Before Disaster Strikes

Photo: Earthquake damage in Ecuador last year.

By Christy Anderson

Homes are lost, illnesses are spreading, and lives are shaken. These are the effects of disaster. When a hurricane strikes or when people are displaced by terrorism, help is always needed. It is easy to collect donations and say thank you, but what happens once those donations are given? Where do they go? What are they used for? In places like Haiti, where hurricanes and earthquakes strike, the funds are used to provide immediate relief and to rebuild homes. While it’s sometimes easy to forget to support Church of God Disaster Relief in relatively “quiet” seasons, the Church of God must be ready to provide relief before disaster strikes.

When a major earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Church of God Disaster Relief sent an assessment team consisting of Bob Washington, Don Smith, Phil Murphy, Glen Buthoon and John Ackerman. These men met with the national church leaders in Haiti to discuss the needs that were to be met. Soon there were teams being flown in from the United States to help with the building of more than 330 homes. In addition, a Haitian building crew was invested in helping with the building of these houses.

Across the Atlantic, there is a great need for help in the ongoing refugee crisis. Though it doesn’t get the press coverage it once received, the refugee crisis is still a major issue in places like Germany. Pastor Ken Oldham, pastor to the Middle East, has been helping to “facilitate the discussion and partnership, reviewing/advocating/cheerleading the present work, and beginning strategic discussions to improve these services later.” Those resources that have been sent to help the relief have been channeled through the national leadership of the Church of God in Germany, and from there disbursed to the local congregations who are serving the needs. Currently, there is still a need for investment in immigrant leadership development. The German Church of God hopes that a partnership with Fritzlar Bible College will serve as a bridge generation of leadership.

The funds that have been sent to Germany, matched with the support from the local German congregations, now permit refugees to be served “double the length of time that refugees could be served in the newly created ministries.” This is a cause for great hope and joy to many refugees. By partnering with Disaster Relief, many more lives can be impacted. There are still people in need, in Germany, in Haiti, and in many more places around the world.

Thank you to Art Clawson, former missionary and retired Church of God Ministries advancement director, for reminding us of the incredible ministry of Church of God Disaster Relief!

In crises where an immediate response is critical for relief, Church of God Ministries advances funds in anticipation of a gracious outpouring of donations from churches and individuals. Such advances are made from a limited Disaster Relief Fund maintained by Church of God Ministries for emergency response to disaster. Disaster Relief contributions are utilized to bring relief to those affected by disasters worldwide. Give now at give.jesusisthesubject.org/disasterrelief.

Christy Anderson is a recent Anderson University graduate and contributing writer to Church of God Ministries.

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