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Monday, June 7, 2010
Guatemala Disaster Assessment
Today Rev. Carlos Hernandez and I are in Atlanta preparing to leave for Guatemala to access how the LCMS can respond to the recent volcanic eruption and tropical storm. We will provide updates and photos as we can.
In the aftermath of the Pacaya volcano eruption May 24 in Guatemala and Tropical Storm Agatha on May 31, LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) is evaluating an appropriate level of response to overwhelming needs in the Central American country.
Just as inches of ash from the volcanic eruption began to settle, rain started as Agatha made landfall. According to news sources, more than 120 died in the storm and 54 people are missing.
Working in collaboration with LCMS World Mission and the Lutheran Church in Guatemala, WR-HC is poised to provide material and monetary aid. A disaster response assessment team will be in Guatemala June 7-10 to provide assistance as needed.
"Please keep us in your prayers, we will need them during the next days," wrote Nury de Milian, a member of the Lutheran Church in Guatemala, in an e-mail Sunday to LCMS pastors. She also provided updates of various Lutheran congregations in Guatemala:
Guatemala City: members of Mighty Fortress Lutheran Church cleaned their homes and the church buildings in the moments when the rain temporarily stopped. On Friday, the Lutheran Church in Guatemala assembled at the church to review the church body's constitution and bylaws, but the meeting was cancelled when the Guatemalan government declared a state of emergency. National church leaders spent the evening in the church's guest house and returned to their congregations Saturday.
San Marcos: roads to the church are blocked due to mudslides, but the congregation is fine.
Quetzaltenango: the town was flooded but the church structures are fine. One congregation member's home was damaged when a neighbor's wall collapsed.
Chajabal: All members are fine, but due to a mudslide they cannot reach Quetzaltenango.
Retalhuleu: All members are fine.
Amatitlan: volcanic rock punctured the roofs of the mission house and member's homes and rain from the tropical storm have poured through. There is urgent need for these roofs to be replaced. The garden at the mission home was also flooded. Families who live near the mission house are asking for help; for food, clothing, shelter, and medications.
Zacapa and Chiquimula: both are fine and there was not much physical damage. However, some members from Manzanotes are suffering because waters are now collecting in the Motagua River.
Puerto Barrios: the school and church are fine, but areas near the Motagua River have flooded.
Gualan: two children from the congregation died in the storm. Half of the congregation and teachers from the school lost all of their belongings including their homes, and are now living with relatives. The church is serving as a shelter for 20 people from the neighborhood. The wall that protected Resurrection Lutheran School (dedicated July 2009) collapsed and the river is unearthing the school foundation. Rev. Luis Jasinto, his family, and members of the congregation are also helping clean mud from one member's home.
To make a gift that shares Christ's mercy and helps those affected by recent disasters in Guatemala, click the Give Now button below, call toll-free 888-930-4438, or mail donations marked "Guatemala Disaster Relief Fund" to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
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 Guatemala and the Lutheran Church in Guatemala.