The Power of God’s Blessings
2021 was another difficult year for many reasons. I don’t know about you, but I often found myself questioning God’s plan during such an unsettling time. The circumstances of the world may be confusing to us, but if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that through it all God is faithful. I was also reminded that my thoughts and ideas are nothing compared to His. Isaiah 55:8-9 teaches us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.
This past year brought explosive growth for Lutheran Special Education Ministries. We are constantly praying that God would use us to serve as many of His children as possible, but our human nature often limits our ability to see just how powerful God’s blessings can be. When we stop limiting what God can do in our lives, and in the lives of those we serve, He shows us His faithfulness and His timing is always perfect. That’s exactly what happened in 2021!
The great news is that He will continue to shower us in blessings if we are faithful to Him. The incredible growth we have experienced has brought new challenges and your support has funded so many new classrooms. I pray that you will continue to support us in the coming year so that all students can receive the Christian education they desire, coupled with the special education they deserve. We can’t do it without you – your prayers, your gifts, and your support. I pray that 2022 brings you much joy and many reasons to celebrate. Thank you for everything you do to support Lutheran Special Education Ministries. May we all continue to believe that God can do mighty things in our lives and then watch the blessings unfold!
Stacy J. Hoeft
Christian Inclusivity for our Kids
Inclusion, as it relates to students with disabilities, may have slightly different meanings to each of us. Sometimes inclusion is thought of as being synonymous with the term mainstreamed, which often is thought of as students with disabilities being present in schools and classrooms with their peers. This can place the focus more on students being physically present in an educational setting, but true inclusion is more than this.
Inclusion is more than the place where a student’s education occurs. In truly inclusive settings, there is a sense of belonging and understanding that everyone has equal value, regardless of individual strengths and challenges. God fearfully and wonderfully made each of us, with unique abilities and differences. He does not place higher value on individuals who are better at math or reading, or those who are gifted in athletics. However, in schools and classrooms, students who struggle often do not feel as valuable or accepted by their peers and even teachers. They often feel less than and that they do not truly belong.
Building this sense of belonging comes through thinking about our Christian mission, and how we think about and refer to students with disabilities and those who struggle. Do we think of each student’s unique strengths and challenges, and help each student understand how God will use those differences for His purpose? Do we ensure that each student feels equally welcomed, known, accepted, supported, and loved? It is so important for all students to feel this sense of belonging in their classrooms. Inclusion goes beyond students with disabilities being physically present in schools and classrooms; it is ensuring that students know they are loved, valued, and that they truly belong, just as our Heavenly Father does for each of us.
— Dr. Kara Bratton,
Special Education Director
Blessings and Challenges
What a blessing it is to be able to help so many kids – and so many more than just one year ago! Spurred by the funding that has been made available to so many of our partner schools in an effort to combat learning loss, LSEM is now helping more children than ever before!
This incredible growth has come with some challenges, though, including the need for more classroom resources. With more classrooms and more children in our classrooms we need more books, more manipulatives, more technology, and more software. In a typical year we are able to use the financial gifts we receive to provide these resources for all our classrooms. But with so many new programs this year, serving so many more children – we are struggling to provide enough resources. This need is greater than ever.
Please consider a gift to help all our children have the resources they need so they can get the education they want in the welcoming, caring environment of their Christian school.
— Marty Moro, Program Advancement Director
We’re excited to soon unveil our plans for a one-of-kind celebration recognizing this historic milestone. From year-long events to creative fundraising opportunities, the 150th anniversary celebration is one you won’t want to miss. We will be recognizing all the children, students and families we’ve served as well as the leaders, teachers and volunteers who served alongside us though God’s legacy of love throughout the years.