Last Saturday, I had the privilege as an UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) Disaster Early Response Trainer of leading a one-day training here at First Church for 30 new servant leaders who want to be a “Christian Caring Presence” with others during times of need in the aftermath of mainly natural disasters (local, Conference, and beyond). Those attending learned how to listen, comfort, and guide those impacted by disasters as a first step of relief after First Responders secure an area, how to help families clean out their homes/yards and to separate and sort debris, how to create a team and the roles of each team member on a trip, how to be self-sufficient at a site and secure equipment needed, and even how to tarp a roof for those more adventurous volunteers. We have a role for everyone who wants to serve on our team, and we will be prepared even if a disaster strikes in our local area and our church is needed. We now have over 65 volunteers that we have trained here at First Church from our congregation and our district who will be ready to respond and serve together. What a fantastic team!!
Last week before the training, we received a huge, unexpected blessing from one of our faithful church members. Michelle Gann came to the office and shared that she wanted to donate this beautiful new cargo trailer (see photos below) for our Disaster Response Ministry. What a wonderful surprise and gift that she graciously offered to God and this ministry to others! Can’t you just see this new trailer, packed with equipment and supplies, rolling down the highway to help at a disaster with our First Church name and logo on the side as we “Go Out To Be God’s People In the World,” serving God and others and representing our congregation?! Special thanks to Michelle for her amazing generosity!!
Our team has already served near Canton when the tornadoes struck, traveled to Corpus Christi to help with victims of Hurricane Harvey, and helped during other disasters. Now we have an even bigger team, and will be traveling back to Victoria, Texas, soon to help with recovery with our brand-new First Church Disaster Response Trailer! Watch for more details, and please pray for our team. If you would like more information regarding this ministry, please contact me soon.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Chuck Graff