Maui Wildfires: How You Can Help

On Aug. 8, 2023, a wildfire ripped across the island of Maui and caused mass devastation to Lahaina and surrounding areas. Hundreds have lost lives – and many, many more have lost homes, businesses, and belongings. The CNH District has been working hard to help the people of Maui in the aftermath of this tragedy. We stand with our West Coast partner in their work to support on-the-ground efforts.

UPDATE 8/24 from CNH District President Mike Lange:

Our 1st VP, Pastor Mitch Gowen, (long-term pastor at Our Savior, Aiea, Hawaii) shares that behind the curtain on a disaster and its recovery, we see “a delicate dance of unknowns involving thousands of people … (those who) bear the scars of working multiple disasters … and others … experiencing the pain for the first time (just) trying to help.” From the first spark or gust of wind – a community of faith is summoned.

Thank you for sharing Christ’s gifts! From my seat as CNH District President, I have been privileged to watch, pray, and facilitate our church’s resources. (To donate, links are included below.)

  • Praise God with me for the following responses:
    The people of Emmanuel Lutheran Church and School rose to the occasion to be the people of God for the ones for whom Jesus shed his blood on their island.
  • I saw growth from a functional relief response to relational Gospel-centered care.
  • Leadership gifts blooming that empowered other leaders from Emmanuel.
  • Although Emmanuel lacks a pastor, they have a fine commissioned ministerial leader, Joshua Rempfer, who serves as their principal.
  • Pastor Chris and Jeanette Singer and Deaconess Kathy O’Day, from Lutheran Church Charities (LCC), are pouring into the leaders: training, investigating, providing organization, calm, purpose, and care. O’Day led two LERT trainings, engaging multiple volunteers.
  • LCMS Disaster Relief and Director, Ross Johnson, providing counsel, and sharing gift cards and printed resources. Enabling a grant, providing for ongoing therapeutic care and training for those who will continue after the relief workers go home.
  • CNH District Disaster Response Coordinator (DDRC), Rev. Phil Zabell, engaging, advising, evaluating, and providing valuable insight.
  • Rev. Ralph Schmidt and Orphan Grain Train have distributed the first plane load of supplies. Shipping containers of carefully selected goods most needed are on their way.
  • Rev. Rod Hall and Rev. Dr. Mark Hannemann, trained and licensed counselors, responded immediately with therapeutic and pastoral care. (LCMS grant sponsored their efforts.)
  • Tens of thousands of dollars of goods and services, donated by people like you and neighbors on the island, have been the currency of trust which has enabled hundreds of intentional Gospel proclamations.
  • Thank you for your gifts of over $55K to the CNH Disaster Funds for Maui. Gifts released from the CNH for Maui support are $60K and growing.

There are presently 115 confirmed dead (many of those not identified). Over 750 people are missing and 2200+ structures are destroyed from the three fires that raged on the island. (Besides the devastation in Lahaina, residents of Kihei and Kula were also affected.) The mourning process has been delayed for many. There is ample ongoing opportunity for Emmanuel’s (God with us) people to give care and witness.

Support going forward:

  • Emmanuel, Maui (presently in a vacancy) will be blessed by capable pastoral care through the end of September. Other pastoral workers are being arranged for, as needed. A pastoral call has been extended; pray for God’s will to be done.
  • Local leaders have been trained and empowered. Clear organization for relief is planned. (LCC, supported by CNH leadership, works to sustain those leaders from a distance.)
  • Trained counselors and spiritual/pastoral care providers will continue to be deployed with grant assistance from LCMS Disaster response.
  • Four children, displaced from school by the fire, are being enrolled at Emmanuel, with tuition paid for this year.
  • Counselors are scheduled for deployment in the next several weeks to assist in a pastoral and spiritual response and to train local volunteers.
  • Plans are being made by the response team to assist school and church families, who are housing displaced people long-term, providing temporary shelter and necessary support systems.
  • Sustaining support, care, and funding will be facilitated through the people of Emmanuel.
  • Your gifts sustain:
    Established trusted relations with multiple Points of Distribution for fire survivors around the island, supplying requested commodities.
  • Gift cards that support temporary needs and provide a Gospel conversation.
    Sustained training, support, and care for Emmanuel members.

Although there has been messaging urging cancellation of Maui vacations, there are many locations on Maui still available for tourists on the island. Maui’s people would be blessed by your presence and need the presence of tourists for a healthy economy.

Praise God for the response of ALL his people. Ask God to grant his grace through the presence of his people and, specifically, to sustain the people of Emmanuel Lutheran Church and School on Maui.

May Jesus’ love strengthen and empower us all,
Rev. Mike Lange
CNH District President

UPDATE 8/19:

The CNH District has been working hard to help the people of Maui in the aftermath of this tragedy. We stand with our West Coast partner in their work to support on-the-ground efforts, which include:

  •  The people of Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Maui are providing immediate response, sharing needed goods and services, and assisting school families who are housing displaced people.
  • Two staff from Lutheran Church Charities are deployed to Maui. They will help to organize a response effort able to be sustained by Emmanuel and supported by the CNH and the greater LCMS.
  • Relief dollars from the CNH Disaster Fund, LCMS Disaster Relief, local congregations, individual donors, Orphan Grain Train, and LCEF are enabling a growing response.

Read a message and watch a brief video from the CNH District for more on how they are helping.

Here are the links to donate:
CNH District Disaster Relief Fund

Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Maui (indicate for disaster relief)

LCMS Disaster Response

Orphan Grain Train

Lutheran Church Charities

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