Julie Tucker, Emergency Management Director
Texas has more varied natural disasters than any other state in the union. In addition, with the population growth at such a high rate, man-made disasters are increasingly possible. When a disaster of any variety occurs there are people who want to bring relief to those who have been impacted. The question is: “What can I do to help?”
First of all, pray. Of course, there are many things for which you can pray but right now, you can pray on behalf of others to the Lord for preservation, protection and most of all for the realization of Christ’s mercy. In your prayers, pray that God uses the event as a way of bringing people to a knowledge and to a faith relationship with Jesus.
In addition, pray for the pastors, church workers and congregational leaders, and members in the impacted areas. Specifically pray for:
- protection for them and their families,
- protection for the congregation’s property (to be used in the community as a missional outpost), and
- that leadership discovers ways of serving the community and bringing God’s merciful presence in word and deed.
No one wants to experience or suffer through a disaster. It is a terrible thing. But God works through the storm. Pray that He will open hearts and minds, eyes, and ears to the reality of sin, and the redemption offered all people in Jesus. In this way, you will not only be a spiritual “first responder” but your prayer will encourage and support the expansion of God’s kingdom.
A disaster can be a missional and transformational movement in a local community. It can be missional because at times of disaster people who do not have faith (and many who do) will ask very serious questions that need to be answered. Questions such as: Is there a God who cares? If God really is a God of love, how could He allow this to happen? What did I do to deserve this pain and suffering? These are incredible opportunities to demonstrate God’s love and mercy to those who do not know Him and to those who need to be reminded.
This can also be a transformational event because as God’s children go, they serve. Servant leadership changes the hearts and minds of everyone involved. This includes the members of the congregation. All of a sudden the issue is not ourselves, but someone else. Demonstrating God’s mercy to someone else cannot help but touch the servant as well.
Following prayer, God’s people simply and intentionally need to be available to go to the communities bringing the gospel. People will remember your presence more than they remember your money. This particular aspect of relief and response is overlooked in our culture, but it is essential for a healthy recovery by those who experience any kind of critical incident.
To Request Disaster Assistance
When property or means of support is destroyed in a disaster event, limited financial assistance is available from the Texas District to church workers, congregations and communities. The dollars that are distributed are from donations that individuals and congregations people make. All funds Texas District receives from your donations are used for disaster relief through requests. If you are a church worker or a member of a local LCMS congregation you are asked to complete the Disaster Relief Assistance Form and submit it to your pastor for his signature. He will submit the form to the disaster relief coordinator.
Disaster Relief Assistance Form
If you are the pastor and need to make a request for personal assistance, give the completed form to your circuit visitor. The circuit visitor will submit such requests to the disaster relief coordinator.
During those times when congregations are not affected but communities are, the community support requests must be submitted by the pastor of a local congregation in that community to the disaster relief coordinator.