Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to the Disaster Recovery Support Initiative and the task of developing new project sites following the 2017 hurricane and fire season. In addition, a grant has been given to assist families displaced by violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I am amazed at the end of each year when I add up and record all the work that has been done in Nigeria by the Nigeria Crisis Response, a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Last year, 2017, was no different.
Hurricane Maria recovery in Puerto Rico is slow, but there is progress. When a whole island has extensive damage to basic services like electricity, running water, and cellular communication, recovery is difficult and long. Power is returning to more areas, but less than half the residents have power. Cellular service is improving, and church leaders are able to communicate better.
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is responding to the fires in southern California, at the end of a week in which wildfires stoked by strong Santa Ana winds started northwest of Los Angeles and now have begun in the San Diego area as well. CDS will be deploying a team of eight volunteers to serve affected children and families in southern California beginning this weekend.
Church of the Brethren Newsline December 4, 2017 Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) had its origins in the work of missionaries sent by the Church of the Brethren starting in 1923. My husband, Don Shankster, pastor of Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren in Scottsdale, Ariz., was one of the
Church of the Brethren volunteers have done repairs to church buildings and homes in Puerto Rico this month. The church buildings receiving repair are connected with Segunda Iglesia Cristo Misionera (Caimito Church of the Brethren) and some nearby homes. Two groups of volunteers, totaling seven people, assisted with the project which received support from Brethren Disaster Ministries.
The Soybean Value Chain initiative is led by a steering committee of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) with the goal to increase awareness of soybeans as a commercial crop and develop a soybean value chain that will provide sustainable economic benefits to farmers and farming communities.
The months from July until late October are called the “lean period” in Nigeria because food from last year’s harvest is almost gone, and the new crop is not yet ready. The Boko Haram insurgency has compounded this problem with a decreased ability to even plant crops. Statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Nigeria) states that 8.5 million people in the area are still in need of humanitarian assistance.
After the devastating damage of hurricanes like Maria, civil society often breaks down. Desperate or opportunistic people start looting or stealing and stresses keep increasing. Another part of society pulls together and helps each other, bringing out the very best in human nature…and our faith often brings out the very best of being the church. The Puerto Rican churches are an inspiring example of being the church in a crisis. While burdened with many hardships, the Puerto Rican Brethren are coming together supporting each other and reaching out to their communities.
Roy Winter is on a trip to Puerto Rico this week to assess needs following Hurricane Maria and to meet with Church of the Brethren leaders in Puerto Rico District. Winter is associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries.