Tears of sorrow, tears of joy
Joy and sadness often exist side by side. While some can come together and celebrate again, others are struggling to come to terms with destruction. Let’s pray for all.
Clean-up work after devastating flash floods
On Wednesday, 14 July 2021, many congregations still had their normal midweek services. Then the water rose in parts of Germany and catastrophic flash floods devastated parts of the western part of the country. So far, the disaster has claimed at least 170 lives. In the town of Sinzig alone, twelve people died in a home for the disabled as the torrents tore through the small town. Church members were also affected: their basements were flooded, their cars were washed away, and one couple was left homeless. The church building in the town of Sinzig fared comparatively well. The water rose up to a meter in the church hall, leaving a thick layer of mud after it drained away. On Friday, Apostle Gert Opdenplatz and several members met to clear away most of the silt, while a technical support team pumped out the basement. Also on Saturday many came to help and clean the edifice. “The sanctuary is clean again, the solidarity was amazing,” Roland Fuhrmann, who is responsible for the building department, wrote to District Apostle Storck.
On Sunday Apostle Gert Opdenplatz conducted a divine service in Hanau for the youth and prayed especially for the victims of the flood. He also reported on the situation in other parts of the world. In Gambia, for example, heavy rains had claimed the lives of ten people and resulted in the collapse of three churches. District Apostle Rainer Storck urged the members of his district to help the flood victims with a donation. The New Apostolic Church Western Germany and the aid organisation nak.karitativ want to help those affected: “Let us show solidarity and Christian love to our neighbours in this way,” District Apostle Storck wrote. He particularly urged the young people to try and come up with possible campaigns to collect donations. “We are praying for all those who have lost loved ones,” said Peter Johanning, the spokesman for the New Apostolic Church.
Rebuilding after earthquake
The Philippines are regularly hit by earthquakes. At the end of 2019 the Davao region was struck by a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake that damaged buildings and left many injured. One of the buildings damaged was the New Apostolic church in San Isidro. NAC SEA Relief Fund, which had helped with relief efforts after the disaster, was also able to finance the rebuilding of the destroyed church.
The aid organisation is also active in other regions with preventative measures to prevent the worst. In Tangana-an, for example, NAC SEA Relief Fund provided a family with building materials so that they could build their new house on solid and secure ground. What was very touching is that members of the congregation immediately offered to help. Together they were able to build a safe home for the family.
June 20th, 2021 was a special day for the confirmands in Vo (Togo) and in Lelystad (Netherlands). In Vo ten confirmands were able to come together to celebrate their confirmation. A year earlier, confirmation had had to be cancelled due to COVID. This year, 2021, both years celebrated together. District Elder Amèvi Fangbom based the divine service on Luke 6: 45: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” He made a point of referring to the Bible text issued by the Chief Apostle, 2 Thessalonians 3: 3, for confirmation: “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”
In Lelystad (Netherlands) it was a similar scenario. Last year’s and this year’s confirmands were finally able to come together on 20 June 2021 and get to know each other. The planned Confirmation Day had had to be cancelled last year due to COVID-19. The confirmands and their teachers were particularly happy that they could finally be together with Apostle Peter Klene and celebrate under the motto: “I can do it!” Challenging group sports and games brought them together so that they could learn to work together well, and to trust and encourage each other. The afternoon was not about winners or losers but about a good team spirit. The divine service, which was conducted by Apostle Klene, was based on Ephesians 6: 10–18. He called upon the young people to stand firm and to dare to openly and honestly proclaim their faith—with God’s help.
Treasures in heaven
On Saturday, 26 June 2021, Apostle George Sam and Bishop Thomas Ampofo visited the Tarkwa district in Ghana to conduct a service for children. The Apostle read Luke 8: 18 as basis for his sermon and told the children the parable about the lamp under the bushel, which belongs in this context. He made the children understand that they were treasures in heaven and that they should display their talents and shine to the rest of the world: “No one lights a lamp and covers it.”