Refugees join LWF staff to set up tents for newcomers in Mbere camp in southeastern Mauritania. © LWF/Thomas Ekelund


It’s hot. It’s late. It’s not even a work day. But the phone rings and it’s time to move.

That’s the storyline in a recent Lutheran World Federation post about the situation at the LWF-managed refugee camp Mbere in southeastern Mauritania. The backdrop is the current crisis going on in the Sahel region of Western Africa where drought is threatening to turn into famine as daily temperatures top off at over 120-degrees Fahrenheit and conflict continues to rage in Mali. It’s so hot generators can’t be turned on.

The phone call is to inform the staff that 25 families from Mali are expected to arrive at the camp in 5 hours. So even though its the start of the weekend the staff rallies together to get the tents set up, working with volunteers within the camp who offer to help. It’s a bit like organized chaos but when the families finally get there, they have tents and water is quickly on its way.

Reading through it seems miraculous that all of the pieces fit together so well right when they need to, to imagine the people who dedicate themselves to this work and those who volunteer to help. It is nothing short than the movement of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the highs and lows of life. To be able to name this as an example of how our church engages the world on behalf of the Gospel is also a humbling joy.

It is God’s work being done with our hands as even from the desert floor we can engage in making life anew.

Read about this day in the life in the LWF article: Tents Mushroom in the Mauritanian Desert.

Also, consider giving to ELCA Disaster Response for West Africa Sahel so that we can continue to meet the needs of those who thirst, hunger and seek shelter.