Disaster Persists Across Post-Hurricane Laura South
By Carl Stagner
Soon after the Category 4 storm socked the southern United States with winds up to 150 miles per hour, leaving catastrophic damage in its wake, Church of God Ministries approved funds for disaster relief in Louisiana. At the same time, generous hearts across the country were awakened to the dire need of residents along the Gulf Coast facing a never-ending nightmare. Thankful for the initial distribution of dollars post-Hurricane Laura, everyone recognizes the scope of devastation will require more prayerful and financial support in the days, weeks, and months to come. That’s because, while hurricane headlines have faded in the face of a saturated news landscape, cleanup and rebuilding efforts have only just begun. In regions, such as the Lake Charles area of Louisiana, where power is still out, access remains limited, and residents have yet to return home, people are counting on the hope and help churches, including Church of God congregations, offer.
In a social media post about the ongoing severity of the situation on the ground, Ken Sifford, pastor of Westlake Church in Westlake, Louisiana, uses an analogy to dispel a myth sadly gaining traction. “For those who may have only heard we ‘dodged a bullet,’ it may be worth noting that 93 percent of Calcasieu Parish schools were damaged, several hospitals are still closed, three out of four homes were damaged, and Entergy is projecting another three to four weeks without power as they essentially rebuild the whole power grid…. It may be helpful to think not so much about the single bullet of storm surge, but more like buckshot that includes 135-mile-per-hour winds, thousands of trees and power lines down, most businesses damaged and closed, many homes with water damage because of roof damage, employees laid off as businesses assess their future prospects, people still living as evacuees, and a host of other issues.”
Westlake Church of God is home to many who sustained severe property damage; the church building itself would require significant repair. Upon word that Church of God Ministries would send initial funds to aid in the cleanup and rebuilding efforts among congregations in Louisiana, Ken reflected, “It’s encouraging to know we’re not doing this all alone.”
Pastor Isaac Riggins, of New Life Community Church of God in Vinton, observed, “It is truly a blessing to have brothers and sisters to come aid us in a time of need. May God bless you and everyone that are thinking of us, and praying for us. May you be blessed mightily.” This comes from the heart of a pastor who also must face many obstacles going forward, not the least of which is repairing damage done to the church property.
Thankfully, the Disaster Relief Team has identified how the Movement can help. As the Disaster Relief Team monitors the critical situation, reaching out to our pastors and churches on the ground, will you partner with us with your generous donation? Give now at https://faithlife.com/coggm-c/give?funds=4743. Thank you.
Some work teams have already been assembled and commissioned to help in some of the hardest-hit areas. Interested persons should keep COVID-19 considerations in mind and contact local pastors to discuss the possibilities. Thank you.
UPDATE, September 17, 2020: Assessment is underway following the effects of Hurricane Laura across parts of the South. Thank you for your continued prayers for this already hard-hit region of the United States.
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 https://faithlife.com/coggm-c/give?funds=4743. Donations can also be mailed to Church of God Ministries, PO Box 2420, Anderson, IN 46018; please note that your gift is for Disaster Relief, Project #45.04502. Learn more about Church of God Disaster Relief at https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief/. Thank you!