September is not yet over, and we at World Renew have drawn at least seven emergency situations to your attention. You have responded incredibly generously and with great faith – in God, and in us – despite possibly being overwhelmed. Thank you!
Some of you may know the hymn and prayer “St. Patrick’s Breastplate”, which is a plea for God’s help in the face of adversity:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Last week Bob Laarman, director of World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS), met Elbert Lott in Victoria, Texas, at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. Elbert humbly shared how he sat in his living room when Hurricane Harvey shook his house and wrecked his roof. How he could see the sky through the holes in the ceiling. He knew he was protected. He said, “My faith in God is what keeps me going. I believe that there’s a purpose when we go through situations. It makes us stronger. Before you can really accomplish you have to go through… when I say go through that doesn’t mean stop in the middle, that means going completely through.”
I believe Christ was beside, beneath, and above Elbert during Hurricane Harvey.
We know that Elbert is just one of millions currently affected by hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, conflicts around the world.
DRS staff and volunteers are shaping responses to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, even while groups are fanned out addressing needs created by storms from previous years.
World Renew’s International Disaster Response Team (IDR) is drawing our attention to “Displaced Peoples” in South Asia. Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh, but Bangladesh – badly flooded – does not have the capacity it needs to support these refugees. World Renew is providing wheat and vegetable seed stock to replace what has been lost. In India, food assistance is being directed to families displaced by flooding. In Nepal, emergency supplies (including water filters) are going to families who have lost their possessions due to flooding.
Additionally IDR will be supporting the Cuban Council of Churches response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma in Cuba, knowing that the Caribbean may be in dire need of further support due to Hurricane Maria.
We know that God is sovereign Lord of all, and that he holds us in the palm of hand. Two more verses from “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” remind us where we get our help and strength to go through tough situations as well as support others who do:
I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three,
of whom all nature has creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation;
salvation is of Christ the Lord!
World Renew Canada
PHOTO TOP: Smoke is seen on Myanmar’s side of border as Rohingya refugees get off from a boat after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui