The number and intensity of recent natural disasters have captured our attention in a profound way. It’s common for some to suggest that such disasters are God’s punishment on those who were directly affected or on our nation for our collective sin. It’s difficult to affirm this claim since both believers and nonbelievers have suffered immensely.
The fact remains that natural disasters reveal that we live in a fallen and broken world that needs a Savior to make things right. C. S. Lewis has noted that “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world to draw people closer to himself and into His purposes.” Will these disasters draw people to repentance and faith in a loving God? Most people need help to connect the “dots” between their personal problems and their need for salvation through Jesus. Obviously, the work of the Spirit in drawing them to himself is necessary for new life (John 16:8). God has also designed His Church to be witnesses to this need for repentance and faith (Romans 10:14,15).
As part of Christ’s Church, how should we respond to those suffering the effects of recent disasters? Many have responded with financial gifts to aid in the recovery from personal loss, which is an admirable response. (If you took that step, well done!) Financial support, however, ranks among the least we should do as believers. There’s another level of support which involves going to help those who are directly affected. I’m excited to say that our church is now sending a team of volunteers to help people in Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey!
Their purpose in going involves several things:
- To physically assist in the cleanup of many homes that were flooded. It is hard to imagine that over 50 inches of rain fell over the Houston area in such a short amount of time.
- To come alongside the homeowners who need assistance and encouragement.
- To help as followers of Jesus by bringing the good news to those who are struggling to understand the goodness of our loving God.
- To learn from people in this situation as they teach us that we are all sinful people in need of God’s grace and mercy.
For these purposes to be accomplished, here are some ways you can join us in prayer:
- That we will be able to meet and interact with the owners of the homes as we clean and repair.
- That each team member has an opportunity to share about Jesus with at least one person who needs to trust in a loving God.
- That we could all understand better our need for God so we can say, in any situation, that God’s grace is sufficient for what we need.
- That we would work well together, without complaining, as faithful representatives of Jesus.
Thank you for praying for the 11 people on this team that will be in Vidor, Texas, November 4–12!
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Dan Green and Nancy moved back to the US after missionary service in Brazil with Encompass World Partners for 15 years. They were involved in evangelism, church planting, and leadership training. Dan grew up on a farm in Indiana, while Nancy comes from northeast Ohio. Dan studied at Purdue University (Agronomy), OSU (Soil Chemistry), and Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions. They have four children and six grandchildren. Dan enjoys gardening, camping, and international travel.