Friends giving friends hope

On January 13, 14, and 15, The Lutheran Schools and The Lutheran Schools Partnership had the opportunity to welcome Phil Zielke, executive director of "Phil's Friends," an organization whose mission is to provide Christ-centered support and comfort to those who are fighting cancer.Phil is a 33-year-old former Lutheran school teacher and two-time cancer survivor. He battled stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 22 and again at 24. The Phil's Friends website says, "God transformed Phil's life during his fight with cancer. He wants all cancer patients and their families to have God's Word to comfort them and the peace of Jesus Christ as their Savior like he has."Phil spent time at 13 of our schools, speaking to students during chapel services or special assemblies. He told his story, explained how each of our students can be involved with Phil's Friends, and provided an example of a care package that a cancer patient would receive.Phil's Friends supports those affected by cancer in a variety of ways, including prayer, personal relationships, care packages, and cards of encouragement. The schools within The Lutheran Schools Partnership have committed to supporting Phil's Friends as their annual collaborative service project. Schools will be collecting chapel offerings to support the ministry of Phil's Friends.In addition, our students will create cards and collect items that can be used for the care packages. Many of our schools are creating the cards and holding their care package item collections during the annual National Lutheran Schools Week (this week, January 25-30).TLSP's annual service project is another way our students are learning to serve Christ through service to others. This year, we serve Christ by serving Phil's Friends, and bringing hope to those who are affected by cancer.To learn more, watch the video about Phil's Friends or about Phil's Story.