Have you ever been in a hurricane? Maybe so. I know I have. I was ten years old at the time and lived in South Florida. Hurricane Cleo hit us head on. It had already passed through the Caribbean, leaving wreckage in its wake in such places as Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. By the time the eye of the hurricane hit Ft. Lauderdale, it had weakened to a category two storm. Still, it was strong enough to raise the blood pressure of those who decided to ride it out, and by the time it was gone a few hours later, the city had suffered tremendous damage.
You can imagine my thoughts, then, as I listened to the news about the Bahamas last week. Hurricane Dorian didn’t just hit the Bahamas; it slammed these beautiful islands. It didn’t just visit for a few hours; it packed a suitcase and decided to stay a couple of days. It didn’t just cause damage; what was done can only be described by words like “catastrophic” and “cataclysmic.” And then, of course, it took a tour up the east coast of the United States.
Can you imagine the discouragement and despair of looking out one day and seeing the place you call home suddenly destroyed by something beyond your control? Can you imagine the sense of pain you would feel if someone you loved died as a result of a storm? On the other hand, can you imagine what a sense of encouragement it would be if people you didn’t even know offered a helping hand?
One of the things I love most about the United Methodist Church is the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). This agency of the United Methodist Church is always one of the first organizations to be on site when disaster hits anywhere in the world. They are always among the leaders in helping to provide relief to those whose cities, homes and even families have suffered great loss.
Personally, I believe UMCOR is the single best place to make a special offering. Partly for the reasons I’ve already mentioned, but also because every single penny that is given goes directly to meet human needs. All administrative costs are covered through what are called “Conference Apportionments.” Whether you give $10, $100 or $1,000, you can be sure that all of it will go to providing food, clothing, shelter, medical needs or one of the other multitude of ways that will make a positive difference in people’s lives.
I want to invite you to join Carol and me in going above and beyond your regular giving to the church to make a special offering to UMCOR. To make sure your gift goes directly to help those who have been victims of Hurricane Dorian, you can simply make out your check to Dunwoody United Methodist Church and designate it to “Disaster Relief” in the memo line. We will take it from there and make sure it gets to the victims of Dorian.
Won’t you be a source of encouragement to those who need it most? I pray you will!