Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fire Response

Wildfire response heartens disaster coordinator
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless …” Matthew 9:36

The recent wildfires that damaged around 800,000 acres in both Kansas and Nebraska reminds us just how fast life can change forever.                     
As one rancher shared with me, “one minute all is well, and 45 minutes later, EVERYTHING gone – home, cattle, fences, sheds, tractors, feed, irrigation system, cars, trucks, my job – all gone.  All reduced to a pile of ashes.”
Those last seven words carried me back to Ash Wednesday, where I could suddenly feel the ashes on my forehead and the scent of “burnt” became very present. To look out over what is now barren land stops you in your tracks. 

As I have spoken with these families who have absolutely nothing now, my heart is broken. Your Disaster Response Committee has responded financially to these families in wonderful ways. The ministry of care and compassion for the troubled and helpless is a powerful opportunity for us to provide a little hope during these days of hopelessness and despair. While your Disaster Response Committee and volunteers have helped and will continue to help, it is the Churches of The Great Plains Annual Conference that have warmed my heart with your responses.
Your responses are what I call “BEING THE CHURCH”. Through your gifts of money, fencing supplies and hay, you are living what it means to support your neighbors with your prayers, presence, gifts and service. It is exciting to see individuals carry worship out of the church facilities and be present in the moment of life, sharing God’s love and the gift of grace. That is what I mean about “BEING THE CHURCH”!
In addition to prayer, the pressing need is for fencing supplies and experienced fence builders. If you can fill either one of these requests, please let me know.

-- The Rev. Hollie Tapley, GP UMC disaster response coordinator