The COVID-19 coronavirus has forced postponement of two mission trips by members of McFarland Lutheran Church. Trips to Uganda and Puerto Rico were scheduled to leave this month. Both trips are being rescheduled.

Ten congregation members would have dedicated new fresh water wells in Soni-Oruwa and Kasoka, Uganda. The wells have been bored by Hope4Kids International and are already providing water for the villages and the surrounding regions. McFarland Lutheran members, friends and local businesses contributed $25,000 for the wells. MLC has funded a total of five fresh water wells in Uganda villages in recent years.

Congregation members expressed joy that the wells are operating and they have made plans to dedicate them on the rescheduled mission trip in November.

“It is up to the Holy Spirit to see the world through this pandemic,” said Bonnie Dirks, a leader of the MLC mission trips to Uganda. “As one of our Ugandan friends said, ‘I have my insurance card – my faith in Jesus Christ. We are all equals now.’”

“We celebrate in our hearts knowing that many are drinking clean, safe water,” added Ron Vandeberg, chairman of the MLC Global Mission committee that organizes the mission trips.

More than 700 items of children’s clothing, more than 300 pairs of sandals and many personal hygiene items have been placed in storage and will go with the mission trip in November. MLC members made or purchased all the clothing.

Twenty-five members of the congregation including 11 high school students, have had to cancel their mission trip to Puerto Rico. It would have been the eighth time MLC members visited Iglesia Luterana de Reconciliacion in Levittown. The group was scheduled to again help with post-hurricane home maintenance, roof sealing, painting and clean-up at church property, homes of parishioners and other locations where people need assistance.

“We continue to hope for safe health for all, think about our friends, known and those unknown to us in Puerto Rico and for all that support our mission,” said Mike Catterall, a leader of MLC’s efforts on the island.

While acknowledging the disappointment of having to cancel this year’s trip, Chris Landerud, coordinator of youth ministries at MLC, said “We know that God’s mission and our mission together will continue. This is not the first challenge we have faced on this journey. It will not be the last challenge, and we know God will be with us during our wilderness wanderings. We have much love and a long history with our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters, and we will continue that history next year.”

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