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Disaster Relief - Articles


“In their time of trouble … God’s people are shining through to God’s glory.”

Thu, 14 May 2009 - 2:29 PM CST

 

“In their time of trouble … God’s people are shining through to God’s glory.”

 

By Owen Wilkie

Can good come out of trouble?

One view of the hurricane damage to Rosa de Saron Assembly of God where Jimiro Feliciano is pastor.

Most of us watched helplessly on television the summer of 2004 as a series of hurricanes forged their way across the Atlantic toward Florida and neighboring states.

First came Hurricane Charley in the middle of August battering Florida with 145 mph winds and torrential rain. Before they had a chance to recover they were hit by Hurricane Frances, followed in quick succession by Ivan and Jeanne that crisscrossed Florida leaving death and destruction in their paths — all within six weeks.

While Hurricane Charley was still smashing its way across the landscape the Benevolences Disaster Relief efforts were getting underway. They immediately sent $50,000 to Convoy of Hope (COH), followed by another $50,000 a few days later. COH was the first relief agency to reach the disaster area with trucks loaded with water, ice, food and other supplies. COH subsequently sent dozens of other trucks with hundreds of tons of supplies that were distributed to thousands of victims.

Immediately after the first hurricane Disaster Relief sent out appeals seeking financial assistance. At the same time district leaders and pastors affected by the hurricane were contacted to evaluate the needs.

Some $450,000 were received in offerings from our churches and individual donors that has been passed along, primarily to the Convoy of Hope, Peninsular Florida District, the Southeastern Spanish District and the West Florida District.

This financial help was a powerful witness to non-Christians and an answer to prayers from our brothers and sisters in Christ who were desperately trying to recover from the multiple hurricane damage.

 

“We’re gonna make it.”

Many testimonies of God’s protection and provision came out of these disasters.

Peninsular Florida Superintendent Terry Raburn sent the following testimony following Hurricane Charley:

“I want to share one testimony, after all the bad reports of last week. Dennis Postell Sr., pastor of Abundant Life AG, led services under a 40-by-80-foot tent yesterday [Sunday] in front of their condemned building in Punta Gorda. They had standing room only attendance of more than 200.  They used a portable sound system provided by Dan Betzer, pastor of First AG in Fort Myers. The singing was victorious and the presence of the Holy Spirit was evident and precious. 

“This morning,” Pastor Postell said: “The attitude of our people is: ‘we are hurt but not defeated; wounded but not killed. We’re gonna make it!’ Terry, I just want you to know we had service and it was wonderful and powerful.”

 

Spirit of hope and faith

Southeastern Spanish District Superintendent Edward Martinez commented after Hurricane Charley: “I was able to see a generous spirit of giving and sharing, as we love to see in the church. Aside from the struggles and burdens these calamities bring, there was a spirit of hope and faith in God’s provision from the people that was encouraging. Priorities were rearranged; the most important thing seemed to be to help your neighbor. It seemed like years of teaching God’s Word surfaced in the hearts of God’s people in their time of trouble, and God’s people are shining through to God’s glory.”

 

These are just two of the testimonies that emerged from these six catastrophic weeks of crises.

Can good come out of adversity? David reminds us: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15).

The hurricanes of 2004 will live long in the memories of Florida’s residents. But many of them will also remember the generosity of God’s people who helped them in time of need, the peace of God that passed understanding, and the victories they received in spite of the trouble they had to go through.

Owen Wilkie


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Email: DisasterRelief@ag.org | Phone: 417-862-2781, ext. 2182
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