So Houston and South Texas are in the midst of bewildering large scale crisis. The local news is a 24-hour non-stop parade of anxiety and heart breaking stories of loss and fear. First responders are doing incredible, amazing, heroic, outstand, (insert your favorite superlative here) job in the face of overwhelming need.
For those in other helping professions (like us pastors), watching all of it from the sidelines can leave you feeling both restless and useless. If your church is a shelter, or supply point or able deploy immediate responders, Way To Go! Keep it up! If you’re like me in the “I feel like I should be doing something” but can’t crowd, I present a helpful piece of perspective from the guys at Space City Weather
The situation seems horrible now, and with the prospect of more rain, you may feel hopeless or helpless, or both. From a mental health standpoint, the uncertainty this brings adds a considerable amount of stress to an already stressful situation. I wish we could tell you when the rains will end, but we can’t. Here’s one thing we are sure of, however. The rains will end.
The rains will end, but the work will not. There will be weeks and months of clean up, rebuilding, counseling, and questions. Resources will need to be gathered and distributed, work teams deployed, and more than that people are going to need safe places to ask questions and find hope for the future.
Harvey is a relay marathon, and this is only mile 2 or 3. The baton will come our way. So be ready. Spend time in prayer now. Get what rest you can. Care for your own congregations and neighbors. Know how to connect with agencies like the Red Cross and your denominational network and what you have to offer. (for Methodists it’s UMCOR…for Methodists in the Texas Annual Conference it’s also the Mission Center in Conroe).
You might feel useless today, but all of those on the front lines need our prayers. And when they get tired, there needs to be a fresh wave ready to step in with the next phase of support. Be ready when your gifts are called.
There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 5 and there are different ministries and the same Lord; 6 and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. – -1 Corinthians 12:4-6
If you’re looking for more than encouragement the best ways to help at this point are (from the TXAC):
- Monetary donations can be made directly to UMCOR Domestic Disaster Response, Advance #901670, at umcor.org.
- Churches and individuals can assemble cleaning kits (flood buckets) and deliver them to the Mission Center in Conroe beginning Monday. A list of kit supplies can be found at http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/Cleaning.
- If churches receive monetary donations for disaster relief, please send these to the conference treasurer’s office marked “Disaster Relief.” We will utilize the money accordingly.