Wednesday, March 3, 2010

LCMS response to the Chile earthquake

This is from the LCMS World Mission e-news.

LCMS offers prayers and support for Chile and partners

The president of the LCMS' Chilean partner church body said his members and pastors are safe following the Feb. 27 8.8 magnitude earthquake even as the church body's assessment of damage continues.

"By God's grace, [none] of our church members and pastors' families have suffered," wrote Rev. Carlos Schumann, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Republic of Chile (IELCHI), in an e-mail to the LCMS.

The LCMS is monitoring the needs of the partner church and has pledged assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake that claimed more than 700 lives, toppled thousands of buildings and homes, and left an estimated 2 million people homeless.

Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of the LCMS, expressed sorrow and concern for the Chilean people and the IELCHI in an electronic letter Sunday to Schumann.

"We thank God that He remains faithful to His promises, and we pray that He will give you strength and wisdom for the challenges of today, tomorrow, and for many days and years to come,'' Kieschnick wrote. "May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord!''

The IELCHI, while still assessing the earthquake's effects on its members, buildings, and schools, has reported no serious damage from the quake to its congregations and schools. The earthquake is one of the worst on record.

Kieschnick asked staff from LCMS World Mission-led by Rev. Dr. Jorge Groh, regional director for Latin America-and LCMS World Relief and Human Care, to remain in contact with the IELCHI. "While already committing human and fiscal resources to relief and rebuilding in Haiti, we stand ready to be of assistance in any way possible in the aftermath of this very powerful earthquake in your country,'' Kieschnick wrote in his electronic letter.

Rev. Christian Rautenberg serves at the IELCHI's mission site in the Chilean capital, Santiago, which was also affected by the quake. In an e-mail to Groh on Monday, March 1, he wrote, "Today we are having an emergency church meeting to analyze the situation and the requests for help and support because this situation is also an opportunity to bring the Gospel message in an integrated manner to those who are suffering."

Schumann thanked the LCMS' "brothers and sisters that are praying for us and our country.

"So, just [one] thing remains firm: God's merciful and powerful hands where your life by faith quietly rests,'' he wrote in a reply to Kieschnick. "I'm really [appreciative of] your kind, warm and friendly concern about us and the whole Chilean church.''

On behalf of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LCMS World Relief and Human Care (the mercy arm of the LCMS) will work 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 Chile and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Republic of Chile.

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