Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Usually, we are honored when someone chooses our name as a namesake.
It is not so when it is a Hurricane.
As I write, Hurricane Harvey continues to batter the South Texas Coastline near Corpus Christi, as another namesake, “the body of Christ” braces for a catastrophic weather event - the likes it has never seen.
The entire Gulf Coast will feel the effects of this massive storm.
It is likely that Texas, as well as Southwest Louisiana, will feel the effects of Hurricane Harvey for days to come.
As you know, it has been just over a year since south Louisiana experienced flood waters of epic proportions.
Some of our neighbors have not returned to their homes and volunteers continue to help in the name of Jesus Christ.
Yet - here we go again.
If you have not already prepared, please do so ASAP. It is likely that parts of already saturated Louisiana will experience torrential rains.
I am asking congregations across the state to pray fervently for all those in Harvey’s path and that we also respond in tangible ways with our financial gifts as we prepare to respond to the anticipated needs of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Louisiana and our neighbors in Texas.
Another way to help is to make cleaning kits, commonly known as flood buckets.
In the past, we have been on the receiving end of these as Conferences all across the connection have packaged them and sent them to Louisiana, in our time of need.
Now is our chance to return the favor.
The directions for making a kit are outlined by UMCOR and I encourage all churches to reach out to Rev. Laraine Waughtal, the Conference's new Director of Missional Engagement and Outreach. Her office is monitoring the storm hourly and can also assist with the distribution and collection of cleaning kits.
We are known for our resilience and our ability to respond generously and I trust that we will do so once again.
"Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you…..Don’t fear, I am with you.” Isaiah 43