I received this message from an email shared by the House to House, Heart to Heart effort in Jacksonville, Alabama:
All four buildings of the Jacksonville church of Christ received damage. The student center has siding blown off, the auditorium has holes in the roof, the fellowship hall has a lot of damage, and the office building where the House to House/Heart to Heart, Polishing the Pulpit, and the Great Smoky Mountain Marriage Retreat, and other works are done, was completely destroyed.
The congregation is seeking voluntary financial support to aid in the recovery.
More details, along with pictures, can be viewed on this GoFundMe page that has been set up on behalf of the elders of the Jacksonville congregation.
Links to help share and spread the information via social-media are available on the GoFundMe site.
Looking to help out the people of South Carolina physically and spiritually? The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort is the best way that I personally know of. I’m a personal supporter, and the congregation that I’m a member of supports the work as well. The relief effort has already made several trips to the area and there’s no doubt that they will be going back again. If you’re interested, you can check out the provided links below for more information:
- Here’s a link to the Informational Video on YouTube that can be viewed below this list. (The video is slightly dated, but only in years and by no means in work. This video illustrates a few of the many, many times that the Nashville area media has covered the response of the relief effort, and it demonstrates how the effort works with local congregations so the ultimate glory goes to God through the local church and not a secular organization.)
I have read several articles and blogs by people who are outraged about prayers for Oklahoma tornado victims and are calling for the people who pray to actually do something. They don’t seem to realize that many of the people who volunteer or send donations and the organizations that show up to help are indeed Christian or representatives of other religious groups. People who pray often move to act after the prayer. Christians, in fact, affirm that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). James castigated those who told the poor to be “warm and well-fed,” but offered them no clothing or food. In the aftermath of a disaster, people contribute in various ways. First responders rush to the scene. Crisis management teams arrive behind them. Aid organizations and volunteers follow. People who cannot help physically send donations, or if they are government leaders, dedicate funding for disaster recovery. Everyone may choose to pray. Critics that I mentioned earlier especially criticized entertainers and politicians who had tweeted that they were praying for Oklahoma. Prayer enlists the aid of the divine. It also focuses the thoughts of the one who offers the prayer. Prayer calms the person who prays. When people learn that others pray for them, they often feel relief as well. On the other hand, none of us controls how God answers prayer. In fact, if biblical passages like Psalms 10 and 13 are any indication, we may protest what we think God is doing. On other occasions, when rescue arrives when it seemed there was no hope, we sink to our knees in gratitude. No one can prevent another from praying silently, frustrating though that may be to some people. And as long as there are disasters, people will pray. They pray, not because they arrogantly presume that God will do their bidding, but because they yearn for help to accomplish what seems impossible. If we say that we pray, we should act with integrity. We should not say that we are praying when we do not pray. No one has to pray in our country, but many of us choose to do so, because we believe that the Creator of the universe still controls what happens. The anti-prayer critics do have a right to express their opinions in the United States, but those whom they criticize have a right to pray.
The churches of Christ Disaster Relief has been making the news in various ways over the last couple of days here in Middle Tennessee. The following is a short story that one of the local news channels has on their website:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- As victims from Superstorm Sandy continued to work to get back on their feet, middle Tennessee residents have been doing what they can to help.
At the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief warehouse in South Nashville more than 200 volunteers manned a giant assembly line. Each box they pack can sustain a family of four, for a couple of days.
“We’re loading supplies up for Hurricane Sandy up in New Jersey and New York,’ said one Goodpasture High School student.
Students from Goodpasture High School and local volunteers packed up hundreds of boxes ready to be transported to the Northeast. Thousands of people in the northeast are still without power, so something as simple as a twist off lid on a jar of peanut butter will really be appreciated.
In less than two hours the volunteers filled 1, 300 food boxes. The boxes were loaded up in an 18-wheeler and are on the road to the Northeast.
A few moments ago I heard that one of the trucks was heading to the community of firefighters and police that was hit hard by the fire outbreak. My prayer is that the churches that will be receiving the shipments of supplies will be prepared to help sow some seed along with the charity they will be sharing…perhaps the charity will sow the seed through its actions.
I personally would encourage individuals and congregations alike to keep this work in mind financially speaking. Your dollar will go much, much further with them than with anyone else that is accomplishing any like-minded work.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
If you would, keep the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief group in your prayers. I have already heard at least one news media group on the radio refer to them and their response to help bring some relief to the people whose lives have been affected by hurricane Sandy.
Disaster Relief is a work that Keltonburg helps to support throughout the year and I have visited their facilities in Nashville personally and seen the set up…what they’ve accomplished in the past and present is impressive and worthy of praise as they strive to bring glory to God through the charity of the church during dark times in people’s lives. Untold numbers of lives have been touched through the gospel because of their work and efforts.
Here’s a link to their website. Information about the trucks that have left and the congregations they are coordinating with in the Northeast area is at the top of their “Latest News” column. Keep the workers, the truck drivers and the congregations there in your prayers.
For those interested in sending help, the Park Avenue church in Memphis is receiving funds for Japan. The link and a report of the brethren’s safety is now up on BNc. We give thanks, but risks are still great, so we continue to pray for them.
UPDATE: The direct link to the Japan disaster relief page at Park Avenue is HERE.
This email has come through a few hands, though it supposedly can be traced to the source, an American nurse who has gone to Haiti to help in a hospital. And since it has all the marks of being genuine, I’m including it here for your consideration. I have no doubt it describes what’s happening on the ground there.
You just would not believe the things i have seen. people everywhere with missing limbs. 2 babies died today. one man died with a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) bc they ran out of heparin. our team brought heparin. they are sick and lying on stretchers and bleeding. one nurse broke down today and said that last tuesday they were just cutting people limbs off that were crushed and they had nowhere to dispose of the body parts so they stacked them in front of the hospital for days. when the smell became too much someone took care of them. these people are young. younger than me. i havent seen an old person yet. avg life expectancy is 51. i feel so horrible. they don’t have what they need and we are watching them die. the nurses in haiti are terrible. they don’t know how to care for their patients. i have worked since we arrived at 2 with a short break to eat at 8. i went back to check on my icu patient’s and the nurse that was caring for them was fast asleep. i am learning pediatrics quickly. so many babies that are sick. some patients don’t have food to eat. the hospital cannot feed them so if family does not bring food they simply do not eat. i dont even want to eat. the smells and sights have been overwhelming. it is so primitive and i am having to be creative with supplies. today i made a tourniqet with a rubber glove as i pinned a whaling 9 year old down. they shaved skin from her thigh to graft skin to the lower section of her leg. she left the or with no iv access. i had to get a line in her to medicate her. her parents were no where to be found. i wanted to talk to her to calm her but i can’t understand the language. even those fluent in french say it is no help. the creole and slang is way too different. i finally took a shower. it was a slow drip and cold, but it was water. i have sweat all day. the hospital is a humid and hot building. i think my comfort at this point is so menial. pray for us and that more supplies will arrive. we are in desperate need of medicines. pray that i can be quick on my feet. pray that my headache will go away and that the nausea will stop.
Reminds us that much will be needed, now and in the future. May our efforts continue to give and get help down there as soon as possible.
Two more stories are available on the earthquake destruction in Haiti, one a report directly from a Haitian preacher. Check the benevolence category below for all the stories on this immense tragedy. The Northeast church in Kingsport, Tenn., is sending help there directly.
We’re preparing a news story on Haiti for BNc. If anyone has info on the state of the church there, please let me know. For now, the Estes church in Henderson, Tenn., has long been involved there and is preparing to ship supplies. People involved with the Hope for Haiti’s Children ministry are also in the forefront. Watch BNc for the story, which I hope will come out today. Or keep an eye on the BNc’s Twitter account.
UPDATE: Here’s the BNc story, with contact information for where you can help and send donations.