Churches across Lewis are being invited to hold a special retiring collection this Sunday, where proceeds will go to those affected by the Nepalese earthquakes, and to a Maltese charity which provides relief to migrants having crossed the Mediterranean to escape oppression in their home countries.
Over 8,000 people have lost their lives since the disaster in Nepal, and over 14,000 people are injured, many still cut off from help.
More than 3,000,000 desperately need food and water, and there is an imminent danger of disease.
Murdo MacDonald from Lewis (Church of Scotland’s Society, Religion and Technology Policy Officer) spent eight years working as Head of the Leprosy Research Laboratory in Kathmandu, Nepal.
He said: "The Leprosy Mission’s Anandaban Hospital is close to the epicentre and has suffered major damage. Staff accommodation has been destroyed. Without homes, doctors and nurses are camping in the open so they can remain at the hospital caring for the many patients who desperately need help. We are grateful to God that no staff or patients were hurt. But the need is great. People are pouring in from afar to receive treatment for crush injuries, broken limbs, and lacerations. He continues, 'It will be a long road to recovery for many in Nepal.
"Many staff of the hospital have had their houses destroyed or damaged, and there is nothing like buildings insurance in a country like Nepal. please continue to uphold the people of Nepal in your prayers."
'Out of Africa… into Malta' is the St. Andrew’s Scots Church (in partnership with others, like Red Cross Malta) response to deep human needs.
Their work is aimed at reshaping the broken lives and families of those who have fled Africa, often in direct fear of their lives, and ended up – not through choice – in Malta.
It involves providing cool-boxes in summer to keep heat, dirt and rats at bay; or snowsuits in winter to keep little children warm and dry; or it could be offering companionship and friendship to people who have absolutely nothing and no-one.
Only last week, Project Worker, Peter Lloyd, supported the funeral of 24 young men whose unidentified bodies were recovered from the recent drowning of 800 migrants in that area of the Mediterranean.
This special collection provides the Western Isles with an opportunity to show solidarity with another island community.
It seeks to offer people ways to rebuild their own, and their families', lives.
Your support will transform lives out of all proportion to that which you can give.
If you are able to respond, please return your offering next Sunday marked 'Presbytery Special Offering'.