My friend cried off and on every day for a week following the Aug. 10 tragedy in Maui’s historic town of Lahaina.
She lives in Alabama and had experienced the beauty of the area for the first time a little more than a month prior.
“We are all so devastated,” she said, sharing the pain she’s feeling as a result of the wildfire and how hard it is to be thousands of miles away from family members who live on the island.
Her family and the new friends she met there are safe, but they are connected to the devastation on many levels. Several lost acquaintances, their homes and some businesses.
While we can’t really grasp what it’s like to be living through it all, many can empathize, like my friend, because of close connections to the state of Hawaii or maybe because of having endured another type of natural disaster.
And we can all look for ways to help and keep the people of Hawaii in our prayers, especially the families of the more than 110 people who have died.
At press time, no reports of church damage had surfaced and much of the focus remained on rescue and recovery efforts.
As new DR projects launched in Hawaii, existing work continued on the opposite side of the U.S. in New England following the devastating flooding from the Aug. 8 storms.
Leaders from the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions are working with officials of other state conventions and the North American Mission Board to develop a long-term strategy to help churches get back on their feet. Churches in Vermont especially need assistance.
More details will be available soon about how Alabama Baptist churches, missions teams, disciple-making groups and others can partner with churches in New England.
The same is true with needs that will surface in Hawaii.
With mid-August through October historically being the busiest part of hurricane season, DR volunteers also will need to be prepared for what could happen in the Gulf or on the Atlantic seaboard in the coming weeks.
The Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering is a great way to help with each of these and future DR efforts. A portion of the funds received goes to Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief work.
Another way to make a difference is to go through DR training and carve out time to serve when disasters strike. Learn more at sbdr.org.
Those serving in DR like to say they are “giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name” and when you watch them at work, they certainly represent all of us well in the effort.