trip books and reflection on the differences they noticed in Living Waters and St. Andrew’s churches. At Pastor Jack’s recommendation, the children hiked to the foot of Mingo Falls on Friday morning. There they prayed for members of both congregations and remembered their baptisms in the water at the foot of the falls. They spent the day at the Oconoluftee Village where they continued to learn more about Cherokee history and culture.
The synod’s grant allowed the congregation’s children to live into St. Andrew’s core values of care for members, service in the community, and respect for all people while also building relationships among themselves and creating lifelong learning experiences. Thank you to the NC Synod for the Kaelke Fund grant!
Linda Kaelke served as Director of Christian Education for several congregations in the NC Synod and was the first advisor for LYO. Upon her death, she left the NC Synod with an endowment fund to support youth, used primarily to help fund mission trips. Grant awards are up to $800. Apply for a Kaelke Grant for your congregation. The 2023 deadline is Sunday, April 30. Questions? Contact Pastor Melody Simpkins, Children, Youth & Family Coordinator.