Two men digging in the muddy aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras were delighted to come upon a corrugated iron sheet. "We need usable materials to rebuild our houses," they said to Lutheran World Federation representatives standing nearby. The only building still standing in the vicinity is a hospital, but even there the mud reaches the second floor.
Guillermo Flores, president of the Christian Lutheran Church of Honduras, says the government has asked the churches to take care of the homeless. LWF efforts there are helping 700 families rebuild their lives, contributing food and small credits for purchasing building materials.
While many of the dollars for dealing with such emergencies come from government assistance and from such programs as the ELCA World Hunger Appeal, a newly launched project, the LWF Foundation, will provide a stable financial base for the federation's ongoing organizational costs for relief work and other federation efforts.
Dorothy Marple of Philadelphia, an ELCA member, is part of the foundation's permanent committee. Eugene Ries, an ELCA pastor and retired director of the LWF Division for World Service, is a special adviser to the committee and to LWF General Secretary Ishmael Noko.
The foundation's goal by the year 2002 is to raise $10 million, with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America requested to provide $2 million ($213,000 has been contributed so far). The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is sending 10 percent of its undesignated funds to the foundation. The Church of Sweden pledged $1.5 million. The German churches are considering providing $2.5 million, and the churches in Finland and Norway are hoping to give up to $1.5 million each.
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