Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Wednesday, December 15, hurricane-force winds blew through Kansas, causing significant damage. Massive grass fires, sparked by downed power lines and driven by winds topping out at a historic 100 mph, marched across the northwest part of the state, threatening the towns of Ellis, Waldo, Paradise, Fairport, Natoma and Plainville. It is estimated that 11 fires were burning simultaneously, leaving behind 400,000 cumulative acres burned in a fire line that at one point was reported to be 35 miles wide and 10 miles long. The fires destroyed homes, farmsteads, buildings, and barns and wiped out large herds of cattle. An estimated 12 homes in the Natoma area alone are a complete loss.
Rev. Michael Schmidt reports that two of the devastated homes belong to members of his congregation, Peace Lutheran Church in Natoma. We’re writing today to ask for your help in getting these families back on their feet.
The Messiah, Hays LERT leadership team will meet with Pastor Schmidt in coming days to begin assessing the needs of the families affected by this tragedy. These families are basically starting over. The LCMS Kansas District would like to encourage Kansas congregations and LCMS members to consider making a donation to aid in the recovery. The funds generated will help these families start rebuilding their lives. (If funds received exceed the needs of these families, they will be forwarded to the LCMS Disaster Relief fund.) 
DONATE ONLINE through the Kansas District website:  Click the red “donate” button to access the secure payment page and choose “Kansas Disaster Response” as a designation, with “NW Kansas Fire” in the comments box. (This is the quickest way to provide help.)
SEND A CHECK to the LCMS Kansas District (1000 SW 10 th  Ave, Topeka, KS 66604), earmarked “NW Kansas Fire.” PRAY for these families and everyone else affected by the fires. Please also keep in your prayers everyone who was affected by the tornado outbreak in Kentucky and surrounding states December 10-11. (If you’d like to help with LCMS disaster relief, visit their online donation page.) Thank you for partnering with us in this mission to bring healing and recovery to our brothers and sisters in NW Kansas.
In the service of Christ,
Rev. Justin A. Panzer
[President, The LCMS Kansas District]