Believing and joyful in hope despite all difficulties
Pastoral care and administration: both belong together in a Church that is represented around the world. Just how this is handled in the individual countries is quite a different matter—and yet somehow the same.
Venezuela needs comfort: In the middle of February, Brazilian District Apostle Raúl Montes de Oca travelled to the neighbouring country of Venezuela by commission of the Chief Apostle. Over the space of seven divine services he managed to assemble a total of over 3,000 Church members. A total of 186 ministers participated in two seminars for ministers. The Brazilian Church leader was very positive as he talked about his trip. He relates that he loves his brethren in faith in the congregations there. Despite the many difficulties in life, the people continue to believe and maintain their joy in hope. However, the supply bottlenecks in the country are clearly identifiable: people are losing their jobs and have to see how they will provide for themselves and their families, often by selling fruit at the side of the road.
On Sunday, 11 February, the District Apostle conducted a divine service in the congregation of Maracay. There, in the presence of 900 divine service participants, he discharged the local Apostle José Rafael Lara-Tovar into an early retirement for health reasons.
Congregations in Cebu and Bohol become acquainted with their District Apostle Helper: Apostle Edy Isnugroho, who has been a District Apostle Helper in South East Asia since May 2017, travelled to congregations on the two Philippine islands of Cebu and Bohol in mid-February. Local Apostle Cleofas Asna Bual and Bishops Quako and Puso accompanied him. Divine services were conducted in the congregations of Tayad Tayad, Lantawan, Rufo Hill, Carmen Central, Lataban, Tabalon, and Taguihon Central. In the meantime, a typhoon also rushed through the Philippine Archipelago, and although it delayed the travel programme, it did not prevent it.
On Sunday, 18 February 2018, District Apostle Urs Hebeisen conducted a divine service in Tagbilaran Central. He recalled conducting divine services in Bohol as a young Priest as far back as 1978. He is awaiting his well-deserved retirement at the end of this year.
India’s new Apostles instructed: In November 2017, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider was in India, where he ordained three new Apostles and admitted four long-serving Apostles into a festive retirement. The logical consequence of this was that the working areas of the eight Indian Apostles were newly allocated. After all, the approximately 1,000 ministers and 560 congregations need appropriate pastoral care. So it was that the 46 Church districts were redistributed among seven Apostle districts – District Apostle Helper David Deveraj travels throughout the entire country. The new Apostle districts are very appealing for interested readers to get to know online.
Drinking water for Aleppo: The bloody battles surrounding Aleppo persisted for four long years before it was possible for the Syrian city to finally be liberated in December 2016. In the meantime, people are slowly returning to their homes and are trying to cope with their new reality. One of the larger problems confronting them is the water supply. The aid organisation known as Aramaic Relief provides fresh drinking water for the people. The city, which numbered over two million inhabitants before the war, is nothing more than a pile of ruins today. Access to running water was even used as a weapon, as the aggressors seized sources and destroyed pipelines and pumps. Now the United Nations is rebuilding wells and pumping stations. In addition, water tankers are providing water to the suffering inhabitants. The New Apostolic aid agency “NAK-Humanitas” from Switzerland is supporting the procurement of a water tanker with a contribution of 10,000 Swiss Francs.