What can do and how do we respond?
Here are some excerpts from a recent devotional written by Chad Isenhart, director of Foursquare Disaster Relief, that addresses how we can respond in the face of overwhelming disaster.
"In this technological age, with global news literally at our fingertips, we have access to events happening around the world in real time as they are unfolding.There are positives and negatives to this reality. On one hand, we have an opportunity to be immediate responders when we encounter tragic news. On the other hand, in the time it takes for the news to hit us, it’s only moments until we hear about the next “breaking story.” The sheer volume of information alone can overwhelm us to the point of either despair over the state of the world or desensitizing us to the needs of those who are vulnerable or victims.
As Christians, we’re called to be people of compassion who love our neighbors. The story of the Good Samaritan reminds us that everyone is our neighbor, and there are no exceptions; everyone means everyone. Scripture tells us that whenever Jesus was moved with compassion, it always resulted in Him acting on another’s behalf.
The truth is, compassion, while rewarding, can also be exhausting! It’s easy for our hearts to grow weary of the images we see or what seems like ongoing repetition of the same stories on the news. If we’ve been actively involved in responding, we can wear out or, worse, burnout. In crisis, there’s often an immediate response that is fueled by adrenaline and hope. What happens when the crisis is averted, but the challenges drag on, the needs continue to grow, and many of the immediate responders have gone home?
Victims of disasters such as Hurricane Harvey are only at the beginning of what will take years to restore and rebuild. Crisis responders may have come and gone long before victims have even begun to reestablish a new sense of normal. How can we keep our hearts engaged when the disaster of the day has become yesterday’s news?
We can start by praying for a well of compassion in our own hearts that will never run dry.
Stay engaged, informed and involved by continuing to pray, give or go. Take care of yourself so you’ll be well equipped to care for and respond to the needs of others. Ask God to keep your heart soft and attentive to ongoing needs. Then, as He moves you with compassion, act in response to His leading.
Ephesians 2:10 says that God has prepared good works for all of us. While each of us individually can’t meet every need, together we can meet some, and every need counts because every one matters."
Isenhart, Chad. “Staying Engaged When Crises Are Ongoing | Devotionals.” The Foursquare Church, The Foursquare Church, 7 Sept. 2017,
www.foursquare.org/news/article/staying_engaged_when_crises_are_ongoing. Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.
Foursquare Disaster Relief has been progressively making their way into the areas touched by these recent disasters and providing relief in partnership with local Foursquare churches. FDR delivers food, clean water and supplies to disaster survivors in or near disaster zones.
FDR can even send trained first responders to assess damage and provide best practices for rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts using locally sourced materials.
While meeting physical needs, FDR also cares for spiritual needs, deploying crisis-trained chaplains to bring hope and healing to those who need it most.
In today's update, people are encouraged to pray for everyone affected by and still in the path of Hurricane Maria, and pray for people who lost loved ones in Mexico after the recent 7.1 earthquake. Pray for God’s peace in the midst of uncertainty, His protection from further damage or injury, His provision of funds and personnel for emergency response and rebuilding, and His presence in His people and through them to others.
Foursquare Disaster Relief is powered by donations from churches and individuals. Canadians can give financial aid to Foursquare Disaster Relief's work in these areas at the following link by marking your donation "FDR":