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Nicaraguan church workers continue facing crisis

Friday, August 29, 2008

Retired LCC president, Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan and ILSN vice-president Pastor Claudio Rivas at LCC’s convention in June 2008

At a meeting with Pastor Claudio Rivas, the vice-president of Iglesia Luterana Sínodo de Nicaragua (ILSN) following the LCC convention in June, the vice-president reported that the economic situation in Nicaragua has created a crisis for the Nicaraguan church workers and their families.

Inflation is running 35 to 40 percent this year. Gasoline, in the second poorest nation in Central America, is $1.50 per litre. The prices of cooking oil, rice and beans—staples in Nicaragua—have increased almost 100 percent. He said the pastors and deaconesses are struggling to make ends meet and feed their families.

The pastors and deaconesses in Nicaragua do not receive a salary, but a $50/week allowance to cover all their family expenses.

Although not in the mission budget, LCC committed to three months of support and immediately authorized forwarding $4000. Pastor Claudio made sure LCC understood this was an emergency situation, and that ILSN was not expecting a long-term commitment.

Gifts to Lutheran Church–Canada have covered the initial commitment, but interim mission executive, Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan expects the need to continue. He is encouraging LCC members to continue supporting this effort by contributing at www.lutheranchurch.ca/donate.

Dr. Mayan and LCC treasurer Dwayne Cleave have scheduled a visit to Nicaragua in October to assess the long-term needs.

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