While Tropical Storm Ida made very little noise in the United States, we received word through our partner, the Latin America and Caribbean Office of Global Ministries, of significant damage in several small communities in El Salvador. El Salvador's national government has declared a state of emergency. The official death toll stands at 130 people; many people are still missing. Our partners there, the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod and the Emmanuel Baptist Church, have helped us respond immediately to communities in crisis.
The Lutheran Synod reports that families from the devastated Apopa communities, situated along a contaminated river, have lost their homes; many, if not all, of their belongings; and even their animals. We have responded with emergency funds for materials to repair homes, and for providing mattresses, water and food.
The Emmanuel Baptist Church reports significant damage in the Verapaz district in San Vicente. They said that at least 486 people (half of which are children) were directly affected by the tragedy in the small town of 8,000. Emergency aid for basic hygiene supplies has been disbursed.
We have also responded to the Anémona 2, El Limón, Anémona 6 and El Júpiter communities in the Municipality of San Martin, where more than 28 homes were destroyed, and 224 homes remain at risk. We have responded to requests for temporary housing, food supplies and medicine.
Please continue to keep these communities in your prayers, as they continue their recovery.
Second Christian Church, Galveston, TX, Returns Home
Since November 7th, a great group of volunteers has been working on a blitz build in Galveston, Texas, rebuilding Second Christian Church & homes of families damaged by Hurricane Ike. Week of Compassion Advisory Committee Chair, Rev. Rebecca Hale, will be on hand, along with Rev. April Johnson, Minister of Reconciliation, and other regional and area representatives, for the dedication of this newly rebuilt sacred space on Sunday, November 22.
When I spoke to Carl Zerweck of Disciple Volunteering this morning, he excitedly noted that the volunteers are "plugging along and getting things done." Continue to keep the volunteers in your prayers as they "get dirty for Jesus," and on the 22nd, keep Second Christian Church in your prayers, lift them up in worship, or drop them a note, as they begin a new journey as a community of faith.
As for me, I wish I could be there! Unfortunately, while visiting our good friends at First Christian Church in Owensboro, KY, I fell and broke my elbow...so I'm re-adjusting the next week or so as I try to manage life with one less joint (for 4-6 weeks). Amy is still in the Congo, learning tons from our amazing partnerships there, and Elaine is keeping everything afloat. So keep all of us in your prayers this week, as we return, recover, and continue to respond on behalf of all Disciples to the needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Thanks for all that you do, as a Whole Church living out our call to be filled with Courageous Compassion!
Around the World, Around the Year: Where in the World Have We Responded This Week?
El Salvador (2), floods/mudslides
For the full listing of responses made in 2009, click here.