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Friday, March 5, 2010

Chilean Lutheran church assesses damage, plans post-quake response

From the LCMS World Relief and Human Care Website:


Many streets in Chile are closed because of the danger of buildings falling down and the huge amounts of debris that fell during the Feb. 27 earthquake. Photo courtesy of Miguel Luis Allamand Aldunate.
As he travels to areas hit hardest by the earthquake and tsunami, Rev. Carlos Schumann, president of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (IELCHI) sees tremendous destruction but also opportunities to pray and share the Gospel with hurting survivors.

“We have a lot of work here in evaluating the situation and determining what steps we should follow,” Schumann said in a March 3 e-mail to LCMS World Relief and Human Care's Rev. Carlos Hernandez.
One Chilean Lutheran pastor lost his home in the Feb. 27 disaster that killed more than 800 people and left some 2 million people homeless. LCMS World Relief and Human Care continues to monitor needs in Chile and stay in close touch with the LCMS partner church.
“God's timing is not ours,” said LCMS World Relief and Human Care Executive Director Rev. Matthew Harrison. “God's ways and thoughts are never ours. But all trials and struggles happen that He may 'conform us to the image of His Son' (F.C., S.D. XI.48). The need in Chile is enormous. And we will come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ as they reach out to their neighbors in Word and deed."

Schumann is traveling with an IELCHI assessment team to communities served by Chilean Lutheran pastors, including in Santiago, Vina del Mar, Valparaiso, and Quilpue. The IELCHI president said the church plans to focus on “small localities that have, comparably, suffered much more than the large cities and which have been forgotten and overlooked by the TV cameras.”

The LCMS partner church plans to provide for immediate urgent and basic needs, both material and spiritual, and also assist with long-term rebuilding efforts.

Plans are in the works for Rev. Dr. Jorge Groh, regional director for LCMS World Mission in Latin America and the Caribbean, to visit Chile March 12 as LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick's representative to the Chilean Lutheran church to help evaluate the opportunities for post-disaster ministry and to encourage the leaders and members of the IELCHI. LCMS World Relief and Human Care tentatively is planning to send a two or three-person team to Chile under the direction of Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, director of Disaster Response.

The LCMS partner church is small, including five pastors, 200 members, three missions, and two schools with 900 students.

On behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, LCMS World Relief and Human Care (the mercy arm of the LCMS) is working cooperatively with LCMS World Mission (the mission sending arm of the LCMS), LCMS congregations and districts, and U.S. and international partners to provide immediate and long-term relief for the people of Chile and Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (IELCHI). Learn more about the LCMS' partner/sister church, the IELCHI, on their Web site at

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