Responding to Tornados in Indiana

The Buchanan family of Kokomo, IN, recently experienced damage from a tornado that struck their community.  They offer the following reflection on how Week of Compassion’s response helped them get started on the road to recovery:

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Since I was a small child the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has been a part of my life.  My mother moved from Arkansas as a young woman to Indianapolis to work at the original Disciples Mission building as a secretary.  After she met my dad, they moved to Kokomo and raised my three sisters and me at South Side Christian Church. South Side gave me a firm faith foundation that inspired me to attend Eureka College. There I studied Religion/Philosophy and Psychology and went on to study at Brite Divinity School until my life took a different turn.

Today I am back in Kokomo and a member at South Side. Recently something happened that I never in my wildest dreams thought would happen. On November 17, 2013, my husband, Jim, and I returned home from picking up Cassie (the child we are adopting) from a weekend of respite, only to find our house severely damaged by a tornado. We were in total shock, and Cassie was overwhelmed. Glass was all over the back family room. A tree sat on top of my father-in-law’s van. The shed that held all of our Christmas decorations was flattened. Windows were broken, trees were down, and the roof was in shreds.

We were able to coax our two dogs and two cats out of their hiding spots and get them to safety. We found a place for our animals and Cassie for the night and my husband and I returned home to sleep. We didn’t know they had evacuated our neighborhood. We just didn’t want to leave our home in this condition. The next morning the extent of the damage to our house and neighborhood hit us as we walked out and looked around. While Tornados had always been something on TV happening to other people somewhere else, this time it was in Kokomo—and it was happening to us. I can’t even describe the shock that hit us as we looked at the houses that were damaged in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood was the hardest hit in our city. I had already talked to our minister and a work crew from our church was coming to help. God’s blessings had already started. They could do what I couldn’t because they weren’t in shock. By evening, our house was secure and our insurance had put our family in a hotel. Becky Sundquist, our minister, called that night and told us another amazing thing: Week of Compassion was sending us a grant to help with recovery. You can’t imagine how great that was to hear. Although our insurance company was paying for our hotel and eventually would cover expenses, we had a number of expenses to cover. Your grant made that possible.

I have been a Disciple all my life, and I have given to Week of Compassion when possible, but I never imagined I would be a recipient of a Week of Compassion grant. Of course, I never imagined I would live through a tornado either! Words cannot express our thanks. We hope soon to be on the giving end of disaster recovery, but for now please accept what we can give: our thanks and prayers.

May God bless the work of Week of Compassion!

Thanks, 
Karla, Jim and Cassie Buchanan

Search opened for Week of Compassion Executive Director 

The Office of the General Minister and President (OGMP) seeks a dynamic and innovative leader to serve as the Executive Director for Week of Compassion.  The Executive Director serves as a member of the OGMP team with primary responsibility to oversee the relief, refugee and development fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). As the main avenue for Disciples disaster response giving, Week of Compassion also supports refugee assistance, sustainable development and humanitarian projects through denominational and ecumenical partnerships around the world.

The full job description including desired qualities is available here. Applications will be accepted through March 16, 2014.  Questions regarding the Week of Compassion Search may be directed to Dr. William Lee, Search Committee Chair, c/o Beth Sullivan at bsullivan@disciples.org.

This week's responses:  
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
South Sudan, Public Health/Health Care Support 
Missouri, House Fire 
Development and Long-Term Recovery and Rehabilitation 
Bosnia, Interfaith Dialogue