A CLWR prayer for the week of Pentecost

Pentecost prayer

Spirit of Truth, breath life into us and move us to new places. Help us to see the ways in which we have power and resources to change the world, and urge us to use what we have for the good of all.

Through the one who motivates us into new living, Jesus Christ. Amen

Thanks to Rev. Tyler Gingrich, CLWR’s Youth Engagement Coordinator, for contributing CLWR’s prayer for the week of Pentecost.

In memory of Dr. Tawfiq Nasser

Dr Nasser

We give thanks to God for the life and witness of Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, CEO of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in the Holy Land, who passed away on Saturday morning. Please keep his wife Sama, his children, his father and the Augusta Victoria Hospital family in your prayers.

“Tawfiq worked at the Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives for 18 years,” said Bishop Munib A Younan, chairperson of the board of the AVH and president of the LWF. “He cherished and loved AVH. Tawfiq did not want it to be just a hospital. He wanted it to be a community of healing on the Mount of Olives.”

“As a medical doctor, he learned the healing arts and applied them to relieve human suffering. As a gifted administrator, he organized the staff, the resources and the supporters to bring the Augusta Victoria Hospital to even higher levels of service. As a Palestinian, through his words and actions as a consummate professional, he was a powerful witness for justice, peace and an end to the occupation.” –LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge

Read more about Dr. Nasser…

Please consider a donation towards Augusta Victoria Hospital’s Elder Care Pavilion both in Dr. Nasser’s memory and to accomplish his dream to provide quality health care for the elderly:

Online: http://clwr.donorshops.com/product/4D7D346/eldercarepavilionataugustavictoriahospital.php

By phone: 1.800.661.2597 (in Winnipeg at 204.694.5602)

By mail: Mail a cheque made out to CLWR to CLWR, 600-177 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0W5. Please indicate you wish to give to the Elder Care Pavilion in memory of Dr. Nasser.

At your church: Make a designated offering donation through any Lutheran congregation in Canada.

A Journey of Fear and Hope

Godfrey Alumay Moini feared the worst for his wife and three children after finding their home raided and empty in Juba, South Sudan.

The 28-year-old was working as a construction worker in Pachala, South Sudan, when war broke out in December 2013. Constant gunfire made it impossible for him to safely leave Pachala for a week. He left to find his family as soon as the fighting died down, and was devastated to find no sign of them.

He collected his spirits as best as he could and joined a military convoy transporting people fleeing the war zone. He arrived in Uganda and was received at the Dzaipi reception centre at the Adjumani refugee settlements. Not finding his family there, he found his way to the nearby Nyumanzi reception centre to find out if his family had been registered there. He was joyful to find that they had been received just a few days before him. Even though their homes remain separate—Godfrey was placed in a different settlement from his wife and children because they weren’t identified as a family unit upon arrival—it was a huge relief to know they safely made it out of Juba.

The Dzaipi reception centre, where Godfrey was received when he first arrived at the Adjumani refugee settlement.

The Dzaipi reception centre, where Godfrey was received when he first arrived at the Adjumani refugee settlement.

Lutheran support stepped in at this point to help Godfrey get back on his feet. His immediate needs for household items like dishes and pans, blankets, plastic sheets, soap, a sleeping mat and a mosquito net were met. Garden tools including a hoe and a sickle, and seeds for okra, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, cassava stock and sweet potato vines allowed him to grow his own food.

Godfrey receives a box of laundry soap from Steven, a Lutheran World Federation staff member

Godfrey receives a box of laundry soap from Steven, a Lutheran World Federation staff member

Best of all, he received training from our partner, the Lutheran World Federation in Uganda, to become a pump mechanic. He now has the skills to construct and repair wells.

“I consider the pump repair training I received from LWF to be invaluable. I had some construction skills before, but now I know how to build and fix a borehole. Now I make a living from fixing them, and I can support my family with that. It is a skill I can keep for the rest of my life.

“LWF has allowed me to grow roots within this area and has given me the tools to succeed as an independent individual.”

When asked about the future, Godfrey sounds optimistic. He is intending to reunite with his wife and family, and maybe one day, if South Sudan is peaceful again, they will return there and start over. For now, he is using his new skills to make life better in his new community.

A CLWR prayer for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Seventh Sunday of Easter

God our protector, be with us in moments of fear and unsteadiness. Through those around us, give us confidence that you desire abundant life for all, and that our lives are connected in you, the source of life. May we be moved to new places by the Word incarnate, Jesus Christ. Amen

Thanks to Rev. Tyler Gingrich, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) – Youth Engagement Coordinator, for contributing CLWR’s prayer for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Nepal earthquake: Time is running out for matching donations

Ghusel village, Lalitpur, after the earthquake.

Ghusel village, Lalitpur, after the earthquake.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal on April 25, killing more than 8,000 people and injuring more than 14,000 (as of May 7). Thousands of villages have been destroyed, leaving many thousands without proper shelter. With monsoon season approaching, securing medium-to-long term shelter for those left homeless becomes even more urgent. As many as 90 per cent of clinics and schools in some districts are unusable. The United Nations reported on April 29 that 2.8 million people have lost their homes or have been forced to stay elsewhere, while at least 3.5 million people urgently need food supplies. The UN says that 8.1 million people in total need some sort of emergency assistance.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE. DONATIONS WILL BE MATCHED UNTIL MAY 25

Lutherans are responding

Our partner, the Lutheran World Federation, has been working in Nepal for decades, which has given them the resources and experience needed to provide relief quickly. There is an “Emergency Hub” of staff members and aid items located in Kathmandu, which meant that LWF staff could distribute items like blankets, tarps and ready-to-eat food to 400 families in Kathmandu within hours of the earthquake.

You can be proud to know that existing Lutheran development support has given many Nepalese communities coping skills and resources that will help them rebuild, and the LWF has the experience, influence and resources to address urgent emergency needs right now, as well as long-term recovery.

Your donations help support remote villages

Together with ACT Alliance partner agencies, LWF has reached out to remote communities in the Lalitpur district, delivering aid including blankets, tarps and food. One such village is Dhusel, a community where the LWF has worked for eight years.

LWF Nepal project coordinator Nibha Shresta hands out blankets to earthquake survivors in Ghusel

LWF Nepal project coordinator Nibha Shresta hands out blankets to earthquake survivors in Ghusel

Out of the 338 houses that were there, 300 have collapsed entirely. Four people died in the earthquake, as well as many animals – the wealth and livelihood of the people. The community is already organizing itself, working together to salvage belongings and build new shelters. To start, the LWF is discussing with the community how to best provide medium-term shelter.

Beyond Kathmandu valley

Support is now extending to difficult to reach districts very close to the epicentre of the earthquake. In Gorkha district, the LWF will respond in the area around Barpak. They will provide integrated support, meaning it will provide all the relief a village needs. In Gorkha, this will most likely cover a wider range. People here have lost family members, homes and livelihoods (many livestock were killed in collapsed stables). With the monsoon rains about to start, shelter is the most urgent priority, followed by reconstruction. Since some people’s livelihoods are gone, food assistance will be needed in a few weeks’ time. Where toilets and water pipes have been damaged, LWF will provide water, sanitation and hygiene. Psychosocial support will help people deal with the trauma of the earthquake and make sure that vulnerable people are not overlooked.

LWF-ACT Alliance distributing blankets to earthquake survivors in Gushel village, Lalitpur. LWF has been doing development work here since 2006. The earthquake has destroyed the entire village.

LWF-ACT Alliance distributing blankets to earthquake survivors in Gushel village, Lalitpur. LWF has been doing development work here since 2006. The earthquake has destroyed the entire village.

Time is running out to match your donation

If you have already donated to the relief effort, thank you. Your gift is at work saving and changing lives.

If you haven’t already, will you consider making a donation? Every gift makes a difference. Please click here to donate. 

The Canadian government is matching dollar-for-dollar all donations made towards Nepal earthquake relief between April 25 to May 25. If you give today, you will double your gift’s reach.

Diversity supported at Holy Land Lutheran schools

Rev. Ashraf Tannous wears three hats. He is the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Beit Sahour, the Youth Pastor for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land and teaches religion classes at the Evangelical Lutheran School of Beit Sahour. The day I met him he had just returned from his honeymoon in Thailand.

Rev. Ashraf Tannous discusses modeling positive co-existence at the Evangelical Lutheran School at Beit Sahour. CLWR/T.Brook

Rev. Ashraf Tannous discusses modeling positive co-existence at the Evangelical Lutheran School at Beit Sahour. CLWR/T.Brook

Founded in 1901 through partnership with local church members and German missionaries, the Evangelical Lutheran School (ELS) in Beit Sahour is the second longest running school in Beit Sahour, the region of the Shepherd’s Fields in the Nativity story.

Since its birth, ELS has served both Christian and Muslim students, boys and girls together, reflecting the make-up of the community and modeling positive co-existence between students of different backgrounds. Currently, the school enrolls 439 students: 80% are Christian, 20% are Muslim; 55% are boys and 45% are girls. The highly co-ed nature of the school is unique.

Religion and its place in North American schools is controversial and I was curious to learn how things might be different in the ELCJHL schools. As you might guess there is regular instruction in religion and an active chapel life.

A classroom at ELS Beit Sahour. CLWR/T.Brook

A classroom at ELS Beit Sahour. CLWR/T.Brook

Pastor Tannous conducts classes that are faithful to the traditions and history of the Lutheran Church but also recognizes in a deliberately ecumenical manner the traditions of other Christian expressions. He also seeks to engage students to not only learn about their faith but also how to live it out by applying it to areas like relationships and ethical decisions.

Two periods a month are set aside where Christian and Muslim students come together to discuss their religions. This is a way for students to become confident in their faith and express it to others. It also helps them gain a better understanding of each other. After all, as Pastor Tannous says, these students may have a different religion but they all experience the same occupation, the same challenges and the same hopes for the future and they need to do it together.

He concluded our conversation by telling me why Muslim parents are keen to send their children to a Lutheran school. He said they tell him, “We send them to a Christian school because we want our children to learn Christian ethics. It is important for them to know this so they can relate to the whole community with peace and harmony.”

Tom Brook – CLWR Community Relations Director

A CLWR prayer for the Sixth Sunday after Easter

Sixth Sunday of Easter-8

God of love, we experience the depth of your care through dear ones who nurture us and affirm us along the way. Join us together that we may be signs of your love and care for all people, that your presence may be known in the world. In the name of the one whose life was love, Jesus Christ. Amen

Thanks to Rev. Tyler Gingrich, CLWR’s Youth Engagement Coordinator, for contributing our prayer for the Sixth Sunday of Easter.