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Helping Your Neighbor

01.31.17 | by Pastor Wayne Puls

Helping Your Neighbor


    Remember Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)? The Lord encourages his followers to be mindful of those around us in need. In the parable, Jesus commends the Samaritan man who shows mercy to a fallen stranger. "Go and do likewise," the Lord says to us.

     Here at Hope, members of the congregation are involved in twenty-two specific ministries that are community-based. We spend a great deal of time and effort serving, helping, and ministering to our neighbors in need. Ironically, the more ministry we do outside of Hope's walls, the stronger we become as a congregation.

    Over thirty of Hope's members have been working recently in the cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew here in North Carolina. Several day trips have taken place already, and more are planned. We have been working with volunteers from other local Lutheran congregations, and from other Christian organizations. We have met and prayed with some wonderful people, whose homes were flooded and severely damaged. Here's a story about a woman whom we have come to know in Lumberton.

    Ms. Bernice Cromartie is a short, non-intimidating figure. Her voice is soft, yet her heart is big. She has owned and operated Nanny’s Korner Day Care in Lumberton for eleven years. Last October, when Hurricane Matthew’s rising flood waters overwhelmed earthen dams, her daycare was inundated with water – along with many of her neighbors, most of which were without flood insurance. Ms. Bernice did what she knew to do. She started helping others. She had helped others through taking care of their kids at an affordable daycare, and now she would help others in need. She served neighbors, strangers, anyone she could because that is what she knew to do…and because she didn’t know where to start in getting help for herself. One day, her granddaughter brought home an “LCMS Flood Bucket” filled with basic supplies to begin cleaning out her daycare. “Grandma, it’s time you started getting help!” her granddaughter told her. She started lifting supplies out of the bucket and at the bottom was a card that had contact information on it. On a whim, she called the number. Before she knew it, she was connected Joel and Kathy Matthews of Mercy in Action Disaster Resources (an LCMS ministry based in Florida, serving last fall in NC). They weren’t sure how much they could help, but they began helping Bernice muck out her waterlogged day care. Then volunteers from St. Paul’s Lutheran, Norlina, NC came calling. They were blessed with a licensed contractor, Victor Tucker, and many servant hearts willing to do what they could. To date, $21,000 has been raised by St. Paul’s and Hope, Wake Forest, NC. It will take a total of $40,000 to fully repair the daycare. There’s a long way to go, but God has brought us this far, and we are confident he will see it through.


    As we continue to reach out with to help our neighbors in need in North Carolina, volunteers of all skill levels are needed. Those with specialized skills (carpentry, framing, roofing, electric, plumbing, etc) are always needed; but general laborers and "followers" are needed, as well. Those willing to serve by cooking meals for the homeless and volunteers are also welcome.

    Hope members will be working in Lumberton, NC this month on February 4 and February 16.  Additional work days are planned for March, 4, March 16, April 1, and April 21. Please contact Pastor Wayne Puls at if you are interested in helping. God's blessings to you, as you help your neighbor!

    Pastor Wayne Puls