Post Hurricane Matthew update
October 13, 2016
“So I said to them, ‘You see the trouble that we’re in: Jerusalem is in ruins, and its gates are destroyed by fire! Come, let’s rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we won’t continue to be in disgrace.’ I told them that my God had taken care of me, and also told them what the king had said to me. ‘Let’s start rebuilding!’ they said, and they eagerly began the work.” Nehemiah 2:17-18 CEB
And so Nehemiah led the effort to rebuild Jerusalem for the Glory of God and for God’s people. But notice he did not just run into the city and do the best he could alone… First Nehemiah asked permission to go to devastated Jerusalem. Read it for yourself in the first chapter of the Book of Nehemiah. Then he surveyed the damage and then he organized family groups all throughout the city to prepare to restore beloved Jerusalem. Finally the work of what I’m very sure Nehemiah must have called “early response and long term recovery teams” began.
We peculiar United Methodists have taken Nehemiah’s lessons to heart in our own response to disasters as early response and long term recovery teams as taught by our very own United Methodist Committee on Relief. We will use these lessons in our response to the devastating flooding in the geographical boundaries on the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Most especially taking care of the poor and the displaced, the least and the lost, and those on the very edge of society.
First we request permission to enter the disaster area. As soon as it is safe for volunteers to enter, our sisters and brothers of the North Carolina Conference will invite us to enter and begin the hard work of disaster response. (Cardinal Rule of United Methodist Disaster Response: Do not go unless invited.) Meanwhile District Disaster Response Coordinators are organizing church family groups all throughout the Western North Carolina Conference to support the effort. Districts are getting the word out for churches to assemble cleaning buckets to replace the 600 buckets we are sending to Lumberton today and the 600 cleaning buckets we are sending to the NC Conference Merci Center in Goldsboro tomorrow. We are also sending 1000 health kits and we have plenty in reserve at our Mission Response Center in Terrell so at this time we do not to assemble any health kits.
There are plenty ways to help. You may donate money directly to the North Carolina Conference UMC Disaster Response site. 100 % of the money goes to the North Carolina Conference Disaster Response Ministry.
You may volunteer to be an early response team, (ERT,) member: we are planning to increase our number of ERT trainings. We will post those trainings soon at the following web site: http://mission.wnccumc.org/disaster-response-training/
Volunteer to be a part of a long term recovery team at your church. Volunteer to help your District Disaster Response Coordinator carry out their duties and responsibilities to their District. A list of District Disaster Response Coordinators may be found at this link.
Volunteer to help at our Mission Response Center in Terrell as we ramp up our operational tempo there to support both eastern North Carolina and South Carolina disaster response. Please contact Dwaine Morgan, 828.478.2106, to schedule a time.
Pray for God’s grace for those who are suffering and for those who are responding to God’s call to relieve their suffering.
Remember flexibility especially in disaster response is a wonderful virtue.
Thank all our Conference Disaster Response personnel and volunteers. Have patience with them as we ramp up our operational tempo. Nearly all of them have full time jobs and take on disaster response as an additional duty because of their passion to relieve suffering in the midst of disaster.
If I may be of any assistance or answer any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me anytime. My cell phone number is (828) 260-3724.
Grace and Peace,
Western North Carolina Conference Disaster Response/ Domestic UMVIM Coordinator
Blue Ridge District
Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard, Retired