It seems that we are dealing with these types of situations way too often. It feels like just as we begin to find a way to take a breath, another tragedy occurs and we find ourselves grieving all over again. I am sure all of you have seen the coverage of what happened Monday in Moore, OK.
As a family, we sat and watched a portion of it with Parker and Wesley. They were watching very intently asthe reporters spoke of the size of the tornado and pictures were shown of houses, neighborhoods, and schools that were destroyed by the storm. For my boys, the biggest impact was the loss of the school. School is where they spend most of their time, it is where they see their friends and where they make some of their most important memories. For Debbie and I, the biggest impact we felt centered on the loss of life. As we think about the number of our family growing, thinking about how those families are shrinking, brought us both to tears. For you, depending on your situation and life experiences the impact may have been quite different.
However, we all felt the impact in some way and we were all affected by this devastation. Last night as the boys said their nighttime prayers, Parker asked if he could pray for the people and schools. I know each of you, in some way and at some point, have prayed for these people as well. That is part of what happens to us when we become disciples of Jesus Christ; we reach out and feel the pain of others. I want to encourage you all to keep praying for the people of Moore, OK. This is not something that will be fixed overnight. While the tangible cleanup of homes, schools, and neighborhoods will be completed at some point, the emotional toll will always be felt. So please pray and keep praying.
If you feel led to do more, I want to invite you to consider donating to UMCOR. UMCOR is the United Methodist Committee on Relief. They are a branch of our connection that places people in those communities to bring aid to those affected. One of the many great things about UMCOR is that when you give to a specific relief effort, 100% of your money goes to that area. It is not used for administrative costs, only for relief supplies and assistance. As soon as it was realized that the tornadoes had caused significant damage, UMCOR sprang into action, setting up a donation account, and immediately sending funds to help. They are working right now to send people to the area of Moore once assessments have been made and the needs of that community determined. If you would like to donate to UMCOR, you can make your donation to the church and designate it Disaster Response, United States (#901670). We will then mail one check for all the monies collected and send it off. You also have the ability to donate online if you choose by clicking here.
I ask you all to join me in prayer as we lift up all those dealing with the aftermath of these tornados:
Gracious God, we turn to you now in the names of those impacted by the tornados in Texas. Your sons and daughters are dealing with the loss, the chaos, and the grief of yesterday’s devastation. We know you are there right now, we know you were there yesterday as the storm touched down. Please continue to watch over those people and provide them a sense of your presence and care.
Be with us as we find ways to help; through prayer, through donations, and through our witness. Give us the wisdom and courage to be your instruments of grace and mercy. Show us ways we can reach out to help, words we can say to bring hope, and times we can fall before you and ask for guidance. In all of this and in all ways, Heavenly Father, hear our prayers. Amen.
Have a blessed week and I will see you all on Sunday,