Dear Church,

Once again we find ourselves holding our breath as we watch another calamitous storm batter our brothers and sisters.  This time the storm’s name is Michael, but it has quickly followed upon Florence in the southeast United States, and Lane, Norman, and Olivia in Hawaii.  And, of course, we also recall our extended family in Asia as Typhoons Mangkhut and Jebi battered The Philippines and Taiwan, along with the horrific damage done in Indonesia by the recent earthquake and tsunami.  It has been a hard, hard year for too many of our kin around the world!

The reality is that we may be tempted, in the face of such a list (and it is only a small portion of this year’s disasters) to “compassion fatigue,” to walling off our hearts to so much hurt and pain.  I hope, though, that we won’t and that we will pray God’s help to continue to want to know how to assist those in any part of the world who are caught up in these terrible storms.

And so we need to pray: 

  • For ourselves, that we “would not grow weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9),

  •  For all those affected by Hurricane Michael (which as of this writing has turned far worse than anyone predicted),

  • For those who have lost lives and loved ones, those who have had their homes battered and bludgeoned, those who have fled and live in fear of what they will return to.

We also pray in thanksgiving for all those first responders who often risk their own lives to help:  police and paramedics, firefighters and FEMA workers, doctors, nurses, and pastors, and so many more.  May God grant them both courage and patience in the midst of overwhelming need.

We don’t fully know the effects of Hurricane Michael as of this writing, nor do we have many reports from Disciples congregations or families who may have been affected.  We are aware of a few Disciples congregations who seem to have fared okay – and are already working on how they can help their neighbors! We will doubtlessly hear more specifics in the coming days.  But please know that Week of Compassion is staying in close touch with Disciples and ecumenical partners in the area as well as working closely with our General Ministry partners and our General Minister and President Teresa Hord Owens to coordinate information and relief efforts.

Importantly, as our partners begin to plan for long-term response, we need your continued support and partnership that we may continue to offer assistance, short-term and long-term, wherever disaster strikes.  I know that many will want to go to Florida and Georgia to assist, but please understand that it is too soon to do so and that there will be ample opportunity later for volunteers. Right now the best thing you can do is “stay, pray, and donate.”  You may donate through Week of Compassion’s website designated for Hurricane Relief or through your local congregation with the same designation. In the weeks and months ahead, as we get more information on the impact of the storm, we will provide updates on our social media; I hope you’ll follow Week of Compassion on Facebook or Twitter to receive these updates.

With gratitude for your partnership,

Rev. Vy Nguyen, Executive Director

Week of Compassion