Possum Kingdom/Irene Disaster Response Update

by Kyland Dobbins*
The past several days have yet again served to remind how quickly lives can be turned upside down in the wake of a natural disaster. They have also served to remind how quickly the people of the Central Texas Conference are to offer assistance to those affected. As our brothers and sisters across the eastern seaboard of the United States and (closer to home) Palo Pinto County are beginning the long journey of picking up the pieces and moving on, we have already heard from several of you wanting to know how to help.
We praise God for your compassion for those facing the disasters of both the wildfires of Possum Kingdom in Palo Pinto County, and the flooding from Hurricane Irene. It is in times like these that we should unite in prayer and physical power to show the love of Christ to the world. However, as of this moment, besides prayer, the best thing you can do is to hold tight and wait for the authorities and relief agencies with which we work to determine where, when and what kind of assistance is needed.
Here are the latest updates that we have to share. Please continue to check back in to ctcumc.org for updates on how to help our brothers and sisters in need.
At this time, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is assessing the “what, where and when” needs for all areas affected by Irene. Their assessment includes the work to be done by volunteer Early Response Teams (ERT) - the crews that responds to disasters within the first 30 days – and Volunteers In Missions (VIM) – the teams that come after the initial debris and other things are removed to begin and continue rebuilding a disaster zone. We will hear from the disaster area UMCOR/VIM contact soon, and when we do, we will post what can be done on www.ctcumc.org and send out info blasts via the E-link/e-news of the conference. Thank you so much for your concern for those who are affected by disasters. Right now, we ask for two things: one, pray for those affected by Hurricane Irene; and two, consider giving to UMCOR US Disaster Response #901670.  Blessings!
Mostly all of the families of Possum Kingdom have evacuated to the homes of family and friends outside of the wildfire zone. At this point, the firefighters still have everything they need from all the donations received in response to the wildfires earlier this year. However, that could change quickly if the battle to extinguish the fires goes on much longer. Rev. Laraine Waughtal, Central Texas Conference (CTC) disaster response coordinator, Rev. Kyland Dobbins, CTC mission experience coordinator, and CTC Disaster Preparedness personnel will continue to monitor this disaster and will be in touch with local authorities from Possum Kingdom for any ways our CTC family of faith can help. Right now, we ask for two things: one, pray for those affected by the wildfires of Possum Kingdom; and two, consider what you would do and need if you lost your home to a fire, and be ready to do just that for these victims.

*Rev. Dobbins is the CTC’s Mission Experience Coordinator. kylanddobbins@ctcumc.org