How to Help

Good_Samaritan_(Watts)Our country has been pounded—fires to the left of us, hurricanes to the right. This is nothing new, although having so many disasters happen at the same time sure makes it seem that way. As a Christian, my initial response is, how can I help?

The first thing we can do is pray. For one, prayer is something we can do right away, and keep on doing as long as the situation demands. And two, prayer releases God’s power and resources—so much more than ours! Ask God how He would like you to pray for these things. Our first inclination is usually to pray the problems away, but God may have something different in mind. (That’s a topic for another post someday.)

As we pray, we need to respond in a physical way as well. James wrote,

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:15-17)

We may choose to travel to the place the disaster took place. Many churches send teams into disaster areas, to distribute donated goods, provide help cleaning up and rebuilding, and to just lend a caring ear and a hug. Or, we may choose to stay home and make a donation to a relief organization. The question then becomes, which one?

There has been a lot of negative press about the American Red Cross lately. It seems that they may not be as wonderful as they’d have us believe. Evidence suggests that much of the money donated never reaches the people it’s intended to help.

On the other hand, an article in USA Today points out that church groups and Christian relief organizations quietly provide the bulk of the resources—such as food and clothing, money, and workers—needed for recovery. So if you want to donate, do it through the church—either your local body or a parachurch organization such as Samaritan’s Purse or Convoy of Hope. FEMA suggests donating at NVOAD.org, described in the article as the “National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the alliance of volunteer organizations that are helping FEMA channel disaster assistance into the affected areas.” Faith-based groups make up about 75% of the member organizations.

I highly suggest that you click on over to USA Today and read

Faith groups provide the bulk of disaster recovery,
in coordination with FEMA.

Then share this news with your friends. This is the church being the body of Christ. Christians don’t often receive such positive reporting in the media.

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