Have you ever been at the point where you were scared to pick up the phone — knowing that the next call could be bad news? That feeling of dread is pretty powerful. All of us have faced that feeling at one time or another.
At Gleaning For The World, this situation is more common than you may think. The level of suffering in our world can be overwhelming at times with the increased occurrence of natural disasters and new levels of poverty all around us. The calls for help reach me every week.
This storm season began for me on Christmas Eve — a tornado in Dallas, Texas. Then, it was a tornado in Louisiana where 200 mobile homes were destroyed. Shockingly, the next tornado struck in Virginia just a few miles from our warehouse. Then came a one thousand year flood in Louisiana and Texas. Last Sunday an earthquake in Ecuador killed hundreds and caused major damage. Yesterday? Historic flooding in Houston, TX.
Yes, there are times when I don’t want to pick up the phone. Yet, I know that’s my calling and that you are counting on me.
The primary reason our phone rings after a natural disaster is because of our rapid response. We have agreements with major water distributors, for example, which allow us to access drinking water by the tractor-trailer load within minutes.
We had water in Texas and Louisiana being distributed to hurting families within hours of their catastrophe. As I write this letter, we are now moving drinking water into Houston as the floodwaters recede.In the wake of a disaster, I am often amazed to see many high profile “humanitarian aid” organizations rushing to make national media appearances and touting their work, when most will not begin to provide any practical help whatsoever for several days and weeks. I have always focused my attention on helping people first rather than putting on a show.People who are suffering do not need to wait days for water and supplies to be delivered. They need help immediately… and that is what we do. The reason we work so fast and so hard to relieve suffering is to allow churches to present God’s love and grace to people who have lost their homes, supplies and often their jobs. We make it a priority to distribute our supplies through local churches. They are familiar with their communities and know best how to meet needs efficiently.I have never seen as much destruction and suffering as we see right now. Japan’s earthquake was horrible, but the government officials in Japan worked fast to let us access resources in order to help the people. The earthquake in Haiti was beyond horrible, but we were there with one million meals within days of the disaster.In recent days, we have seen widespread damage and suffering among fellow Americans. They are our neighbors, friends, and people who need our help. When I called the Texas Volunteers in Disaster Relief this morning and told them who we were, the response was amazing. All the way across the United States their main contact for Emergency Management was waiting for us, knowing we could do what most consider impossible.
Their President said, “We were waiting for your call. We knew that if anyone could get here fast it would be Gleaning.”
Thank you for allowing me to represent you when fellow Americans need help. Thank you for standing with me financially so that we can help those who are hurting in a timely manner.
Although there are days when I would rather look the other way and get a break from the hectic pace, I promise you that I will not take the easy way out. Even if there are times when I dread the next call, I will answer it. I will answer it for you. I will answer it for those who are suffering.
Your partnership gives me the strength to take it one day at a time…one call at a time.
We are in the middle of storm season and more damage is expected. It continues with tornadoes this spring and likely more flooding. We will not stop and we will not sleep as long as people are suffering and need our help. It is what God called us to do, and by His grace, and your prayers and support, it will get done.