Recent Tornados and Disaster Relief

Dear Shalom Family,

You’ve seen in the news the devastation recently caused by tornados around the country. It is hard to know how to help in the midst of such pain.

Seeing Jesus

Today, I spoke with a friend and colleague at UM Church in Beavercreek. He shared with me some of the things he has seen – the damage and chaos wrought by tornados. But he also shared with me stories of hope. One such story was an interaction he had with someone who had experienced a substantial amount of property damage.

He was driving around on Tuesday with cases of water in his car, and stopped to offer one to a woman who was standing in front of her house. He asked if she needed any water – she said yes, and then she continued by saying that what she really needed was a hug. So, he offered her that small kindness, and she quickly asked him if he was a pastor, because she just knew. “Yes” was the answer, and he told her what church he served. Then he continued, “But it is not me you see right now” and her quick response was, “I know – I’m looking at Jesus. I’m a believer, too.”

Amazed by Hope

Friends, I was amazed to hear stories about Jesus meeting people where they are – in the midst of crisis and pain – through these signs of love and compassion. He has spent the last few days finding ways to offer hope and support. Strategizing with colleagues about how to coordinate response efforts. Walking and driving through some of the affected communities. Praying with people, clearing debris, and other small ways of offering hope.

The constant theme in all of the stories I heard was hope. People were so grateful for the help and signs of love. They were almost universally surprised at the fact that the support being offered was all free. But, he said, the help and the hope we are offering has to come without a cost because the love we receive from Jesus has come to us in that same way.

How you can help:

  • First is pray.
  • Second, if you can, give to UMCOR for disaster relief. Every dollar that goes to UMCOR is spent on relief and recovery efforts. The overhead and administrative costs are covered through the UMCOR Sunday special offering. You can give here, or you can give on Sunday and write “Disaster Relief” on your envelope or the memo line of you check.
  • Third, send me an email or contact the church office if you are interested in volunteering. I’ll let you know when I start to hear more about the needs and possibilities for gathering a team to go and serve.

 

Thank you for all that you do in the name of Jesus.

Pastor Peter