Tag Archives: humanitarian

Outages, Shortages Plague Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria

Tree and structural damage in Puerto Rico (credit: Caleb Garcia).

The following is a disaster relief update provided by Mary Ann Martinez-Garcia of the Church of God in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20 (click here for the original report).

Thank you so much for your support and the support of our Church of God family. We really appreciate your prayers! Continue reading

Your Support Needed as Hurricane Irma Relief Underway

A symbol of hope post-hurricane at Warner University.

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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

Hurricane Harvey: Hope for Texas in the Aftermath of a Monster

Houston street sign warns, “Road may flood” (courtesy June Sherman).

By Carl Stagner

Church of God, it’s time. It’s time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Texas. It’s time to be hope to the people who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses, and churches. It’s time to make a difference. Whether God is leading you to give generously, donate supplies, or assemble work teams for upcoming opportunities to rebuild homes, now is the time to act. While this nightmare is far from over for tens of thousands of people, the outpouring of support for the Lone Star State is proving that they are not alone. The latest updates to the Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief Team are both sobering and encouraging. Continue reading

MACU Opens Doors for Volleyball Match Benefiting Harvey Victims

MACU’s Gaulke Activity Center

By Whitney Knight

To provide relief for the thousands of Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey and uphold the “Oklahoma Standard,” Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City and Southwestern Christian University out of Bethany, Oklahoma, are partnering with the Sooner Athletic Conference to collect donations for storm victims. Continue reading

UPDATE 8-29: SE Texas Underwater as Disaster Relief Prep Underway

Houston First Church of God flooding (courtesy Tim Gould).

By Carl Stagner

UPDATE, August 29: “It feels like we are stuck living in a long, dirty shower that never stops.” The words of Jim Feirtag late Monday express what countless Texans are feeling as rains from Tropical Storm Harvey persist. The church Jim pastors, Parkgate Church of God in Pasadena, Texas, has already helped some people displaced by the storm and has made preparations to do much more in the coming weeks.

Houston First Church of God reported late Monday that the water had receded from their building with no visible damage. They thank everyone for their prayers. Unfortunately, the Church of God in Texas reports that an estimated forty-two Church of God congregations were affected by this disaster. Assessment is ongoing, but Tim Gould, pastor of Houston First Church, is now receiving e-mail inquiries about work teams and the need for physical labor. When assessment is complete, inquirers will be notified with specific opportunities. Churches and individuals may contact him at pastortim@hfcog.org. Thank you for your continued prayers, support, patience, and willingness to serve!

The average annual rainfall for Houston, Texas, is 49.76 inches. Forecasters suggest parts of southeast Texas could surpass that amount of rain before Hurricane Harvey—now a tropical storm—moves out. As the Church of God assesses the developing situation on the ground, the need for disaster relief is imminent. While reports of loss may not be complete for several weeks, experts predict that an estimated 30 thousand people will need temporary shelter in the wake of widespread flood damage. Opportunities to give time, supplies, and resources will become more clear in the coming days. Until then, the Church of God Disaster Relief Team is urging you to pray and give. Continue reading

Southeast Texas Underwater as Disaster Relief Prep Underway

Houston First Church of God flooding (courtesy Tim Gould).

By Carl Stagner

The average annual rainfall for Houston, Texas, is 49.76 inches. Forecasters suggest parts of southeast Texas could surpass that amount of rain before Hurricane Harvey—now a tropical storm—moves out. As the Church of God assesses the developing situation on the ground, the need for disaster relief is imminent. While reports of loss may not be complete for several weeks, experts predict that an estimated 30 thousand people will need temporary shelter in the wake of widespread flood damage. Opportunities to give time, supplies, and resources will become more clear in the coming days. Until then, the Church of God Disaster Relief Team is urging you to pray and give. Continue reading

India, Bangladesh Ravaged by Monsoon Floods

Devastating flooding in India.

By Carl Stagner

According to AccuWeather, 24 million people across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal have been affected by “the worst flooding in more than a decade.” While annual monsoon rains are nothing new to the region, the situation is compounded by unusually persistent rains and, in some locations, the release of water from local dams. Homes have been swept away, businesses and schools have been damaged, and families have been displaced. As the floodwaters rise, so does the incredible need. Another disaster abroad once again serves as a reminder that a swift disaster relief response requires the generosity of people like you. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Hunger Relief Desperately Needed Amid Malawi Famine

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Photo: Children in Malawi eating lily roots.

By Carl Stagner

Their food supply has been reduced to roots and the occasional tree nut. If devastating, crop-destroying floods weren’t enough last year, extreme drought has now set in across Malawi, especially in the south, which is home to the densest concentration of Church of God congregations. Food sources have dried up, and even the bland water lily bulb root, which is collected from the swamp, is becoming scarce. Desperation is ensuing among families doing whatever they can to provide food for their children. The Church of God is responding, but the need for your support is immediate. 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

Your Help Needed to Continue Vital Disaster Relief Efforts

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By Carl Stagner

Deadly floods in West Virginia, South Carolina, and Malawi. Earthquakes in Ecuador, Myanmar, and Japan. A typhoon in the Philippines. Tornadoes in Oklahoma and parts of the Midwest. The European refugee crisis. Over just the past few years, Church of God Ministries has been hard at work, carefully distributing funds you’ve given to provide much-needed relief in the wake of disasters around the world. Church of God Ministries maintains the Disaster Relief Fund on behalf of the Church of God movement in order to be able to respond swiftly to disasters when they strike. Recently the need has proved greater than our capacity. We’re looking to God’s abundant grace and your generosity to continue disaster relief into the future. Continue reading

Ecuador Earthquake Relief Update: Thank You, Church of God!

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Photo: The Tonsupa church worship under a temporary structure.

By Jon and Karen Lambert

On Saturday, April 16, 2016, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit us here in Ecuador. The quake lasted 49 seconds. The weeks that followed seem like a dream—a bad dream. The death toll for the first weeks steadily rose to 655, and then the government decided not to share the final totals, so the actual death toll may never be known. We know 17,638 people were treated for injuries, and 25,091 were housed in temporary shelters. Cities and towns at the epicenter are 70- to 90-percent destroyed. The United Nations estimates that 350,000 people in Ecuador will need some type of assistance due to damage or loss of income. It is a blessing that none of our church family were killed or seriously injured in the quake. The mental anguish we still see on faces in the devastation zone is heartbreaking. Parents who searched for children buried under debris and small children who didn’t understand why “Mami” and “Papi” never came home have accepted the sad truth that their loved ones are gone. Cities along the coast from Manta to Tonsupa were without water and electricity for over a month. Some rural areas are still without basic services. Three of our congregations and one house church are in the areas heavily affected by the 7.8 earthquake and the severe aftershocks that continue to this day—nearly three months later. Continue reading

CHOG in Germany, North America Partner in Response to German Refugee Crisis

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With nearly a million refugees slated to seek asylum, Germany is struggling to deal with the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. The country has received more requests for asylum than any other country, and the strain on the country’s social services has been tremendous. Fortunately, the German Church of God (Freikirchlicher Bund der Gemeinde Gottes) has congregations that are mobilizing to assist those in need. However, the scale of this crisis is so great that the Church of God in Germany and the Church of God, through the Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries, have decided to tackle the crisis together. Continue reading

European Refugee Crisis: From Strangers to Family

By Audrey Weiger

“We boarded a rubber boat and went out in the night. After just ten minutes, we had to turn back because the waves were so high. I tried again, on another rubber boat. We were just an hour from our destination when a battleship arrived. We quickly crossed over their path to get out of the way. Then flood lights were on us and four masked men with machine guns dropped down in a black boat. They came to us; got in our boat. We were terrified. They kept shouting at us to put our hands up and don’t move. Then they opened our boat’s engine and cut all the power and gas lines and left. We were just floating there until we could get through to the Turkish coast guard to come and rescue us. I tried again, on another rubber boat, but during the day. But the same thing happened. A battleship and its men stopped us. So, I took out a loan—2,500 Euros—to buy a place on a big ship to take me. And finally, I made it.”

Late night—it’s past midnight and I sip chamomile tea and talk with Syrian refugees about their faith in Christ and what has sustained them. One young man speaks passionately, “Because there was no justice on the earth, God sent Jesus to give us justice. Heaven was shaking when Jesus came. But the earth was not awake to receive him.” It’s inspiring to speak with those who have lived so much life in such a short amount of time. Continue reading