Tag Archives: disaster

Disaster Relief Update: Hurricane Dorian

By Carl Stagner

UPDATE, as of September 10: Church of God Ministries has reached out to a partner on the ground in New Providence, Bahamas in order to support relief efforts. As many are displaced from their homes, this ministry is ready to provide immediate relief to victims through food, water, and emergency shelter. Will you join us?

ORIGINAL article, September 5: As a Category Five storm, Hurricane Dorian reached the Bahamas on Monday night, bringing with it 185-mile-per-hour winds and torrential rainfall. Though Dorian weakened to a Category Two hurricane on Tuesday, it proved no less a monster for the residents of the Caribbean country. At times, the nearly stationary hurricane moved laterally at only one mile per hour, offering little relief to the hardest-hit areas. Storm surge and rising floodwaters claimed multiple lives and forced homeowners to upper floors, trapping some on rooftops. Regaining strength over the Atlantic, Hurricane Dorian is forecast to approach South Carolina through the day on Thursday before moving on or near the North Carolina coast. Meanwhile, as the hearts of people around the world break for the people of the Bahamas, Church of God Ministries has issued an update on disaster relief. Continue reading

Native American Ministry Advances Amid Wild Weather in South Dakota

Tornado this year near Allen, South Dakota.

By Carl Stagner

Two tornadoes have touched down within a few miles of Pass Creek Church of God in Allen, South Dakota, this year. One of them struck during Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly, while Tim and Kim Wardell, Global Strategy missionaries to Native Americans, watched the news coverage helplessly, more than 1,800 miles away from home. Though everyone was safe and overall damage was minimal, the tornado left one family in Allen homeless. While South Dakota is often associated with cold and snowy winters, the state does rank fifteenth in the nation for annual tornado activity. In view of this, and the great need to protect the congregation, locals in need, and work camp guests, the Wardells are looking to the Lord and his church to help them turn a vision into reality. Continue reading

Church of God Missionaries to Sri Lanka Heartbroken After Easter Attacks

By Carl Stagner

Celebration of the risen Christ ended early and abruptly on Sunday, April 21, in Sri Lanka, as the deadliest violence in a decade devastated the island country south of India. More than 300 people were killed and another 500 injured in a series of bombings that struck churches and hotels in the cities of Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa. As investigations continue, the Church of God fervently prays for the injured, families of victims, first-responders, and churches affected both directly and indirectly. Steven and Peggy Beverly, missionaries for Global Strategy to Sri Lanka, were just beginning their home assignment at the time of the incident. Their updates on the situation reveal their broken hearts. They would prefer to be with the suffering people they’ve come to love than safe in the U.S. right now. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Flooding Devastates Craig, Missouri

Approaching the church’s front doors by boat.

By Carl Stagner

On March 20, the levee holding back the steadily rising Missouri River broke in more than one place, forcing the town of Craig, Missouri, to evacuate, and leaving behind flooded homes and churches—including First Church of God. Inside the house of worship, chest-deep water inundated parts of the facility, while two feet of water was visible inside the sanctuary, damaging carpets, pews, books, tables, and their piano and organ. With homes underwater, at least two members of the small congregation have also had to find temporary shelter. The river has receded somewhat but, with more snowmelt and rain in the forecast, it’s not certain Craig will dry out. In the meantime, First Church of God finds itself in a difficult situation—without flood insurance, as this kind of flooding had never happened before. Continue reading

Michael Aftermath: Post-Hurricane Help Needed Now (updated Oct. 31)

The cross remains on the Panama City church’s sign!

By Carl Stagner

One hundred fifty-five miles per hour. That’s how powerful Hurricane Michael’s winds were when the Category Four monster made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10. Meteorologists are calling the storm the strongest to ever hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew of 1992. In its wake, Michael left behind widespread catastrophic damage, leveling homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of at least nineteen, as the search for missing persons continues. The Church of God was not left unscathed; to date, two congregations have reported damage to their church building and their homes. As information continues to be collected by state ministry offices and Church of God Ministries, Church of God congregations across the country are already responding to the imminent and critical needs of funds, supplies, time, and labor. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Hurricane Michael

As of 12:00 PM EDT, October 10:

Church of Ministries has contacted Pastors Ken Love (state pastor for Florida), Tim Teague (chairperson for the General Assembly in Alabama) and Mike Claypool (regional pastor for the Carolinas) ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Michael. Lines of communication have been established and we are now awaiting the onslaught of this storm. Please join us in praying that this major storm will pass through quickly with a minimum of damage. After having seen the devastation of Hurricane Florence (thankfully, Church of God congregations in the Carolinas did not experience major difficulties in that storm), we anticipate extensive wind and water damage across the region. Continue reading

Hurricane Sunday: Florida Churches, Ministries Unite for Puerto Rico

By Carl Stagner

September 20, 2017. To most of the country, that date holds no particular significance. But in Puerto Rico, that date will long be remembered as the day everything changed for almost everyone. Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in one hundred years, left widespread devastation in its wake. Utility companies have struggled to restore power, businesses have struggled to reopen, and some churches have even closed their doors. A mass exodus of citizens, without precedent in the history of the territory, has only made the problem worse. Though media coverage has waned, the need for restoration of property—and hope—is more critical than ever. Moved with compassion and compelled by the Spirit, Florida Ministries, the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano), Helping Hands in Motion, and Florida congregations are coming together for Puerto Rico on the third of June for what they’re calling Hurricane Sunday. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Urgent Request

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10 NIV

In light of what has been classified as truly extraordinary need, the Church of God Disaster Relief Committee is highlighting an urgent request. The current scope of devastation from natural disasters around the world is beyond our scale of imagining. The Disaster Relief Committee is working with national leaders and regional pastors in the affected regions to meet needs. Would you help? Donate now to Disaster Relief. Continue reading

Louisiana Underwater: How You Can Help

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Photo: Chapelwood posted this TV news image on their Facebook page, showing the floods surrounding their church.

By Carl Stagner

Emily Fontenot has lived in Louisiana since 1990. She says she’s never seen flooding like this. The youth minister at Faith Chapel Church of God in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is one of hundreds of thousands of people experiencing a living nightmare that has only just begun. More than twenty-five inches of rain has fallen in parts of Louisiana within the span of just two days, resulting in a deluge likely to happen only once in a thousand years. As a result, waters continue to rise downstream, leaving in its wake widespread destruction characteristic of a war zone. This ongoing disaster has forced an estimated forty thousand families from their homes, claimed at least thirteen lives, and left abandoned cars and trucks littered across the landscape. With extensive power outages and damage to churches, congregations have had to cancel worship services and events this week Several families within our congregations have completely lost their homes. It is a bleak situation, but thankfully, you can help. Continue reading

UPDATE: Philippines Typhoon Disaster Relief

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By Eddie Viray

Residents of flooded farming villages in the Philippines were trapped on their rooftops on Monday, and animals floated down fast-rising rivers, as a result of the devastation caused by Typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu).

Head-level floods had also forced people to evacuate from their homes and put up tents along the roads to serve as temporary shelters because there were no designated evacuation centers. The churches which supposedly serve as the evacuation centers, for our members and beneficiaries of the program, were also submerged to neck-high floodwaters. One day following the typhoon, Rev. Eduardo Viray, the national leader of the Church of God in the Philippines, together with the staff of Grace Family Helper Project, visited the areas and witnessed the churches and houses in Calaba and San Antonio still in knee-high flood waters. “The waters arrived suddenly. We did not expect it at all,” the pastor in those areas said. Continue reading

Cotopaxi Awakens: Missionary Offers Update on Ecuador’s Active Volcano

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By Carl Stagner

On August 14, the sleeping giant awakened. Spewing debris and sending plumes of smoke three miles into the sky, Cotopaxi became active once again. Ashes from the massive volcano have ignited seventeen wildfires, claiming the lives of three firefighters and injuring several more. Threatening a quarter of a million people in Ecuador, the eruption of Cotopaxi has warranted the government to bring the national alert level to Yellow, the lowest of concern. Jon and Karen Lambert have served as missionaries for the Church of God to Ecuador since 1997. Jon offers the latest on-the-ground perspective and insight. Continue reading

Flooding Disaster in Malawi, Church of God Responds

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Photo: Malawi flooding (Photo courtesy Emmanuel Masamba).

Since the beginning of the year, persistent heavy rains in Malawi and neighboring countries in southern Africa have left massive flooding in their wake. The Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries has been in conversation with our missionaries in Malawi, Tim and Josie Vickey. While the Vickeys are currently without electricity and water, they are safe and in no danger. Continue reading

Flood Damages Arizona Church: How You Can Help

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Photo: Mountain Park Church’s flooded auditorium on September 8, 2014.

 

Daily rainfall records were shattered across the Phoenix metro area in central Arizona on Monday, September 8. As a result, flash flooding damaged homes, businesses, and churches across the region known as the Valley of the Sun. Mountain Park Community Church sustained damage estimated to be as much as two million dollars. Like most properties in the urban oasis surrounded by desert, this Church of God congregation on the south side of Phoenix was not covered by flood insurance. Continue reading

A Fire in Dhaka: The Church of God Responds