Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund to a variety of projects in recent weeks. Among them are a bridge rebuilding project in West Virginia, assistance for refugees from Burundi living in Rwanda, assistance for people displaced by violence in the DR Congo, a Disaster Recovery Support Initiative aiding a longterm recovery group in South Carolina, food assistance in South Sudan, and aid for Haitian migrants returning to Haiti from the Dominican Republic. These grants total $85,950.
A delegation of the Mission Advisory Committee enjoyed a formal visit with Iglesia de los Hermandos Dominicano (Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic), visiting churches, touring outreach ministries, speaking with church members, and attending the 25th annual gathering, “Asamblea,” of the Dominican Brethren held Feb. 12-14.
The staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries have directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to aid families in Myanmar (Burma) who were affected by Cyclone Komen, and to help people of Haitian descent who are living in the Dominican Republic.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed a grant of up to $8,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) supporting the work of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic) to assist the naturalization of ethnic Haitians living in the DR. This grant is in addition to funding of $6,500 from the budget of Global Mission and Service, for a total of up to $14,500.
The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed two grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster (EDF) to support the Shalom ministry’s work with Burundi refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to the work of Church World Service to assist Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.
A highlight from a recent Brethren mission trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic was a time of prayer on the border between the two countries. Two groups of volunteers traveled to the Dominican Republic in December and January to help build a church in La Descubierta, with funding from Global Mission and Service, Brethren World Mission, and both volunteer groups. Located near the border with Haiti, La Descubierta is a community comprised primarily of Haitian immigrants.
Brethren representatives from the Dominican Republic and the United States were part of an ECHO Caribbean conference this fall, including Jeff Boshart, manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF).
By Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations: The Sept. 25 Dominican Republic court ruling denies Dominican nationality to children of undocumented migrants who have been born or registered in the country after 1929 and who do not have at least one parent of Dominican blood. This comes under a 2010 constitutional clause declaring these people to be either in the country illegally or in transit.
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are directing grant money to support a continuing home rebuilding effort in New York State following flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and a church effort to distribute canned chicken in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
“CDS is busy,” reports Judy Bezon. As the storm called “Sandy” assaults the East Coast, Children’s Disaster Services has put volunteers on alert and Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are calling for prayer as they monitor the situation. Prayer is requested for all affected by the storm, as it threatens the US after causing damage in a number of Caribbean nations including Haiti–where four Brethren families lost homes–as well as the Dominican Republic and Cuba.