Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
“There are times when we look up to the heavens and ask… do you really mean wherever? Even if wherever involves 911 moments or disasters? Again, the answer is yes, wherever. When you go through flooding, winter storm damage, busted pipes and significant home damage, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail damage, insurance or no insurance… God is wherever. And then … God sends help. It comes in all forms and from friends of all kinds. Some of those friends are from Week of Compassion. They come with resources and with faith. They come with ears and hearts open. They come with hands open ready for work and with hands folded in prayer.” -Rev. Joe Hodges, Senior Minister, The Woodlands Christian Church, TX.
A significant winter storm brought historic low temperatures to much of the U.S. and Canada this week. The impact was especially consequential in Texas, where the infrastructure is not equipped for severe cold. Many across the state have experienced prolonged power outages as dangerously cold temperatures persist, as well as water system failures and damage due to frozen pipes.
Week of Compassion is in touch with church leaders in the affected areas, responding to needs through Disciples Regions and local congregations, as well as ecumenical partners.
So far, Week of Compassion has received reports of the following impact to Disciples. Though most of the impact is in Texas, these numbers represent multiple regions across the U.S.:
In addition to providing support for congregations and households that sustained damage--primarily from burst pipes and flooding--Week of Compassion is providing ministry grants for Disciples congregations as they serve their neighbors. Our churches across multiple regions are working to provide warming shelters, food assistance, and essential supplies to those in urgent need.
Rev. Virzola Law, Senior Minister of Northway Christian Church in Dallas, shares: “The DFW area is not built for this extreme weather. Yet with the resources of so many--like Week of Compassion and our neighbors--we were able show up and provide the basics. Shelter for some; water for others; food for many. Blankets for warmth. And even a shoulder (with a mask on). The distance was closed because so much love continues to be unmasked. Christ and Community have bridged the gaps in amazing ways as we continue to move through this time… We are stronger together as the body of Christ, and Week of Compassion makes that possible.”
And from Rev. Allison Lanza, Associate Minister of Ridglea Christian Church in Fort Worth: “Week of Compassion has already called offering help to our church and our community... Every call and text I get is filled with tragedy unbelievable, and miracles of kindness all wrapped together... God makes a way when there is no way. God turns despair into hope and death into life, especially when it seems most impossible.”
As always, in times of need, Disciples want to help. For now, the best way to show your love and support for those impacted by these winter storms is to “Stay, Pray and Give.” When you give to Week of Compassion, we deploy those resources immediately to ensure that they reach those who need it most. You can give on our website; via check; or by texting WoC to 41444. Designate your gift for “U.S. Storms and fires.”
Your gifts will support these immediate responses, as well as community-wide long-term recovery as we continue to work with partners to meet ongoing needs in the weeks and months ahead.
Many congregations are lifting up the Week of Compassion Special Offering this week and next. These recent winter events remind us of the ways we are connected, sharing the presence of our wider church in places of great need. Your gifts to Week of Compassion ensure that we can respond immediately and “Let Love Flow” when there is a disaster-- whether far away or in our own backyard.
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