Disaster Relief Working in Colorado
by: Stafford North | July 17, 2012
by Stafford North
The fires in Colorado, as with many natural disasters across the world, are not good news. The response of congregations and individuals to help churches and Christians there, however, is good news. While the extent of the damage is still being determined, Christians and their friends have certainly suffered much.
The email I received from Mike Baumgartner of the Disaster Assistance Mission in Lake Jackson, Louisiana, contained the good news that he and those who work with him were in Colorado Springs to help along side the Eastside Church of Christ. He reported that 350 homes had been destroyed and many others damaged. Baumgartner is getting volunteer help from Eastside, nearby Mountain View Church of Christ, and from other places as well. They help people clean up their property, provide meals, and hand out supplies. They will also have a free garage sale to which people bring house wares, small appliances, furniture, clothing, gardening supplies and other things to help those with great losses begin to get a fresh start.
He reported that his group had worked five disasters in the past fourteen months. The good news is that we have those among churches of Christ who are quick to rally our forces to help where it is needed. To contribute or be a volunteer with Baumgartner’s group, check their website at www.disasterassistancecoc.com.
The Disaster Relief Effort is another group among churches of Christ which responds to needs and they also are on the way to Colorado to help. This group, operating out of Nashville and with representatives of several congregations on their board, has responded to 378 disasters over the past twenty-one years. They can be reached at www.disasterrelief.org.
Both of these groups have locations on the web where you can get more information about them. Some smaller disaster relief groups also are at work in the church. As bad as the disasters are, they provide an opportunity to serve both members and those outside the body. And such service opens doors to reach those who are not Christians. Those studying the great spread of the early church note that a major reason for this growth was the assistance these Christians gave both to members and non-members as plagues swept across the Roman Empire. (See Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity, 73ff.)
We never want disasters to come, but when they do we should help those in need. This is what Christ taught us to do as we “love our neighbors,” but such help can, if handled well, provide open doors for us to spread the gospel. Every church should have a plan ready so that should a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, storm, accident, or other disaster strike, the person to take the lead is already designated and the resources at his disposal are ready.