November 12, 2013
Less than a year before I was appointed to my first parish near Chicago, 23 homes in that community were destroyed in a tornado. When I arrived I heard the stories of loss and toured the wreckage, and listened to stories of gratitude for those who helped. Every one of those 23 families had a blanket from Church World Service…and each one knew the first names of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) volunteers who helped them pick up the pieces of their lives.
Years later, I was serving another church in Massachusetts, and went home after worship on Mother’s Day to open my basement door to rising floodwaters. My kayak was floating among Christmas ornaments, my son’s baby books, and a washer and dryer. 48-hours later I was standing in my church parking lot receiving a truckload of UMCOR cleaning buckets from New York. I will never forget how good it felt to open up that gift of love and begin cleaning my basement…but even better was seeing the surprise and relief on the faces of 50 of our neighbors as we hand-delivered those buckets.
As we watch the unfolding news of Typhoon Haiyan, my heart breaks for our sisters and brothers in the Philippines. Theirs is a devastation far worse than anything I’ve endured. United Methodists from New England are there (so far the news is that they are safe), waiting to come home, but they are uncertain about family and friends. Some good news is that our UMCOR offices there were not directly affected, and our staff are poised and ready to be the hands and feet of Christ to offer healing and hope.
We can too.
As United Methodists, we can celebrate that our connection and size and resources allow us to reach around the globe with love. As faithful United Methodists in prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness, we are making a difference. Here are some ways that you can do more than worry and watch and wait…
Prayers: for our sisters and brothers in the Philippines and our partners in mission through UMCOR and other agencies.
Presence: even across the globe, we can connect through social media to let others know that we care.
Gifts: Support UMCOR’s work through International Disaster Response, Advance #982450. 100% of these gifts go directly to relief work. You can also begin now preparing for One Great Hour of Sharing March 14, 2014 which funds the administrative work of UMCOR so that we can continue this vital ministry.
Service: use your passion, energy, and gifts to organize a work trip to New York or New Jersey, where there are still hundreds of homes in need of repair after Superstorm Sandy. We also need Emergency Response Teams to clean out flooded homes in New Hampshire. Or, you can assemble health kits and cleaning buckets to stock up for local and global emergencies. Never underestimate the gift of a toothbrush when you’ve lost everything.
Witness: spread the good news! Forward this video to your friends and family to share the wonderful story of what we are doing together to change the world.
Connected in Christ,