Hurricane Relief Update – Nov. 22, 2017

Hurricane Relief Update—Nov. 22, 2017

Thank you for your prayers and support of the ministry of WELS Christian Aid and Relief.  We are using the generous gifts of God’s people to help those suffering from disasters and medical and financial trials, as well as  support humanitarian aid projects, which help our missionaries build bridges to proclaim the gospel.

Here is a Hurricane Relief Update:

Christian Aid and Relief personalizes our efforts by working through our congregations and missions in the affected areas.  We work through our pastors and congregational leaders to make assessments and to distribute aid.  We bring in volunteers when requested to assist in the recovery effort.

Puerto Rico

Our liaison to Puerto Rico, Pastor Tim Satorius has been in contact with pastors and leaders of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church of Puerto Rico.  Pastor Satorius and a representative from Christian Aid and Relief made a personal assessment visit to Puerto Rico in October.  One church there was completely destroyed and several homes of members were damaged.  Groceries were provided to families in need.  We are getting bids to consider for repair projects.  We sent an immediate gift of $5000 through Direct Relief to assist those in need.  We also sent $5000 to provide meals for people in the church and community suffering from this disaster.  The present plan is for members of the national church to provide meals for 50 people a day for four weeks.

Texas

Volunteers from neighboring churches helped with the initial cleanup efforts in several affected areas.  We have a project coordinator and volunteers in place repairing a parsonage and church at Christ our Savior, Angleton, Tex., the school at Sienna Lutheran Academy, and about 17 member homes in the Friendswood, Tex., area.  The work is going smoothly and the volunteers are finding joy serving the Lord as they serve these people in their time of need.  We have also provided grants to replace furnishings and appliances which were ruined by the flooding.  We continue to consider new opportunities.

Florida

Volunteers, with the help of our relief trailers, assisted with the cleanup efforts in several affected communities.  Those who have received assistance are most appreciative and wish to express their gratitude for a job well done. Pastors in the affected area continue to bring requests to us for immediate aid for their members through our District President Chuck Westra.  This includes generators and equipment, rental assistance while being displaced from home, and assistance with cost of repairs and replacement of furnishings.  We also assisted Abiding Grace, Covington, Ga., as their church suffered water damage from the storm.

Antigua and Barbuda

Assistance is being provided to families displaced from Barbuda, who are staying with members and friends of our WELS mission, St. John, Antigua.  29 families received $18,000 in immediate aid so far.  Our liaison Pastor Tom Spiegelberg visited Antigua last month to help us make further assessment of needs and opportunities.

The Thanksgiving holiday offers another opportunity to count our blessings and praise God from whom all blessings flow.  When we consider the physical and spiritual blessings God lavishes upon us by his grace, we realize that our cup of blessings richly overflows.  One way we express our gratitude to the Lord is by reflecting his love and compassion to others.  May the Lord bless our efforts to show love and kindness to those in need!

God’s Blessings,

Pastor Robert Hein, Chairman, WELS Christian Aid and Relief

 

VOLUNTEER FORM

Sign up to volunteer with Christian Aid and Relief efforts as they help our members and neighbors in times of need.

PARENTAL CONSENT VOLUNTEER FORM

The parental consent volunteer form needs to be filled out by the parent or guardian of any minors wishing to volunteer for Christian Aid and Relief projects.

 

 

 

 

Food for Malawi

Greetings from Malawi!

These are bags of maize. A full one weighs 50 kilograms, which is just over 110 pounds.

Yesterday, we bought a bit of maize… about 881,500 pounds of it, which is about 441 tons, or roughly 8,000 of the bags you see pictured here. I’d love to show you what 441 tons of maize looks like, but I don’t think that I have ever seen that much maize collected in one place.

Maize is the staple food of Malawi. Grind it into flour and boil it into a stiff porridge and it is called nsima (NSEE-mah). You can eat it with your hands for lunch and supper. Or make it a little runnier and people will call it phala (PAH-lah). You can eat it with a spoon for breakfast, or just scoop it with your fingers and feed it to the baby.

I said, “Yesterday, WE bought maize,” but actually, I should be more precise. YOU bought all this maize… 441 tons of it for the members of the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA).

Earlier this year, the southern region of Malawi was hit by very severe flooding. Thousands of LCCA members had damage to their homes, and many lost their homes entirely. Some fields were completely eroded. Others were buried under several feet of sand. Fertilizer was washed away. Crops failed. Even in other areas of the country, the harvest was very small. Everybody in Malawi knew what this would mean. These people are subsistence farmers. They depend upon their harvest to survive. But for many Malawians, this year’s harvest did not come. There will be hunger in the coming year. Malnutrition. Even some starvation. Nsima

 So “we” went out and bought some maize. Mr. Mark Vance, the Director of Operations for WELS Christian Aid and Relief, was the one who manned the pen. He signed both copies of the contract and initialed every page. So did Mr. Lawson Tewesa, the Malawian maize vendor with whom we made our agreement. Mr. Stefan Felgenhauer and I were looking on as witnesses. So was our lawyer, Mr. Elton Jangale.

Hundreds of hours of work had preceded the actual signing of the document. The WELS Christian Aid and Relief committee tirelessly discussed the various options for relief together with the leaders of the LCCA. They considered all the possibilities. Kingdom Workers gracious donated Mr. Stefan Felgenhauer’s time and considerable expertise. We grilled the vendor with questions and inspected his warehouse. We hired the lawyer and hammered out a contract. Stefan, almost singlehandedly, arranged the complicated logistics of buying, storing, treating and shipping almost 450 tons of maize to something like 20 different distribution sites. LCCA national pastors were assigned to oversee the handouts and to conduct devotions and prayers at the time of distribution. There were many, many planning meetings, personal visits and conference calls. Gradually, a plan came together that almost 4,000 families in the LCCA would receive 20 kilograms of maize each month for the months of September, October, November, December and January. It was a ton of work… actually, more like 441 tons.

Yesterday, we signed the contract. But we have never forgotten that none of this could have happened except that hundreds just like you donated thousands and thousands of their own hard-earned, personal dollars to make this project possible.

Some surly and unhappy people might wonder why you did that. But as for us over here in Malawi, I think we all know why.

Thank you.
Missionary Mark Panning Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa

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