The Least of These

by Adriane Dorr

The staff of Lutheran Family Service of Iowa (LFS) takes Christs Word seriously: As you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me (Matt. 25:40). This understanding guides their work and gives shape to the care they give to those in need.

Since 1901, LFS has served as a uniquely Lutheran human-care agency, providing adoption services, marriage counseling, crisis-pregnancy help and spiritual care. One of the Synods Recognized Service Organizations (RSO), LFS fosters and extends the mission and ministry of the Synods Office of National Mission (Life Together).

First called Lutheranish Kinderfreundgesellschaft (Lutheran Childrens Friend Society), LFS was established by concerned, compassionate Lutheran pastors and laymen. Their desire to show Christs mercy to the suffering remains unchanged more than 100 years later and causes us to be who we are: a ministry of the LCMS church to the people here in Iowa, explained Wanda Pritzel, acting executive director.

In 1930, the society opened a Lutheran orphanage, and by the 1950s, at least 1,000 children had passed through its doors. In the 1960s, the orphanage morphed into a home for pregnant, unmarried young women, and in the 1970s, LFS expanded again to meet the growing need for counseling services.

Two of those services include pregnancy counseling and adoption. According to Pritzel, approximately 115,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care and awaiting permanent, legal adoption. Additionally, more than 1 million infants are aborted nationwide each year, making the need for Christian families to adopt even more important.

The story of our salvation is consistent in every way with the story of adoption, noted Pritzel. God builds His family through adoption.

The organization offers assistance in other areas as well. Counseling is available for pastors. Couples struggling in their marriages can receive guidance as well. Support groups are also offered for people suffering from grief as a result of death or divorce, HIV or AIDS and sexual addiction.

The organizations dedication to Scripture and to serving the least of these continues to make LFS a shining example of the Churchs work of witness, mercy, life together, said Deaconess Dorothy Krans, director of the LCMS social-ministry organizations.

Reflecting Christs love in tangible, transparent ways sets LFS apart from secular agencies. Its uniqueness, Krans noted, is a result of its steadfast confession of the faith. Here is a Lutheran agency grounded in the witness of Christ, making the faithful confession in word and deed for the life of the world, she said. The Church is blessed to have such partners who engage the Church and community with the Gospel.

> To learn more about Lutheran Family Service of Iowa, visit

About the Author: Adriane Dorr is managing editor of The Lutheran Witness.

November 2011

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