The Apostle Paul famously called for a special offering for the Jerusalem Church and Christians suffering in hard times during a famine in the 40s A.D. Those words of almost two thousand years ago are easily echoed today in response to the great faithfulness of the churches of the Central Texas Conference in offerings for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
"Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us. Your ministry of this service to God's people isn't only fully meeting their needs but it is also multiplying in many expressions of thanksgiving to God. They will give honor to God for your obedience to your confession of Christ's gospel. They will do this because this service provides evidence of your obedience, and because of your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone" (2 Corinthians 9:11b-13).From the depths of my heart I want to express a gratitude to the members and churches of the Central Texas Conference. A preliminary report from our Conference Treasurer is that some 120 churches (some with repeated donations) have responded today with a total amount of money currently at $244,665.04. In addition, a number of churches and individuals have given directly and are not being included in this amount. We are still receiving money for Hurricane Relief and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) on a regular basis so the final amount should be a good bit higher. To all, God bless you for your great faithfulness in the face of disaster. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we reached the 100% of Central Texas Conference churches responding! Disaster Response Coordinator for the Central Texas Conference, Rev. Ginger Watson, shared a report last Sunday afternoon (September 24th) at the regular meeting of the CTC Connectional Table. Some notes from that report are:
- We have small depots for supplies at First Hillsboro, Tenth Street Taylor, Lifepoint and Comanche UMCs.
- A Genesis UMC member with a trailer loaded with over 100 flood buckets, 500 hygiene kits and diapers to take those desperately need items to Conroe. When he arrived, the warehouse was completely empty. His load of supplies was an answered prayer.
- Leah and Stan Gregory with others delivered similar loads of supplies to those in South Texas (the Rio Texas Conference) at Kerrville. Many other similar loads have headed into recovery areas. Rev. Watson estimates that we have provided well over 1,000 flood buckets along with several thousand hygiene kits. 300 more flood buckets head south this week!
- Trained ERT (Early Response Teams) have come from a dozen churches across the conference. Over 150 additional CTC members have received critical and necessary training as ERTs.
- Genesis, Polytechnic UMC and a number of other churches have provided greatly needed bedding on an emergency basis. Volunteers from First Hurst and White's Chapel have also provided Ministry Safe childcare volunteers to work with evacuee children.