written by
Chris Giesler

Wupperthal, South Africa - Update on Fire Recovery Efforts

MDR Slider News 2 min read

On December 30, 2018 a massive fire destroyed most of the town of Wupperthal, a Moravian settlement town in western South Africa. While the cause of the fire seems to have been accidental, the damage was extensive with the complete loss of 53 (out of 113) homes including the church parsonage, community hall, hostels for the primary school students, shop, butcher shop, bakery, restaurant and guesthouses.

Thanks be to God, support has poured in from all over the Moravian Unity as well as a number of agencies in South Africa to help meet the needs of this hurting community. The Board of World Mission here in North American sent $7,500 to aid in the reconstruction.

The Moravian Church in South Africa has been overseeing the rebuilding efforts which began with finding immediate shelter for those who had lost homes and providing therapeutic workshops for those who lives had been impacted.

We are happy to report that the school hostel (which houses children from the surrounding countryside) was completed in March of 2019 and a new dining hall was completed in April. New school uniforms were also procured for the students.

School Hostel
Wupperthal School Students with their new uniforms

Temporary housing has been put up to give residents a place to call home while more permanent structures are built, and families began moving into the temporary homes late in July. The water and electricity infrastructure was rebuilt by the Moravian Church in South Africa. Funding is still being sought for the construction of new permanent homes.

Temporary homes for fire victims

While the church building itself was not destroyed by the fire, much of the church campus was and restoration on these historic buildings was begun in July and is set to cost around $4 million dollars.

The Moravian Church in South Africa thanks all those who have contributed thus far to the rebuilding effort and the Moravian Board of World Mission here in North America thanks you as well. This is one way that your support of the Moravian Disaster Response Fund can quickly move money into places where it is most needed. We invite you to consider a donation to this fund which is always at the ready when a disaster such as this one arises.

If you wish to make a donation by mail, please send them to our Bethlehem office:

Board of World Mission
1021 Center Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Canadian Churches and their members may send donations to the following address in order to receive full tax credit for your donation and they will be sent along to the BWM:
Moravian Church in Canada
600 Acadia Drive SE
Calgary, AB T2J 0B8

US residents may also send in their gift using the Board of Word Mission web page at https://moravianmission.org/give/

*Please note that for Canadian and other non-U.S. based donors, the BWM is not able to provide an acknowledgement letter for tax purpose outside of the U.S. While donations from outside the U.S. can be made via our secure on-line giving platform, they are not able to be acknowledged with a tax receipt. 

In the memo line and any attached correspondence please clearly indicate whether you wish that your donation be designated to a specific program such as Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) . We also greatly appreciate general donations which help us to be flexible and respond where need is greatest.

Thank you for your generosity in helping the Board of World Mission to be better able to serve your efforts to engage in God’s mission!