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Christian Aid and Relief assesses Ernesto’s damage
After Hurricane Ernesto blew through Mexico in August, Mr. Mark Vance, Christian Aid and Relief director of operations, took a small team to assess the lingering damage and needs in the areas surrounding WELS' sister church, Cruz de Christo, in Mahahual.
"My initial reaction was that even though our church down there is small, it is very active within the community and Pastor Briones at Cruz de Christo is really getting out there and connecting with people," says Vance. "These people are responsive to the gospel, which is an amazing thing."
While the church and parsonage were spared significant damage, two area neighborhoods were affected and will need ongoing help. Through donations provided to the Christian Aid and Relief Hurricane Fund initial assistance was able to be provided.
Residents in Pulticub, where Cruz de Christo has a preaching station, reported the need for food and fresh drinking water. Christian Aid and Relief purchased food kits to distribute and also brought in a 450-gallon water tank with fresh water.
A neighborhood called Kilometer 55, one of the poorest in Mahahual, saw a lot of damage to homes. Vance says: "The damage is extensive because these homes are so rudimentary, just sticks and walls as thin as wallpaper, so there are gaping holes in the roofs and walls. They have no electricity, no plumbing, and their kitchens are mostly outdoors. If we can bring in some aid and relief and get a roof back over their heads, it will be a wonderful blessing for the church to extend its arms of love and compassion."
Plans were laid out to take a group of four volunteers who have construction experience from the U.S. to Mexico. These volunteers would coordinate with Mexican national workers to rebuild some of the homes.
In the U.S. Gulf Coast, reports have come in from Hurricane Isaac. At this time, no significant damage or needs have been reported by WELS congregations in the affected area. "Please keep the folks in your prayers as many people are recovering from the flooding in the region," Vance says. "If opportunities to assist residents in the affected area present themselves we are standing by and are ready to help."
Christian Aid and Relief provides support to areas hit with natural disasters. To support relief efforts, send a check to WELS Re: Christian Aid and Relief, 2929 N Mayfair Rd., Milwaukee WI, 53222-4398.
Christian Aid and Relief is always looking for volunteers to help with disaster relief efforts. If you'd like to volunteer, complete the registration form. Note: Your willingness to serve at least two weeks is preferred.