March 2020 Planter Updates

How Camino de Fe is Serving Schools and 
Families During COVID-19

Camino de Fe’s mission is to make followers of Jesus who in turn make other followers of Jesus, and we provide tools and resources for people to engage in and be a part of the American way of life. Our mission drives everything that we do.

I have been working with the school districts of Somerville and Bernardsville since February in regards to the 2020 Census and how to communicate to the Latino community the importance of their response to this effort.  By the second week of March we became aware of the possibility of schools in the area closing due to Covid-19.  Our focus drastically changed to translating school notices and recording audio of school messages regarding how Covid-19 would be affecting students daily learning.  We created a group in the application called WhatsApp to help families in Somerville with any assistance regarding their children’s education.  We have 85 participants in that group. We have a total of 10 leaders, including community leaders, school staff and teachers helping families with their concerns.  

In Bernardsville, we helped distribute breakfast and lunches and translated school notices and information to families who are on the reduced lunch program.  As many of you are aware, many families and children oftentimes only eat what the school provides.  Since the schools are closed, it is important to us and the school district that this need is continued to be met.  

As I was delivering lunches, I found that many families have already lost their jobs and they have no way to provide for their families.  I started collecting their information, so that we can meet the needs of our community and the people that we serve.  We took the initiative and created a page for people to donate and volunteer in our community.  100% of the money collected will go directly to families in need.  We are partnering with both school districts in Somerville and Bernardsville, local restaurants, churches and individuals to make this happen.  We talked to a few restaurants asking them how many families they would be able to feed with an X amount of money, in hopes of meeting the needs of both families and businesses.  We will also provide gift cards for groceries and if possible, rent assistance.  

Please share this information with your congregations and friends if they are willing and able to donate:
https://caminodefe.church/covid-19-give/
You can also mail your checks to the LCMS-NJ District Office – COVID-19 Camino at:
LCMS New Jersey District
1168 Springfield Ave
Mountainside, NJ 07092

We have also been working closely with Chief Valentine and Mayor Canose in Bernardsville, in communicating information in Spanish regarding social distancing and CDC guidelines and the Governors orders to the workers at the train station and restaurants and delis in the area.  We created a pamphlet with all this information and posted it in key areas in the community.

In regards to our gatherings both in Raritan/Somerville and Bernardsville we quickly learned the ins and outs of live streaming.  We are live streaming a bible study on Wednesdays at 7pm in English and a bilingual bible study on Fridays at 8pm.  This past Sunday, March 22 we live streamed a bilingual worship service in our living room.  My oldest daughter, Sophia, served as my technical assistant and the rest of my family worshipped on the other side of the camera. It is encouraging to see how open people are to this new format and what a blessing it is to be able to make use of it.  Here is the link to our live streaming options: https://caminodefe.church/online-gatherings/

As you know, we were doing Sunday worship twice a month, but since the pandemic and in order to stay connected with our families, we moved to weekly Bilingual Sunday worship starting March 22th.

Some of the families from Camino de Fe have already stopped working, but for the most part all of them are doing well. We are communicating with them via phone and text. We will continue to do this until we are able to see each other again.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue to reach out to give people hope and comfort.  

Don’t forget that you can support us online at supportcaminodefe.church or you can send your check to the LCMS-NJ District Office – Memo Camino de Fe.

How Mile Square Church is Supporting Their Community & Shifting to Gathering Online

In response to COVID-19, we have adapted by moving to online worship and video conference calls to connect with our community. Every Sunday we meet together for worship online using a platform that enables us to chat and connect during the service. You are welcome to join us at https://milesquare.online.church. Straight after service, we hop into a video chat for a digital coffee hour for continued connection and conversation!

Every morning from 6am-7am and every weekday Mon-Fri from 1:00-1:30pm we host an online prayer conference call. People are welcome to come on the call to pray, or to simply listen and be encouraged. Simply Dial (605) 313-4443 and enter access code 419402 to join the call.

If you have a prayer concern that you would like us to pray through on your behalf, we've set up a prayer hotline. All you do is simply call in to the hotline number, and leave a message and we will pray for you. Dial (641) 715-3900 PIN: 660321#

To connect as a community together outside of prayer and worship we gather on Tuesdays to discuss issues we are currently facing and on Thursdays for online game nights. 

In order to love our neighbors during this time of crisis, we are advocating for Hoboken Shelter, who help protect those suffering from homelessness as well as Hoboken Public Housing, who are in need of cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Click the button below to learn more how you can help.
Here's some other ideas for how you can help your neighbors at this time. Try one out! If you do, let us know how it went! 
  • Host a virtual happy hour with 5 friends on Zoom
  • Order takeout from your favorite restaurant once a week (support the local small businesses who are hard hit!)
  • Offer grocery store runs to elderly neighbors or those who are immunocompromised.
  • Give someone a call just to check in. It's a gesture that's always appreciated!

No Comments