As I write this, Hurricane Florence is sitting on the North Carolina coastline dumping enormous rainfall to go along with serious storm surge. Already as much as 30 inches of rain has fallen and there is more to come. And so far, there are 18 dead. We pray there will be no more.
We are not strangers to epic flooding. None of us will soon forget the flood that swamped Nashville in 2010. Many people were displaced and lost everything. It took months for us to recover. And we might never have recovered had it not been for the army of volunteers that came from all over the country to help.
We proved that we were a strong community that year. Neighbors helped neighbors. Strangers helped strangers. We persevered.
I noticed on the interstate on Friday a number of emergency vehicles and crews headed East toward the coast. They were from large cities and small, rural communities. They mustered all the resources they could to dive into the waters to help.
We need to offer prayers today for the families who have lost loved ones. We need to offer prayers for those who have lost a lifetime’s worth of things--memories. We need to offer special prayers for the ones who are there to help.
Your United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is already on the job. There are few organizations as qualified and prepared to step into these kinds of disasters. They were there days ahead of time, they are there now, and most importantly they will still be there long after most other agencies have left. They will be there to help recover and rebuild.
Sometimes I hear folks ask about our apportionment dollars--what the church does with them--here is one example--we help fund UMCOR. Our dollars help to maintain the infrastructure of UMCOR so that when such an emergency takes place anywhere, we are there on the ground AND we create the avenue for people to send funds to these areas with the assurance that 100% of their donation will be used to help those in need.
If you would like to make a donation to the victims of Hurricane Florence, simply send your check to the church and write Florence victims in the memo line. We will collect these donations and forward them to UMCOR on your behalf.
Continue to pray for the people on the Carolina coast.