Supporting Hurricane Laura Relief and Recovery Efforts ©

We are living in a time where we seem to be continually facing societal struggles that come at us at an almost blistering pace. Of course, there are all the ongoing and ever changing (yet seemingly never-changing) issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic with which we’ve struggled since early March. Add to that the emotion-filled efforts to not just address, but actively work to end racism in our land, and then mix in all the partisan political rhetoric that comes with the pending national elections and the economic situation resulting from all of the above. Yet, even will all that, there are still disasters we call “natural” that will occur and demand our attention.
It’s been more than two weeks since Hurricane Laura slammed into the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coasts leaving a wide swath of destruction in its wake. The people of Southwest Louisiana in particular are dealing with incredible devastation. Some of the images shown on the news have been almost surreal – all have been heartbreaking. As someone who lived on the Texas Gulf Coast for more than 17 years, I’m fully aware of what this type of devastation can mean to communities. And while there is never a good time to have to absorb such a blow from Mother Nature, this comes at a time when our brothers and sisters in the Pelican State, like all of us here at home, are having to continue to deal with all the changes to everyday life that have been brought about by the still ongoing and dangerous COVID-19 pandemic. What must the frustration level be for those folks living in communities large and small who are still without potable water, electricity, phone and internet service and – in many areas – quite limited food supplies?

Central Texas Conference ERT Team works to clear fallen trees and other debris in efforts to help restore power, water and other utilities to areas affected by Hurricane Laura

While the reports we receive from Susan Luttrell – the conference’s coordinator of disaster response – and other trained ERT leaders who are on the ground in Southwest Louisiana confirm the devastation, frustration and heartbreak, they also share stories of resilience, of determination, of hope. In her latest update – which I commend to you – Susan writes,

You can see God at work all around. You can hear it. You can feel it. While the good people of southwest Louisiana are exhausted and storm weary, tired of having to rebuild while wearing masks…they seem to understand there is a brighter future ahead. There is a light in the destruction left by COVID-19 and Laura – it is a light that shines from the love of Christ knowing God is riding out this storm with them and God will not leave his children without hope.”

CTC ERTs with one of the couples with whom they are working to help get them back in their home and restore utilities.

As I mentioned, Susan and other CTC Disaster Response leaders have been in Louisiana for many days already, and we have ERT teams scheduled to go and assist in the relief and recovery efforts throughout October – and beyond if necessary. As always in these situations, it is imperative that only our trained ERT and Disaster Response personnel deploy to the areas affected by Laura at this time. But there are ways we can all help. First and foremost pray – pray for those who have been directly impacted, for those who have family and friends in the area that they may not be able to contact, for federal, state and local officials, for relief agencies like UMCOR and all who are working so hard to recover from the storm. You can also assist financially. I’m asking for a Special Offering to be received by our local churches to assist in the Laura Relief and Recovery efforts.

Please send the donations received via the special offering to the Central Texas Conference Service Center, Attn: Disaster Response, 3200 E. Rosedale, St. Fort Worth, Texas 76105. Checks should be made out to Central Texas Conference and please note Hurricane Laura on the check. You can also give directly to the Louisiana Conference by clicking the donate button on our hurricane Laura response page.

Please view the video message below for more from Bishop Lowry on the CTC’s Response to Hurricane Laura.