Hurricane Laura made landfall on the border of Texas and Louisiana as a Category 4 storm early this morning, ripping apart buildings, severing power lines and clogging streets with debris as a dangerous storm surge trailed behind.

With sustained winds of 150 mph, Laura's eye made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, at about 1 a.m. CDT.

Our pastors in the area evacuated before the hurricane hit, so we have no info right now on how our congregations faired. I will pass along info as it becomes available.

I have been on the phone this morning with Synod and our District disaster relief personnel. We hope to have access to the devastated area Sunday afternoon to evaluate and set up a volunteer camp to aid in relief and recovery.

At times like this concerned congregations and individuals look to the Southern District LCMS office for guidance and leadership in disaster relief and recovery. As we move forward together, there will be a need of financial, material, and volunteer help. But there is a process to this. We are not first or even second responders. We must wait until the first responders can make their way into the devastated areas. Then we wait as the second responders move in to bring some order out of the chaos before any volunteers from churches can come in to provide care and relief.

So I ask you to be patient as we partner with our district disaster relief teams and Synod's disaster relief to be able to go in and provide spiritual and material aid. While we wait, let us pray for those devastated, injured, and hurt. Pray for the first responders, pray for the second responders, then be prayerfully prepared to give financial, material, and volunteer help in the coming weeks and months as relief and recovery is a long slow process for us and especially for those devastated by this powerful hurricane.

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy...
Your Servant in Christ's Mission,
Rev. Eric Johnson
President, Southern District LCMS
Donations for disaster relief may be made online here. If you prefer to mail a check, here is the Southern District mailing address:
100 Mission Drive
Slidell, Louisiana 70460
Please write "Disaster Relief" on the memo line.

Thank you for your prayers and generous outpouring of financial support!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
(Romans 1:16)