Tornado Response in Oklahoma
Please read the article below from the Nazarene Headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas, concerning the relief effort in Oklahoma following the recent massive tornado:
Children and families held each other close today in thankfulness after yesterday’s massively destructive tornado ravaged Moore, Oklahoma. Though many of Moore’s 56,000 residents have lost most of their worldly possessions, people are expressing joy as they reunite with family members and learn that over 100 have been pulled from the rubble so far. Still, there are 24 confirmed deaths as a result of the tornado, including nine children, with a chance that the number will increase as rescue and recovery efforts continue.
Yesterday afternoon, the Church of the Nazarene started mobilizing relief efforts. Oklahoma City Trinity Church of the Nazarene has been designated the relief resource center for both the Southwest Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Districts. In addition to Moore, which is on the Southwest Oklahoma District, several towns on the Oklahoma District were also touched by tornadoes. Trinity initially opened its doors as an emergency shelter but now is receiving donations for efforts beyond its walls as it coordinates relief services through local Nazarene congregations and collaborates with organizations such as the American Red Cross and Heart to Heart International. They will also be coordinating volunteers to do cleanup as the days progress.
General Superintendent Stan Toler, former pastor of Trinity Church of the Nazarene, traveled to Moore today visiting the destruction zone as well as Nazarenes there. The pastor of the Moore Church of the Nazarene has been located and is safe, but the church structure has suffered significant damage: the steeple blown off, roof damage, and debris all over the churchyard.
At neighboring Norman Community Church of the Nazarene, three parishioners lost their homes. According to Pastor Brent Hardesty, the church is ready to respond to surround these families.
“We will be working with these three families but also want to be involved in the overall response,” Hardesty said.
This is the heart of many inside and outside the affected region. Churches in Arizona have sent over 800 crisis care kits to the scene. Closer to home, the Oklahoma District, West Texas District, and Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene have donated 135 cases of crisis care kits. Nazarenes around the world have donated money to tornado relief, and others have started to make plans to volunteer as a part of the clean up efforts.
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I think the beginning of Paul’s second letter to Corinth is appropriate for this situation. Paul says, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
We need to be a people of hope that offers hope to those who have been impacted by this storm. We will be gathering crisis care kits for the next three Sundays to send to Oklahoma for their relief efforts. If you want to give toward this ministry then we will be taking a special offering at the church for the next two Sundays. Continue to pray for the families who have lost loved ones and have lost their homes. Those interested in volunteering in cleanup efforts should register at Nazserve.org. Register under Oklahoma Tornado Relief and await further instruction as teams are allowed in.
we will honor those who have served our Country and also remember members of our church who have gone home to be with the Lord this past Church year. I will also start a new series of messages called “Going Deeper.” It is a study of the life of Moses.
Looking forward to worshipping the Lord with you….
Joy in Jesus!