The President’s Letter
It is now just more than two weeks since Hurricane Harvey brought record rains, floods and destruction to Texas and the Gulf Coast.
And, it’s just more than one week since Hurricane Irma caused unbelievable devastation across the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Florida, and other states. We had some severe weather in Georgia, but I can’t even imagine what it is like to be in such terror as water rises, as death threatens family and dear ones, as winds and water change everything we know. Many people lost everything. It is far more than j
ust losingtreasured possessions; it is a matter of losing their homes, their jobs, their communities, and their churches. So many are displaced, and they will be for a long time. Some have lost loved ones. I dare not question God with ‘why,’ but I beg Him to be with each soul that is hurting.
I read a headline in last week’s USA Today that religious groups are working with FEMA to “provide the bulk of disaster recovery,” and that Christian organizations, such as Convoy of Hope, Samaritan’s Purse, and the United Methodist Relief Fund, are leading the way. They loaded convoys of trucks with food, water and clothing that were ready before Irma made landfall. There were men with chainsaws ready and waiting. Workers followed first responders as soon as it was safe to pull mud out of homes. They set up case managers to help victims with FEMA assistance. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and many others that we may take for granted in crises supplemented their efforts.
There are so many stories of heroes–whether they are first responders or neighbors or friends. May God bless them!
I sense something different about this response, though. We are hearing of so many people responding to these tragedies on a very personal level. Tens of thousands have donated money. Thousands have committed to prayer on a daily basis. Churches have packed clothing and other essentials, and many have even sent teams to help clean, sanitize and restore or rebuild living spaces, hospitals, schools and churches. This might be the greatest showing of Christian love in recent times.
And everywhere these workers go, they bring a message of Christ’s love.
I can’t stop praying for all the people who have been touched by these tragedies. Won’t you join me.
Father God, we praise you and thank you for putting your protective hands around all those who have survived the destruction and ruin. Father God, for those who have lost loved ones, we pray for your mercy and grace. We thank you and praise you for those who come to help in the name of your Son. Let those who receive that help see the love of Christ’s hands in action. We pray that troubled hearts will be set at peace, Father God, and that you will give the promise of hope. We pray that as the work of restoration continues, that the seeds of faith will be planted and nurtured and take root for the glory of your Son.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Frank Yarbrough, President
Tres Dias International Secretariat