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AG World Missions and Convoy of Hope are partnering to help feed and care for those affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Convoy of Hope is procuring emergency meals and medical supplies, and AGWM is funding the shipping and distribution of these critically needed items. Six shipping containers are already en route to Liberia, and plans for a total of 30 containers are underway.

AGWM and Convoy of Hope's partnership makes this relief effort both financially efficient and effective in touching the suffering. By partnering with AG churches in the affected areas, relief supplies are distributed to those who need it most, and people are connected with the gospel and a community of believers. Every dollar given will deliver 30 meals to people in Africa's hardest hit communities.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the Assemblies of God in Liberia (AGL) is reaching out to the suffering with a gospel witness, prayer, and tangible assistance, such as food and household supplies. The Ebola crisis has had a negative impact on the nation's economy, leaving many without even the most basic necessities. 

Greg Beggs, AG World Missions regional director for Africa, says, "AG national churches in Liberia and Sierra Leone are valiantly coping with this horrendous health crisis. We need to unite our prayers with them for God's intervention."

In order to maximize its influence, the AGL has formed a partnership with the Christian Health Association of Liberia, which works hand in hand with the Liberia Ministry of Health as well as 1,600 churches nationwide.

In neighboring Sierra Leone, the Ebola epidemic began in the village of Koindu where an AG Bible school is located. Several deaths have been reported from the school and area churches. Despite steps to attempt containment, the epidemic has spread to every district in the nation. According to the World Health Organization, the densely populated national capital, Freetown, has been called "one of the worst affected cities in this outbreak."

The Sierra Leone Assemblies of God has received medical supplies (gloves, masks and hand sanitizer) from HealthCare Ministries, AGWM's medical outreach. Local churches distribute those supplies in remote regions where the disruption of services has created staggering shortages.

"Much of the success of the current relief efforts stems from the presence of strong AG churches in the area," says Jerry Ireland, director of Africa AG Care. "Apart from the network of Assemblies of God-affiliated churches, such efforts would be greatly hindered, if not impossible."

"During the Thanksgiving season is an especially appropriate time to express our gratitude for God's blessings with a meaningful and tangible offering that is effective in any amount," says Randy Hurst, AGWM Communications director. "Through this effective partnership between AGWM and Convoy of Hope, for every dollar 30 meals can reach desperate people in Africa. Even a child can give a dollar and know their gift delivered 30 meals."

To give, click here.

 


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AG churches spared as tornadoes tear through Midwest, South

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 - 4:23 PM CST

In a week filled with severe weather, multiple communities in the Midwest and South were devastated by powerful tornadoes that left death and destruction in their wake.

According to reports, more than three dozen people have died and hundreds have been injured due to the tornado outbreaks, which began last week in Kansas and Missouri and then continued into Illinois, with a another tornado-generating weather system striking farther east later in the week, from Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky to Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

Yet despite several communities being "wiped out," AG districts are so far reporting that no AG churches have reported any significant damage. In some cases, district leaders are sharing remarkable stories.

Kentucky District Superintendent Joe Girdler reports that they have communities that are "hardly there" anymore. Yet, he's been told of two instances where a tornado either went around or over the top of churches, sparing them any damage, while buildings around them were destroyed.

"We have churches already bringing in food and water into hard-hit areas, with many others standing by with work teams ready to roll," Girdler says. "At this point, we know of no AG churches or pastors' homes that have been damaged, but there are some communities that we have not heard from [as phone service is down]."

The Ohio District reports a similar experience as in Kentucky. The River of Life (AG) in Moscow, Ohio, was at the center of the storm, but wasn't damaged while everything around it was. The church now serves as command central for volunteers and supplies.

First Assembly of God in Dallas, Georgia, was able to respond to the needs in its tornado-torn community as well. The previous night, the church had prepared soup and sandwiches to do ministry in Atlanta, but when the tornado hit, plans were changed and they were able to provide food and water to workers and families in the area.

According to the Illinois District Office, churches are responding to the tornado that nearly wiped out the community of Harrisburg. Abundant Life Assembly in nearby Marion has been providing food and water, and has offered their facility to use as a storehouse for supplies. Other churches are also offering work crews when officials permit them in.

In addition to church response, the Convoy of Hope is also present in multiple locations. "As the most recent tornadoes were touching down, we had trucks - full of food, water and emergency supplies - on the road headed to areas that forecasters projected to be hit," Karen Benson, director of Global disaster Response for Convoy of Hope, says.  "As soon as we get the green light from local officials, we will begin setting up mobile distribution sites and dispatching debris removal teams."

As Kentucky's Joe Girdler said, "there are many churches, too many to name them all, that have opened their doors and are responding to the need." The same could be said in most if not all the districts where tornadoes struck. Although there have been no reports of AG churches hit by the tornadoes, AG members and their extended families and communities have suffered deep losses - and churches are doing their best to provide compassionate care for victims and workers.

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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