Unfamiliar Territory

My family moved to Texas a little over seven months ago when I came on staff at Feed the Need Missions. Hailing from the Northwest, we’ve seen little in the way of natural disasters. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I could grasp some of what happens when catastrophe strikes.  

We were just closing on the sale of our home in Elgin, Texas when the tornado warnings began. By mid-afternoon, these escalated to shelter-in-place orders. I will never forget the eerie feeling I got when instructed to “hide in the center of my home and brace for possibility of impact.” What a jarring reality to be faced with for the first time.

Fortunately, nothing happened to our new home. But news quickly began to circulate about possible touchdowns. My mind raced. Were my neighbors and friends safe? How could we help? What should we do next? Just as I started to panic, the reassuring Spirit of the Lord showed up and Isaiah 41:13, which I had committed to memory, echoed in my mind:

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Help resonated with me. God was reminding me that He is the helper I need. It was scary, but I wasn’t alone. I remembered what was most important in those moments. I felt immediate relief in being reminded that I have all I need in Him, and He would surely guide me in what steps to take next.

Blessed to be a Blessing

It didn’t take long for those steps to be made clear. In the wake of the tornadoes, Feed the Need Missions was asked to deploy our Disaster Relief ministry arm to aid in the cleanup efforts. So, a small contingent of  faithful volunteers graciously came out the next Saturday to help. We set out to cook meals for those cleaning up.

That morning, a woman showed up and began to tell me the story of how her family had been impacted (I realized over the course of the day that when tragedy strikes, one of the biggest things needed is a listen ear and open heart). I listened as she shared, through tears of gratitude, how thankful she was that her sister and family was spared from the impact. What a clarifying experience disasters can be. They certainly remind us of what is most important.

She asked if I would like to join her in delivering food to her family and those impacted by the destruction. I realized that what this woman needed most wasn’t food—but to feel like she wasn’t alone. I smiled, recalling how just days earlier, I felt that same need, and the Lord filled it with His presence. Now, He was allowing me to be an extension of Him, by being present and bringing comfort to someone else in need.

You Gain When You Give

Nothing could have prepared my for the physical destruction I witnessed first hand. Homes lifted from foundations, structures obliterated into thousands of pieces. I witnessed a 20-foot beam from a home pierce through a garage, a car, a concrete slab and imbed itself four feet into the ground like a javelin. 

There were stories of fear, hurt, emptiness and pain. But even in this, God was providing hope and perspective. As I stood over the rubble of a 87-year-old man’s home, he said tearfully, “None of this stuff matters. What matters is what we choose to do with what God gives us!” His words continue to echo in my mind. It was incredible to see that as I poured out, my heart was softened, encouraged, and recentered. 

Get Involved in Disaster Relief

There’s an expression that I heard once that says,

“Crisis is opportunity dressed up in work clothes.”

When God is in the forefront of our lives, we have every reason to view challenges we face as opportunities to experience—and extend— the love of Christ. 

So here’s my question: Are you ready to see God move in lives across our communities? Are you ready to be an ambassador of God’s hope, peace and provision in the wake of crises? At Feed the Need Missions, we prepare all year long in the event that disaster strikes. Consider this your invitation to get involved with our Disaster Relief Team or as a volunteer at our weekly sites. I am confident you’ll find, as I did, that you’re just as blessed by the people you serve as they are by you. 
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