October 10, 2017 (Home Office)
UNTCI Ministries were greatly affected here in the U.S. and Territories by the storms of the 2017 season (Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate).
As soon as Harvey was scheduled to make landfall, we started to prepare for the eventual response by our Fellowship and tried to anticipate the needs. An email was sent to all of our registered members in Texas notifying them that we were ready to help and asking them to keep us informed of their own situation and needs as best they could. Prior to Landfall we had identified sources for bulk purchase of both food and water should any of our ministries want/need a source outside of the expected impacted areas.
After landfall and as soon as the seriousness of the situation was registering, we established contact with two church centers, each in severely impacted wards of the city where needs would be greatest and mapped out routes to them around the flooded areas to assist our volunteers in getting to these areas that would be established as initial “rally points” and distribution centers. We then announced through our various social media outlets that we were ready to assist those who were ready to respond with a dedicated line to communicate with “home office”.
Additionally, the call to help financially went out to the Fellowship, and all were asked to “share” the call across their own social media pages and networks to assist us in raising funds to help wherever necessary. All of this effort was held over and in place (or repeated) as another storm came ashore in Florida creating even more need for resources as that storm made it’s way up the interior of the state and then another in Puerto Rico.
There remains a great need as the clean up and full recovery will take years. We have heard from a majority of our members that were/are in these areas but still are praying to hear from a few more.
So, this is what we have done to date in the recovery efforts from UNTCI…
- Over the fund raising campaign through the month of September (all receipts were directed to storms fund), UNTCI raised $765.00
- A group of Combat Veterans from the Gypsy Motorcycle Club were gathered together, and equipped to stay for an extended period of time by friend of the ministry, John Gersna. They took with them equipment, food, water, and necessary supplies to St. John’s Mission Church in the 3rd Ward of Houston.
- We still have some earth moving and light excavation equipment along with chain saws and equipment ready to go into the area to help with the remaining cleanup if any of the Fellowship would like to volunteer as a member of the UNTCI Recovery Ministry.
- After the rescue response, and the recovery efforts began in Houston, we were contacted by Ann Parsons-Newman, an Elementary Teacher at Spring Shadows Elementary School and friend of the ministry asking for help for the children in order to help them recover some “normalcy”.
Here is an excerpt from her letter:
Spring Shadows Elementary is a Title 1 school in Houston with 90% of the 730 children living in poverty. Luckily just a handful of students were flooded out of their homes. The major effect of Hurricane Harvey was that children’s parents are living from day to day with their expenses. When Harvey hit the city shut down and the parents couldn’t work. Our school is ensuring the children are getting meals. One of the school’s fund raiser to get furniture, books etc is from a book fair. The school will have a book fair in October and the children’s families do not have the money to buy books for the children. Spring Shadows is asking for volunteers to adopt a class of 20 to get a $5 book from the book fair which would equal $100. The children then will have a thrill of a new book and 50% of the profit can go to school to buy items needed. Last year we were able to get colorful furniture for a reading circle.
- UNTCI Sponsored the class and bought each student a book from the “Book Fair”.
- UNTCI plans on future gifts of books to these children for each “Book Fair” event in the future… the next one is coming for Christmas Break.
- Florida was also impacted greatly and many of our ministers and ministries are there. A great deal of damage was done along the coast in the Titusville area where a longtime member of the ministry, Rev. Heather Heineman both lives and conducts her children’s ministry. She and her family found themselves as a result of losing the roof to their home, homeless with almost all of their possessions destroyed.
- UNTCI sent her the remaining of the funds, in order that they could move in right away to a rental that was available and begin the recovery process.
There is still much to do Brothers and Sister!
We still haven’t heard from our Brethren in Puerto Rico, however, we know that their needs probably look closer to the impossible given all the information about the damage. But we know that nothing is impossible for the God that we serve.
There are many more that are in need that we haven’t heard about yet, and in ways that the large institutions have no “category” for. Let us be ready to help those who call, when they call. Here, even now here in America, there is opportunity after opportunity to shine the Light of Christ into the darkness that is surrounding them. An opportunity for them to know who Christ is in us.
Please continue to give to this end. That we may bless beyond the norm, and do more for Him and His as He has given us more and more opportunity to do so.
Give to UNTCI Missions Support at: www.untci.org/giving-center