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Please find below an update on the current response of MDR as we monitor the beginning stages of recovery in Texas from Harvey, the anticipation of further damage from Hurricane Irma, and listen to the potential impact of Hurricanes Jose and Katia close behind.
NOTE: The BWM will be putting out a further update on Saturday afternoon (September 9th) so the most up to date information can be shared with congregations in worship this Sunday.
At the writing of this update, the Board of World Mission (BWM) has just received initial word from our partners in the Eastern West Indies province following the passing of Hurricane Irma. This province includes nearly 50 congregations on the islands of Antigua, Barbados, St. Croix, St. John, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Tobago and Trinidad, with mission outreach to the islands of Tortola, St. Maarten, and Grenada.
Much of this area was in the direct path of the storm, and the BWM received some pictures of the damage on St. Thomas late Wednesday, September 6th from a Moravian family on that island. The BWM expects to hear from members of the churches in this province as soon as power, phone and internet service are returned. We ask for your prayers as we wait, hoping for the best possible news given the circumstances. There have been reports of very heavy damage from this Category 5 storm.
We are now monitoring the path of the storm, and have been in communication with the Moravian Churches in Haiti as well as Cuba to share our support, and be ready to answer any calls for aid after the passing of the storm. The Church in Cuba has decided to plan to go ahead with beginning Synod on Tuesday morning. Representatives of the BWM and the Armando Rusindo Mission Foundation (ARMF) will be traveling on Monday morning if flight schedules allow to be a part of that Synod. Two members of ARMF are already on the ground in Cuba, and traveled 12 hours overnight on a bus to head West to Havana to try and avoid the storm as much as possible. Prayers are requested for all those planning to travel to Synod, and for this event, the first as a Mission Province for the Moravian Church in Cuba.
Additionally, the BWM has been in contact with the Southern Province, and reached out to share our support and share our readiness to respond with congregations in Florida as we await further updates on the path of the storm.
The BWM is gaining traction on a plan for responding to Hurricane Harvey. This weekend a team from the Unity of the Brethren Church will be able to visit Port Arthur, Texas and assess the damage to the Good Shepherd Moravian Fellowship building, and how its member’s homes were impacted as well. (This fellowship is actually a congregation of the Unity of the Brethren made up of predominantly Moravians who formerly lived in Nicaragua). This assessment will allow for the leadership to better communicate exact needs and a timeline on needing work teams. Plans are also being made to send an MDR trailer to this area in the near future, and to leave it for use during the ongoing work of rebuilding in Port Arthur. We anticipate the opportunity for work teams to join with our partners in the Unity of the Brethren in this rebuilding.
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