A CLWR prayer for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus, teacher and healer, we give you thanks that wherever we go you are there.

Be with those sent out to share your good news in service, including through Canadian Lutheran World Relief and our partners.

Use us to support them with our resources, our prayers, and our encouragement.

Rejoice with them and strengthen them when they are welcomed.

Protect and shelter those who face opposition because of your name. Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Matthew Diegel, of Our Saviour’s-Immanuel Lutheran parish, Thunder Bay, ON, for contributing the CLWR prayer for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost.

Two years after the southern Alberta floods: the impact of your donations

Photo: Frances Desabrais (second from left) and three of her children at the dedication of their new home. They were ecstatic to move into one half of a duplex built in part with your donations, after their home was destroyed in the 2013 flood in High River, AB. “When they gave me the news that they were going to build me this house, I had to pinch myself to make sure that it was real.” Photo: MDS

Photo: Frances Desabrais (second from left) and three of her children at the dedication of their new home. They were ecstatic to move into one half of a duplex built in part with your donations, after their home was destroyed in the 2013 flood in High River, AB. “When they gave me the news that they were going to build me this house, I had to pinch myself to make sure that it was real.” Photo: MDS

Families moving back home

Thanks to you, people like the Desabrais family have a home to call their own again.

Because of your support, CLWR was able to partner with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) and other organizations to clean, repair or rebuild homes in locations including High River, Calgary, Black Diamond and Medicine Hat.

Three homes in High River were dedicated and handed over to their grateful owners in emotional ceremonies at the end of April. Learn more about these families and the rebuilding process below.

Find a PDF version of this article by clicking HERE

 

Your gifts don’t build houses. They build homes.

Rev. Daranne Harris, pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in Calgary, participated in the home dedications for three families in High River. Here are her reflections:

“You haven’t just built us a house, but a home. You have no idea how much it means to me to be able to welcome our friends and family into our home, to be able to once again cook for them in my kitchen.”

On April 24, three families in High River received keys to their new homes. This occasion was celebrated at dedication services attended by family, friends, spiritual leaders, community members and volunteers. In freshly painted living rooms, on front porches and atop new sod we prayed, we sang and we gave thanks together for this blessed new beginning.

It has been two years since unprecedented floodwaters rose in the town, destroying many properties and caking the earth in cement-like mud. Finally, these homeowners are able to return. Your donations to CLWR, in partnership with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), helped make this possible.

MDS works with the community to identify people in need. Caring is at the heart of this venture. Together with homeowners and local contractors they plan and build modest houses that meet the unique needs and situations of those who will live there.

Volunteers young and old travelled from as far as Pennsylvania to help. One young boy proudly pointed out the closet doors he had installed. Another volunteer showed up with a giant tray of cinnamon buns to share. Others stitched beautiful quilts that were given to family members for their new home.

To read an article in the High River Times about the dedications, please click here.

Gratitude: Frances Desabrais presents MDS staff member and CLWR partner Harold Friesen with a plaque that reads “Love.” “Sometimes thank you just isn’t enough,” she said. Photo: MDS

Gratitude: Frances Desabrais presents MDS staff member and CLWR partner Harold Friesen with a plaque that reads “Love.” “Sometimes thank you just isn’t enough,” she said. Photo: MDS

You’re helping communities come together: John and Polly Claydon share the duplex with the Desabrais family. Their 104-year-old home, which was damaged in the flood, previously sat on the lot. Their lot was rezoned for multi-family use, which made it possible to build the duplex and share the space. Photo: MDS

You’re helping communities come together: John and Polly Claydon share the duplex with the Desabrais family. Their 104-year-old home, which was damaged in the flood, previously sat on the lot. Their lot was rezoned for multi-family use, which made it possible to build the duplex and share the space. Photo: MDS

The duplex where the Desabrais and Claydon families now live: complete, thanks to your support! A house for the Anderson family was also dedicated that day. Photo: MDS

The duplex where the Desabrais and Claydon families now live: complete, thanks to your support! A house for the Anderson family was also dedicated that day. Photo: MDS

 

Amazing donors, amazing volunteers

You can be proud to know that your donations worked in partnership with talented, hard-working volunteers. Peter and Susan Thiessen, two Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers, reflect on finishing three homes in time for their dedications:

April 24, 2015: We have just completed a two-week sprint to the finish. We had a house and a duplex to finish as these families were so ready to move back into “their” homes. Having been without a home for 22 months was very long and exhausting.

During our first week here we realized that we would need many hands to complete these three new homes. Our volunteers were incredible. One couldn’t sleep one night and went to work at 4 a.m., and was almost reported by a neighbour to the police.

Some of the other volunteers caught the spirit and went to work at 6 a.m. as well as the evening shift. A 67-year-old volunteer shovelled dirt under decks for a good chunk of the day. As the director was local to the area, he called in favours from friends, two local Bible Study groups, sub-trades, equipment companies (Bobcat) and even the office staff. The cook gave up her assistant, and the Mennonite Disaster Service Chair of Region V (Canada) and his wife came in for four days of labour.

The local home fellowships groups came on Thursday and shovelled topsoil and placed sod to get the place ready for the dedications. Others cleaned the whole house of all its construction dust and dirt.

Our faithful volunteers finished painting baseboard and trim, and washed the exterior. What a transformation! It was beautiful to see how God orchestrated the process by providing the right volunteer skills, the spirit to work the extra hours and the sheer energy. Volunteers were reminded of the significance of the week and responded.

But nothing is as rewarding as the dedications, and we had three in one day. We got to reap the benefit of all the hard work done by others before us. So thanks to fellow volunteers who gave of themselves without seeing the final reward.

The closing prayer at the dedications had these thoughts:

“To the God of creation, who made the heavens and the rivers and then allow them to take their natural course, we stand in awe. Man has chosen to live next to the river of life, and then you allow it to become angry. You are beyond comprehension. But just when we think you are hiding your face from us, you come and bring hope, healing, new life and new joy.”

Psalms 40:1-2: I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Amen”

A final note: The next day when we went back to see Ms. Frances Desabrais, we found her totally moved in. She shared a story with us that when she went to check on her son’s room the next morning, to her amazement it was totally cleaned up and even the bed was made with his new quilt. She then called him at work and asked what happened. His answer was: “I got hit over the head with a new house.” Isn’t that priceless?

duplex front

Your donations support the work of talented, hard-working volunteers. Top: Work on the duplex. Bottom: Doug Janzen and Joe Blank helped frame a flood-affected basement in High River. Joe knows about CLWR because CLWR sponsored him to come to Canada from Germany 61 years ago!  Photos by MDS and CLWR/K.Schroeder

Your donations support the work of talented, hard-working volunteers. Top: Work on the duplex. Bottom: Doug Janzen and Joe Blank helped frame a flood-affected basement in High River. Joe knows about CLWR because CLWR sponsored him to come to Canada from Germany 61 years ago!  Photos by MDS and CLWR/K.Schroeder

 

Helping people cope

Your donations also helped fund free counselling at the High River Counselling Centre to help people cope with the psychological impact of the disaster.

counselling centre sign
Three counsellors have been seeing clients about flood recovery as well as clients with issues seen at any type of counselling centre.

Although CLWR’s funding ended in March 2015, this important service is here to stay. Two years past the disaster, people are still feeling the financial burden of refinishing their homes while they try to secure government disaster relief funding. People have been too busy physically recovering to emotionally recover, and they are starting to burn out from the strain.

The centre has secured other funding to provide free counselling up to March 2016, after which they will move towards a sliding scale subsidy model to continue to provide local, affordable counselling.

Even before the flood, the community had identified a need for mental health services in High River. Your support helped get the ball rolling.

To read coverage about the centre in the High River Times, please click on the following stories:

Free counselling centre to open in High River

Local counselling centre celebrates first year in High River

 

Congregations reaching out

Photo: Pastor Klaus Ohlhoff and congregation chair Esther Dyck in the sanctuary of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, High River. With your support, Pastor Ohlhoff served as a resource for flood-affected people and those delivering aid in hard-hit High River. CLWR/K.Schroeder

Photo: Pastor Klaus Ohlhoff and congregation chair Esther Dyck in the sanctuary of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, High River. With your support, Pastor Ohlhoff served as a resource for flood-affected people and those delivering aid in hard-hit High River. CLWR/K.Schroeder

Your gifts helped St. Peter Lutheran Church in Medicine Hat provide food vouchers and bus passes following the flood to those unable to return to their damaged homes.

Your donations also helped Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in High River connect flood-affected people with resources and emotional support and connect people with volunteer opportunities related to flood recovery. The pastor there served as a vital liaison between CLWR and the High River community, including local leadership and community organizations.

A CLWR prayer for the fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost-2

O Christ our Healer, the cries of Your needy children continually beg for comfort and relief.

In Your own time and with Your unique means, bless with renewed hope and health those suffering from disaster induced pain, those who live with empty stomachs and vulnerable immune systems, those with chronic pains to body, mind and spirit, those awaiting medical intervention; that we who pray for them will also be healed by Your Spirit and constantly bring Jesus’ saving message of grace to all who are ill; in His Holy name we pray. Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Todd Hoeffs for contributing our prayer for the fifth Sunday after Pentecost!

A CLWR prayer for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost

4th Sunday after Pentecost

Gracious Lord Jesus, whose presence at Creation as the Father’s Word & Holy Spirit crafted Paradise, bless those who rely on the water and shore for livelihood and recreation.

Please dispel the gloomy haunts of the Satanic world and the rebellion of humankind so that all water of life will be a remembrance of the Sacramental water of Baptism which recreates us as Your new creatures.

Send us out to assist in calming waters and easing the burdens of life for neighbour, family member and stranger. O Lord Jesus, we worship You in Spirit and in Truth. Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Todd Hoeffs for contributing our prayer for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Protecting children

There is more to say about Sadiki Bertin’s work in Kakuma refugee camp than can be contained in one article.

After fleeing violence from rebel forces in Congo with his wife and children, Sadiki fled through Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda before he was able to seek asylum in Kenya. He reached Kakuma on a Sunday afternoon in November 2009, and approached Lutheran World Federation (LWF) the following day to ask how he could contribute to child protection. At the time, Sadiki had experience working for Save the Children in his hometown and spoke fluent French, Lingala, Bembe, Swahili and Rundi, but had limited English.

Sadiki

“I had to learn English from the community. I spent time with the Sudanese. I learned English from them, and they learned Swahili from me.”

After several months working in a volunteer capacity, Sadiki was engaged by LWF as a Child Protection Community Development worker in January 2011.

“I started working in Kakuma II, mostly with the Great Lakes community.[i] Kakuma II identifies many cases of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and early marriage. I speak with families, community leaders and religious groups.”

At that time, Sadiki says, the community had very little understanding of child rights and protection.

“I had to mobilise the community to identify vulnerable children—unaccompanied children, separated children[ii] and children who are being forced into marriage. We were only two people working but the community was very active, especially providing foster care for vulnerable children.”

Sadiki identifies with vulnerable children because he was one. Both of his parents were killed in the Second Congo War,[iii] leaving him under the care of a relative who died when Sadiki was 14.

“I lived alone for a long time,” he explains. “I learned to be tough and I learned to be a friend to anyone. I can live with Sudanese, Congolese, Burundian, Somali—anyone. I had 15 siblings in Congo but I am the only one remaining. Life for an unaccompanied minor is hard.”

This is why Sadiki and his wife have taken in foster children when carers are needed. In addition to their own five children, the family cared for a young Sudanese boy with health concerns for more than a year before he could be placed in the care of a Sudanese family.

“We are Congolese, the child is Sudanese but it’s not important. We treated that boy like our own son,” he says.

And between it all, Sadiki facilitates youth programs that educate young men about their responsibilities to prevent sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

“We are starting with the boys and men because they are the ones responsible for perpetrating. The girls are vulnerable because in Kakuma they have less access to resources. They are the ones who are left with pregnancy.”

The programs are working with young men to create ambassadors for child rights, especially against early marriage and SGBV. With input from LWF’s youth programs, they hosted a first public event and youth tournament in April.

Sadiki explains that child protection is not easy in Kakuma. “When I follow a case and speak with the elders, sometimes I fear. Someone threatens me and tells me I am not the parent.”

But he has many positive stories, too. In describing his own history, explaining the work being done to educate young men and detailing the responsibilities of a foster carer, Sadiki reflects on some of the successes he has had as a Child Protection Community Development worker, assisting children at serious risk of harm. One of these illustrates the value he places on this work: “I know I saved the life of that child.”

submitted by Lutheran World Federation World Service Kenya – Djibouti Program

[i] The African Great Lakes Region refers to countries that surround 7 great lakes in East Africa. In Kakuma, the community is comprised of refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

[ii] Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) represent vulnerable categories of children with definitions as follow (UNHCR):

Separated Children

Children who have become separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary caregiver, but not necessarily from other relatives. These may, therefore, include children accompanied by other adult family members.

Unaccompanied Minors

Children who have been separated from both parents and other relatives, and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so.

[iii] The Second Congo War took place from 1998-2003 and caused the deaths of 5.4 million people. It is the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II.

A CLWR prayer for the third Sunday of Pentecost

Third Sunday after Pentecost-2

Dear Father, Great Provider and Protector, assaults from the evil one harass us and cause us to live in fear.

Encourage us with the clarity of Your Word and the inspiration of Your Spirit that we may live day to day in the trust and assurance that Christ Jesus dwelling in us will keep us in safety.

By our baptism into the life of Christ and armed with the gift of faith, help us be instruments of Your peace in the world.

As we interact with people around us, may our words and actions be a source of healing to those seeking hope and direction.

May the Word and Sacraments of Your church remain a forceful weapon against any and all Satanic attacks, for Christ crucified and resurrected will always win the day. We ask this through Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Todd Hoeffs, of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Winnipeg, for contributing CLWR’s prayer for the third Sunday after Pentecost

Visit Ethiopia or Uganda with CLWR in 2016

Global Encounter 2016: January 16-30

Our biannual Global Encounters take Canadian Lutherans like you to the communities of people you support through CLWR. These unique trips are tailored as an educational experience for a small and flexible group of travellers.

We’re inviting people to register for our 2016 Global Encounters. There will be two separate trips (see below). Those needing more information or interested in registering should contact Tom Brook, CLWR’s Community Relations Director, at tbrook@clwr.mb.ca or 1.800.661.2597.

Ethiopia: Food Security

Water in the form of an irrigation system fights hunger for the Eyasu family. “Before we were livestock people,” Mohammed says, “but now we have learned how to grow food.”

Water in the form of an irrigation system fights hunger for the Eyasu family. “Before we were livestock people,” Mohammed says, “but now we have learned how to grow food.”  Photo: CFGB/A.Thorsteinsson 

Travellers will leave Canada on January 16 and land in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. From there, the group will travel to Hetosa, Lalibela, and Afar to visit people benefitting from projects that fight hunger and build skills in agricultural production.

Participants will also have the opportunity to visit medieval rock-hewn churchesin Lalibela, Ethiopia, during Epiphany. This UNESCO heritage site consists of 11 cave churches, a “New Jerusalem” constructed in the thirteenth century that is still a place of pilgrimage and devotion.

This trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit people your donations support, experience Ethiopian culture and history, and learn about food security and international development.

Important notes on mobility and transportation: Participants must be able to walk up to one kilometre at a time over uneven terrain. Some in-country travel may be by small aircraft.

Cost: Approximately $5,000 per person (an exact number will be available in the coming weeks). Cost includes domestic and international airfare, accommodations, all meals, ground transportation in Ethiopia and admission fees to parks or national sites.

An initial deposit of $1,500 is required by September 18, and payment in full must be received 30 days before departure.

Uganda: Refugee settlements 

Amach, 13, is a young South Sudanese Refugee coming from Bor. She came to the camp as an unaccompanied minor (without her parents or adult relatives). CLWR partner the Lutheran World Federation built her a house, and provides her with school materials and cash. LWF/M.Renaux

Amach, 13, is a young South Sudanese Refugee coming from Bor. She came to the camp as an unaccompanied minor (without her parents or adult relatives). CLWR partner the Lutheran World Federation built her a house, and provides her with school materials and cash. LWF/M.Renaux

The Uganda trip is limited to 10 people. Travellers will leave Canada on January 16 and land in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. From there, the group will travel to northern Uganda to the Adjumani refugee settlements, where over 100,000 people have found refuge from conflict in South Sudan.

Participants will meet people hosted in the settlements and learn more about delivering aid there – including food, water, sanitation, shelter (pictured), basic household items and livelihood training.

Participants will also have the opportunity to visit one of Uganda’s national parks, home to great apes and other wildlife. (The particular park has yet to be confirmed.)

This is a valuable opportunity not usually open to the general public to learn more about what refugees experience in camps and settlements, and to experience Ugandan culture and the country’s rich natural environment.

The trip will end in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where you will meet up with the Ethiopia Global Encounter group.

Important notes on mobility and transportation: Participants must be able to walk up to one kilometre at a time over uneven terrain. Some in-country travel may be by small aircraft.

Cost: $6,000 per person. Cost includes domestic and international airfare, accommodations, all meals, ground transportation in Uganda and admission fees to parks or national sites.

An initial deposit of $1,500 is required by September 18, and payment in full must be received 30 days before departure.

Photo: LWF/M.Renaux

http://www.clwr.org/Get-Involved/visit-our-program-communities.cfm#geethiopiaanduganda