Tag Archives: humanitarian

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

Serving Hope in Venezuela

Serving food – and hope – in Venezuela.

By Jason and Abby Torgeson

One of the countries of our region that has been making the news lately is Venezuela, and it’s a country that is particularly close to our family’s heart. Abby’s sister Emily studied in Caracas for a year and a half in 2003–04, and Abby had the opportunity to spend a month there in her first real overseas Spanish-immersion experience. Both were struck by the country’s tremendous beauty and rich culture. While the rumblings of discontent were evident even then, it’s been impossible to wrap our minds around the crisis that has exploded there over the past few years. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: California Wildfires

By Carl Stagner

The multiple wildfires raging in California are reported to be the deadliest in history. Entire communities have been wiped off the map, as the list of missing persons has climbed to well over a thousand. Even the East Coast has observed the effects of the fires as haze drifts across the country. Though rain is in the forecast, the much-needed moisture is also likely to cause dangerous mudslides and even more devastation. Since the wildfires began, Church of God Ministries has urged prayerful support over social media. Now your financial support is desperately needed, too. 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

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.

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

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

malawi_children_eat_roots_2016_forweb

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

Chapelwood_CHOG_FB_screenshot_floodingAug2016_FORWEB

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