Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dominican Brethren respond to the earthquake in Haiti.

The Mendoza church in the Dominican Republic gathered together on this first Sunday following the earthquake in Haiti to grieve and comfort one another in the face of the terrible losses. Thge church is part of the Church of the Brethren in the DR.

Many wept as the congregation sang in Haitian Creole, "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll." One woman fell to the floor in a convulsion of wailing and sorrow. The gathering felt like a mass funeral service given that most of the 400-plus members were grieving personal losses and also the collective story of so many deaths of loved ones in Port-au-Prince.

Many have still not heard news of their loved ones and are terribly worried. Others know of injuries and destruction of family property.

"We will not fear, though the earth give way…and the mountains quake" (Psalm 46:2-3). This was Pastor Ernst Merisier’s text as he comforted his grieving congregation. "God is our stability (refuge and strength) in an unstable world," he said. In this world, everything is unstable and unworthy of trust. "Nevertheless," he said, "we can put our faith in the salvation offered through Jesus Christ because He is 'rock-solid.'" A special offering to help victims of the earthquake was collected by the members of the congregation.

Other Brethren churches in the Dominican Republic are responding as well with offerings and collections of food. National Dominican leaders have begun setting goals for a coordinated relief effort using funds granted by Brethren Disaster Services.

-- Irvin Heishman is co-coordinator of the Church of the Brethren’s mission in the Dominican Republic.

Source: 1/19/2010 Newsline Special

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