This past week I had the honor of traveling with two men to the hard hit areas surrounding Seneca, South Carolina. On Easter Sunday into Monday tornadoes ravaged this area. Roofs were torn from houses. Trees crushed homes. Lives were forever changed. Some areas were total losses while others were barely touched at all. But the fear and stress of this happening during our national shelter in place orders have made for added anxiety to those displaced by this horrific storm.
I’ve received some feedback from a few people on the relief we provided. The residents of Seneca were shocked when they realized we came almost 9 hours to bring a little bit of help. They were beyond grateful. Our hosts were overwhelmed by the time we were able to spend with them and the love we were able to shower on them with our service. And yet some didn’t understand our efforts.
Some have and will question the motives behind our trip or the timing of the trip or why I had to be a part of it or even why we didn’t open the effort to more people from the congregation. The long and short of the matter is that we heard of the need and gathered our supplies and hit the road as fast as we could.
We went because we could. We went not to bring attention to ourselves but to remove trees from roofs of houses and help people get back in their homes. We went because people were in need. We went because God opened the door and this fit into our mission for who we are as a body of Christ. We went to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
In the days and weeks ahead we’re going to be working on developing a plan to see if this is part of our identity. This will have been the third storm related event to which we have responded. We’ve served in Houston after the hurricanes hit, Dayton for emergency tornado relief and now South Carolina for the same reason. All of these were times when people were in dire need of help and hope and we as a congregation were able to provide that. From delivering bottled water to cutting up trees and clearing debris the work was vital and life changing.
But what if you didn’t get the chance to go? Did you still make an impact? The short answer is yes!
The longer answer is by doing the work and ministry support you do on a regular basis, you prepared us to be able to up and leave at a moment’s notice. From ushers to lawn mowers to communion helpers to prayer warriors to financial investors in our ministry all of you have made it possible and transformed just as many lives is many ways. I’ve been overwhelmed by the prayers and support that you all have provide during this time of desperate need in our country. You haven’t backed down. You haven’t stopped checking in to see if things were going well. You haven’t checked out of worship or stopped giving your offerings. You’ve been there each and every step of the way. You were right there with us as we cut up trees and removed debris. You made it possible.
So how will you respond when crisis hits? What can you do to provide relief to those in times of need?
- Maybe you send a card
- Fire off an email
- Pick up the phone and make a call
- Drop off a meal to someone stuck at home
- Start a small group even if it’s virtual to keep people connected
- Pray for people and let them know you’re doing it
- Ask where the biggest needs are and fill the holes in support
- For those of you who serve in support roles around church keep serving! We can’t do it without you!
All in all I want you all to know that as a church we have been able to serve people in times of need. This is who we are as a church. Thank you brothers and sisters at Living Word Galena for being who you are! You are absolutely life changing people!