Disaster Relief Efforts Shine the Light of Christ
By Carl Stagner
The world has faced a startling number of deadly natural disasters—just in the past couple of years. Countless lives have been directly affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and famine. The Church of God has decisively responded with hundreds of thousands of dollars in relief donations and countless hours of manual labor. Your prayerful, financial, and on-the-ground support have provided healing and hope in the bleakest of circumstances.
On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastated the nation of Haiti. Our Church of God missionaries, recovery effort leaders, and work teams from individual congregations have been instrumental in delivering hope and joy to those most devastated. The Church of God received more than $845,000 for the relief effort, which has been spent to build more than 171 wood-framed and cement-block homes. Fifty work teams, composed of more than seven hundred people, assisted in the effort.
The need for medical assistance dramatically increased after the earthquake. Before the disaster struck, there was only one prosthetic facility in Haiti, but it was rendered nonfunctional by the earthquake. To assist Haiti with the huge need for prostheses, Church of God Ministries presented Dr. Mark Fulton with a check for $50,000 to be used to complete the construction of a prosthetic clinic at a hospital in Haiti associated with the Church of God. An endowment for ongoing operations at the clinic is now established.
When flooding from Hurricane Alex forced the evacuation of residents of northeastern Mexico in August 2010, the Church of God sent $5,000 from the Hunger Relief Fund to Pastor Abner Rodriguez of the Camino de Salvación church to assist families in need.
The Church of God has raised $229,678.92 for disaster relief following the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit off the coast of Japan and caused a catastrophic tsunami.
Church of God Ministries sent funds and helped to coordinate work teams to provide cleanup services in Alabama after 137 tornadoes ripped through the state in a matter of days toward the end of April. Twenty-five of the sixty-five Church of God congregations in Alabama were significantly affected by the tornados. Since the EF-5 tornado left a mile-wide swath of destruction in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, local congregations, Missouri Ministries of the Church of God, and Church of God Ministries continue to be involved in the efforts to restore hope and rebuild homes for families that lost both. In response to these tornadoes and severe flooding in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and Oklahoma, more than $65,000 has been given for disaster relief.
More recently, Church of God Ministries sent $10,000 to Food for the Hungry in northeastern Kenya and Somalia, and another $10,000 to World Relief in northern Kenya in Turkana, for famine relief. In addition, $8,700 in relief funds were sent to aid the Church of God in West Bengal and Sikkim in India for earthquake and flooding relief.
Dr. Don Smith and Dr. Ruben Schwieger are your coordinators of disaster relief for the Church of God. Would you or your congregation like more information on how to get involved with this ongoing ministry? Call 200-848-2464, ext. 3047, or e-mail DSmith@chog.org.
Church of God Ministries continues to support relief efforts around the world. Congregations and individuals give of their time and resources even to this day.
Whenever and wherever disaster strikes, God has empowered his church to live out the love of Christ.