Volunteers recognized for their service
Belle Plaine, MN—Much of the success of TLHA’s ministry is due to supporters and volunteers in special ministries. TLHA recognizes this service through its “Care of the Soul Leadership Award.” The awards were presented TLHA’s annual meeting on January 19, 2010, by Rev. David Ponath, Chairman of TLHA’s Board of Directors.
This year, due to these volunteers’ contributions, two nominees were recognized for their work in Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM), Larry MacDonald of the Twin Cities area and the Buelow family of the Milwaukee area.
JCM is an outreach ministry to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Congregational volunteers provide opportunities for JCM participants to hear God’s Word and to enjoy fellowship.
A passion for outreach
Larry MacDonald’s love for JCM is evident when he talks about his volunteer work. MacDonald has been involved in his church’s JCM program since its beginning in 2002. He belongs to King of Grace Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran Synod) in Golden Valley, Minnesota. He effectively recruits volunteers, introduces people to this work and teaches participants. An important part of his volunteer role is to help others become comfortable with JCM. He shares, “I enjoy working with other people. The Lord helps me with the rest.”
The person who nominated MacDonald shares, “First and foremost, [Larry] wants [participants] to know their Lord and Savior. The program he sets up includes worship, Bible study and time to be encouraged by fellow believers. … The Spirit has blessed Larry’s efforts.”
A family ministry
The Buelow family—Sharyn, Randy, Andrew and Shaynna—serves in a variety of ways. They belong to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. For them, service to people with unique needs is a family commitment.
Sharyn’s career focuses on working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She teaches JCM classes, acts as a clown at JCM picnics and volunteers at a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod camp during its JCM week. Her husband and children also attend camp and serve however needed. In addition, they work to welcome and include people with disabilities at their church. Andy, for example, helps people out of transportation vans and sits with them during the service. Shaynna helps with crafts at JCM classes and sits with JCM members during church services.
Andy simply states, “Salvation is for everyone.” This family uses the talents God has given them to share His Word. Sharyn shares, “Each person that I have had the opportunity to meet and work with holds a special place in my heart. They give you more joy and happiness just by getting to know them. They are unique and wonderful individuals.”
The person nominating the family says, “Their love for their Lord and love for people with special needs He has placed in their path shows a family that has created awareness within their congregation, with the people whose paths they cross and with people who are often hidden away. They want to find more to serve.”
TLHA is thankful for all volunteers and supporters who help its ministry continue.
For more information about JCM, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-600-TLHA (8542) or (952) 873-6000.