Almost two weeks after a devastating tsunami tore through South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Africa, efforts to reach tsunami survivors continue. For the Lutheran Churches of South Asia, the task of reaching those in need strikes closer to home. Many local South and Southeast Asian Lutherans not just face challenges in rebuilding churches, homes, and synod offices destroyed by the tsunami, but also to aid tsunami survivors.
Kathy J. Magnus of the Lutheran World Federation commented, “Churches, synod offices and homes have been destroyed, but those losses pale as we mourn the loss of so many lives. The LWF [has been] committed… in this region for decades. The LWF member churches in Asia will inform us as to how we can be the most helpful.”
“The Lutheran World Federation is deeply appreciative of the
generosity of the people of the ELCA at this very difficult time for all
those affected by the tsunami,” Kathy said. Kathy is currently working under the LWF North American regional office.
In the past weeks, ELCA’s International Disaster Response had given about US $150,000 in contribution funds to strengthen disaster relief works in South Asia. Of the US $150K, US $100K was allocated to the ACT, US $30K to the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of India, and US $20K to domestic recovery efforts mainly in Indonesia.
International Disaster Response (IDR) is led by the ELCA Division for Global Mission. The IDR often give contributions to international churches and organizations undergoing relief efforts. ELCA is currently a member of both the WCC and LWF.
Funds collected by ELCA for the disaster relief have been sent to Action by Churches Together (ACT), an interdenominational relief alliance of which the LWF is affiliated with. The agency includes churches from denominations such as the Sri Lanka National Council of Churches, the LWF Lutheran World Service in India, the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India, and the Lutheran Churches in Indonesia. The ACT is based in Geneva, Switzerland alongside World Council of Churches (WCC) and LWF headquarters.
So far, contributions from have not gone unnoticed, particularly amongst local churches located in tsunami-devastated areas. Many church leaders including those in Indonesia, India, and Thailand have expressed great appreciation for the outpouring of funds and time for aiding ongoing relief efforts.