Update December 13, 2019
Currently, the committee is accepting donations for their Christmas Grants. As always, any contributions to meet these needs are greatly appreciated.
LLC Humanitarian Aid Committee Origins
The LLC started humanitarian aid work in the spring of 2002 in response to requests by ministers returning from mission trips from both Togo and Ecuador. They saw that many of the most basic temporal and daily needs of many newly converted believers were unmet. Many of these speakers helped with their own funds and wished there was a way to help more of the brothers and sisters in these areas.
After hearing these requests, the LLC decided to form a separate fund designated strictly to humanitarian aid. This separation of funds was seen as essential so that the humanitarian work would not get confused with the LLC’s main mission, “to preach the Gospel.” This new fund would ensure that contributors to the LLC would be able to designate how their donation would be used, for mission work or for humanitarian purposes.
At the initial humanitarian aid meetings the committee chose officers and drafted a charter that detailed its organization, mission statement, and short- and long-term operating plans. This charter was brought to the LLC Board of Directors meeting during the LLC’s 2002 Summer Services. The charter was approved, and the committee was encouraged by the LLC to initiate the work as described in the charter.
How Funds are Raised
Based on these initial meetings and the approval of the charter, the Humanitarian Aid Committee started its formal activities of raising and disbursing funds. The HAC fund-raising efforts to date have been at LLC-sponsored events such as Winter and Summer Services, as well as local fund-raising events in congregations. One of the HAC’s hopes is to see each congregation in the North American Zion sponsor at least one humanitarian aid fund-raiser each year. Some of the fund-raisers held by the congregations have included bake sales, presentations, general collections, meals, and special coffee lunches.
God has graciously provided for this work and the most acute needs have always been funded. These include medical requirements, housing, dietary requirements, natural disaster relief, and primary schooling needs for the young. Other requests for post-secondary education and entrepreneurial grants have mostly been beyond the support levels in that humanitarian aid fund and have had to be denied.
How Funds are Used
The funds have then been given to the local Humanitarian Aid Committees developed by the congregations in Ecuador, Togo, and Ghana. A general grant is sent to the humanitarian aid representatives in these countries each quarter. These funds are used to help with the day-to-day requests to support their work. These local committees truly know where and how to best use the funds so that the greatest impact can be made with the limited resources available. In addition to these quarterly grants, money is sent to each country each August to support the educational needs of the children. Additionally, money is sent to each country at Christmas to support the believers with a Christmas meal and a treat for the children in December. These grants have been greatly appreciated and these believers feel the love from North American Zion.
The local Humanitarian Aid Committees have been crucial in this work and have soberly used the funds to support the basic needs of the children and families in their congregations. The LLC HAC has attempted to establish a small “emergency fund” to support requests that cannot be met with the regular quarterly distributions. These funds are used to support serious and often life-threatening incidents. The emergency fund has been used in many ways. It has provided support to help a family rebuild their home that had burned down, provided food relief for the Togolese believers in a time of severe flooding, to help Ecuadorian believers following a volcano eruption, and has provided many types of medical support (cancer treatments, eye surgeries, stroke, severe burn victim etc.). Most of these needs would have gone unmet without the North American believers’ support for the fund.
The LLC HAC has also provided other types of assistance to help entire communities. These projects have included providing running water for 64 homes in the Riobamba area of Ecuador, providing basic immunizations for the Togolese believers, supporting a small grocery cooperative in Quito, Ecuador to make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable, and to support both a trout farm and a sheep farm for some of the indigenous believers in Ecuador. These small communal farm projects were initiated to help believers support themselves and their extended communities.
Make a Charitable Contribution
The LLC Humanitarian Aid Committee organizes assistance efforts in both Togo and Ecuador where LLC mission services are held.
Laestadian Lutheran Church is a 501(c)3 organization.
Humanitarian Aid Committee Membership
Current Membership of the Humanitarian Aid Committee is as follows:
Contact the Humanitarian Aid Committee: