NEWS | June 5, 2008

Civil Affairs Soldiers offer funds, hope to small church

By Army Sgt. Brandon LeFlore 363rd Mobile Public Affairs Det

Soldiers from the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Miami, donated money to help furnish a church with books and other supplies, May 30. 

The Iglesia Luz de Salvacion is a small church but has more than 50 members, and the pastor, Maria Arsenia Rodriguez Molina, was grateful to the Soldiers for all their efforts in support of her worship center. "Thank you all for what you have done," Ms. Molina said through an interpreter. 

The CA Soldiers donated approximately 6,601 Lempiras, or $349 U.S., from their own pockets to help cover the costs of chairs, tambourines, books and speakers for the church, and took her to a local shopping area to purchase the items.

 "It's a very small church, but any and everyone is welcome here," said Sgt. 1st Class Achille Octavien, 478th CA Bn. This is a temporary worship center for the residents of the barrio, but Molina hopes that the Soldiers could help build a larger, more permanent building across the street. 

Though no promises have been made, the CA Soldiers will do all they can to make the pastor's hopes a reality. "We'll talk to religious organizations back in the states to find donations for the project," Sergeant Octavien said. "If we can get the money, we'll have a local contractor build the church." 

Soldiers from previous Civil Affairs rotations also donated clothing, shoes and other personal belongings, many of which are being shipped from the U.S. to Honduras. "This will make a big difference for the kids in the area," said 1st Sgt. Dennis Litchberg, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 478th CA Bn., "Many of the kids don't have shoes or very little clothing." Our mission is to assist those in need and build relations between the civilians and military officials, Sergeant Litchberg said. "We'll do everything we can to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said.