Estherville UMC helps Hispanic family after their home is destroyed by fire


January 23, 2015

The Estherville UMC has found a way to serve the needy and cross the racial barrier in their local community. On January 7, 2015 Martha Vasquez dropped three of her young children off at daycare and drove to work early in the morning to a factory in nearby Swea City, IA. She left two sons ages 14 and 9 at home to get ready for school knowing due to the frigid temperatures school would be late, if not cancelled. Approximately 7:00 a.m. the boys awoke to smoke in their 2nd floor apartment and ran outside in shorts and t-shirts to escape what quickly became a blazing inferno. As Martha gathered with her children later on, it was apparent there was nothing left and a single mother of five children is left to try to figure out how to pick up the pieces. Martha is a member of Iglesia "Shalom Shalom", a Hispanic church that meets regularly in the chapel at Estherville UMC. Nancy Danielson, the SPRC Chair, posted on their church facebook page about Martha's circumstances and asked "what can we do to help? Let's pray about it." Immediately, Estherville UMC decided to try to find a way to help and asked for monetary donations from members of their congregation. They helped her with some lodging costs at a local hotel while Upper Des Moines officials worked on finding her suitable housing. When housing was obtained, the local church covered her rent for two weeks to help her on her feet and have collected numerous household items and clothing for the family. Currently they are working to obtain a washer and dryer for the family and have ordered each member of the family a Bible suitable for their age. The local church used facebook to request household donations for the family and the response from the community and church members was overwhelming. Nancy Danielson, Chair of SPRC for Estherville UMC said, "the generosity of our church family was amazing. They didn't ask questions, they just left their donations in the church plate or our church office and continued to ask, what else should we do"? In the end, the friendship between Estherville UMC and Martha Vasquez and her children is hopefully lifelong and church members learned what Christ has intended for us, to love each other and minister to those less fortunate.