Category: Disaster Response
NEW HORIZONS, February 2018: “We know that God calls us to do our work with devotion, and we want to spread the gospel where God puts us … Our goal is to be present and minister … “
by David Nakhla, OPC Short-Term Missions Coordinator (January 18, 2018) David Nakhla, Joel King, Bill Welzien, Bob Keys, Kathy Keys at Mallory Square in Key West, FL For the past two days, Regional Disaster Response Coordinator Joel King, Deacon Bob Keys, and I have been in Key West, Florida, to assess the status of post-Hurricane Irma disaster response efforts. We
Thank you to all of you who have expressed interest in traveling to Puerto Rico to help with disaster relief. THANK YOU for this desire and willingness to go. It’s wonderful. What a blessing! How to respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico is proving to be difficult to figure out . . .
NEW HORIZONS, December 2017: “We don’t want to be known as ‘OPC Building and Construction,’” Sumpter said. “We want to be known as ‘OPC Building and Ministry.’… Our number one goal is not to restore a house, but to reach out in Christ’s name . . .”
Thank you for coming and pulling out sheetrock, spraying vinegar and mold control, pulling out nails, demolishing bookcases, packing, cleaning, running errands, moving furniture, sweeping, repairing sheetrock . . .
Helpless is the word that comes to mind as we consider today’s topic of disasters – commonly called ‘natural disasters.’ As Christians, we must refuse to resign to feelings of helplessness and must instead stand in the great promises and instructions of our great shepherd, King Jesus – who has not left us helpless . . .
Members of the Presbytery of New Jersey would like to see individuals and teams visit Puerto Rico to bring encouragement and to assist in outreach opportunities. There are many occasions to point to the true hope found in Jesus Christ as many are wracked with despair over their circumstances . . .
The conversation became an occasion for our Christian friends to testify how God has been helping them through their flood recovery. These kinds of conversations happen regularly and God continues to open doors for ministry and outreach through our hurricane recovery and relief efforts . . .
The Lord has already seen fit to use this storm for Pastor Bill Welzien and others to witness to neighbors and friends further, and our hope continues to be that the Lord would see fit to use this time to call others unto Him . . .
Because of the work that we were able to do on behalf of our neighbors, the reputation of our works of service and our church have risen significantly. We are praying for many opportunities to invite neighbors to worship the Lord and visit us at Christ the King OPC . . .
David Nakhla, OPC Disaster Response Coordinator, was recently interviewed on the radio about his role as the OPC’s Disaster Response Coordinator, and the OPC’s relief work in response to the 2017 hurricanes . . .
This is exactly what we want our outreach to look like — sharing the work with a family, combined with generosity in the name of Christ . . .
The team was able to finish with the debris at Pastor Bill Welzien’s house, do work at members Doug and Priscilla Weeks’ house, and at the home of a friend of Bill’s. This friend, who doesn’t attend Keys OPC, was overwhelmed with the support shown to him and came to church the following Sunday . . .
With no power, cell, internet, and unpredictable water…life has completely changed for this young family of seven and all in their community. It’s like civilization stepped backwards 100 years . . .
I praise the Lord that none of our church members have suffered any property loss in these fires, despite several close calls. Now we begin the work in trying to help our community rebuild and especially minister to our fellow saints from other congregations in the area who have suffered much loss . . .
Click here to print a color or black and white Disaster Response poster to display at your church!
After four days and and still little news to report out of Puerto Rico, we are concerned. We are not assuming that “no news is good news.” Please be in prayer for the 3.4 million inhabitants of this island, and in particular, those from our churches there . . .
Ellen wrote: “Three angels named Jeff, Rick, and Kenley came over today. They left us delightfully encouraged, prayed over, and feeling rescued. God knew what I needed more than I did. Jesus blessing to you all.”
The debris that is scattered everywhere is overwhelming to see. The sheer volume of the debris is substantial, as most trees across the Keys are either down or stripped bare. There is much work to be done in the community . . .
“… it’s a huge deal. Huge.” To her, the pastor-led volunteer group was a gift from heaven . . .
What a great day this was with the team from Michigan and the Haitian Hurricane Heroes. Thanks for your prayers! Tomorrow we will be working in our neighborhood, The Shores. Please pray for opportunities to share the hope of Christ . . .
Together we have entered homes and businesses inundated by flooding to tear out and clear away ruined furniture and household belongings, walls, floors, carpeting, cabinets, and plumbing. We are endeavoring to offer solace and support in the name of Jesus to families, both within and without the household of faith, who have been devastated by this disaster . . .
Good morning from Naples on what will most likely be, simply put, a day of enormous calamity here in Southwest Florida . . .
What seems like an impossible task that can lead one to despair can suddenly become bearable when the Lord’s people respond to the call to serve one another generously and without reserve. God has been good . . .
It has been surreal here the last few days not knowing where this storm will make landfall: People are on edge all over town as I’ve seen loud parking lot arguments, road rage incidents, and shopping-cart-rage incidents in stores! Some gas stations have long lines down the street, others are completely empty because they have no more gas . . .
Reports from around Haiti are encouraging. There was some flooding in the north, but nothing as bad as people expected. We are grateful for your prayers and the fact that the path of the storm was well to the north of Haiti . . .
We are OK. The structure of our church didn’t suffer any damage. All the members are OK, to my knowledge. The only problems are: electricity and water. We praise the Lord that He preserved us from that huge Hurricane . . .
Hurricane Harvey, now a Category 3 hurricane, is expected to make landfall in Southeastern Texas on Saturday morning around Corpus Christi. Just to its east in Houston there are two OPC churches, an OPC Bible Study work, other sister churches, and more than 2 million people . . .
The Disaster Response Coordinator for the Presbytery of the South during Hurricane Matthew is Deacon Tim Phillips . . .
We both knew, without exchanging words, that now the veil from her heart is removed. That she is free for the first time in her life. That Jesus has embraced her and given her a hope beyond understanding. Now she understands the reason for the love poured out on her since she arrived . . .
While the OPC does not have plans to pursue its own disaster response efforts in the region, the Committee on Diaconal Ministries has sent an initial gift of $10,000 to the PCA Mission to North America Disaster Response Ministry – who are hard at work ministering to affected PCA families and others in Louisiana . . .
The Committee on Diaconal Ministries has engaged Rev. Al Tricarico to participate in its investigation of how best to minister to refugees long-term both in Word and deed . . . To date, the OPC has received over $31,000 in gifts designated for refugee relief . . .
Thanks be to God for providing strength and safety to both teams and for all the work that was accomplished. I personally was excited to return to Yamamoto after five years to see the progress made in recovering from the tsunami and the impact the Nozomi Center has in meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the community . .
We started the second week off by worshiping with our beloved Japanese brothers and sisters in Sendai. It felt like such a great honor coupled with much humility to worship with such dedicated believers . . .
We may not be able to understand the ultimate reasons for the catastrophe that is unfolding before our eyes, but ought we not view this, in part, as an opportunity set before us by divine providence to do what we can to minister to these refugees, especially fellow believers who are being persecuted for their faith . . .
Pete Onnink, a carpenter by trade and volunteer youth leader at Covenant OPC in Orland Park, IL, saw the request for Hurricane Sandy relief work (ongoing almost 3 years after the storm!) and thought it would make a great youth trip . . .
Many in the church have been asking if the OPC has a conduit for participating in bringing relief to those who have been affected by the earthquakes that have devastated the country of Nepal. It is an encouragement to see the diaconal care and concern exhibited by OPC members as they persistently desire to demonstrate compassion towards those who are
We consider our brothers and sisters in Christ from OPC mission teams ‘missionaries’ instead of just ‘volunteers’ because of their dedicated service to bring Gospel to the town of Yamamoto by loving the locals in a tangible way . . .
The darkness of our once busy neighborhoods was so complete. The silence, where once there were friends, so depressing. We felt so alone. It all took a change when the truck came around the corner. The truck stopped in front of my house. A young lady from Virginia, with a beautiful smile, offered me dumplings. I cried at her kindness.
A fierce tornado recently destroyed the homes of the parents and sister of OPC Missionary to Uganda, Eric Tuininga. The F2 tornado struck their small town in eastern North Carolina at 4:00 pm on Monday, April 7, 2014 . . .
It has been 18 months since Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard of the USA, wreaking havoc in its wake. The OPC was able to respond to this disaster, thanks to our on-site coordinators and many other volunteers who contributed their time and skills to help OP families and their friends and neighbors deal with the aftermath of the storm
Today marks the third anniversary of the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s recorded history. On Friday, March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM JST, a triple disaster was set in violent motion. Most of us here in eastern Japan witnessed the devastating power as our homes shook, cracks appeared in walls and ground, and the sky turned a sickening color. Fewer
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for reflecting on the Lord’s goodness to us over the past year. His gift of goodness does not always come to us wrapped in the most obvious of packages. It does not always come painted with colorful flowers and glowing sunshine. Rather, we may find that we have to peer through the dark clouds and
Following the news of the destructive tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest on Sunday, November 17, 2013, we were thankful to hear from the Presbytery of the Midwest that our OPC churches and congregations had escaped harm . . .
We have been once again stunned by the magnitude of devastation wreaked by a natural disaster, as one week ago Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) swept across the Philippines. Consistent with the response of the church to past disasters of such magnitude, there seems to be a ground-swell of longing to help . . .
This storm and the kids coming to help our church family, I believe brought us all together, two churches that needed help. We learned so much about each other during this heartbreaking time. We all learned what gifts God has given each of us. God has given us at Faith Bible a wonderful new beginning . . .
Stephanie Avellino wanted to help. “This one seemed to hit close to home,” she said, referring to Super Storm Sandy. Members in her extended family had been impacted by the hurricane. But as a small business owner herself, Stephanie wanted to reach out to Shore businesses affected by Sandy . . .
Weather continues to be a challenge for residents of the Jersey Shore. At this moment the area is bracing for Winter Storm Nemo (the lost little clown fish? the rogue submarine captain of Verne’s imagination?), expecting between four to 10 inches of snow and moderate coastal flooding . . .
It was the “holy chaos” created by the early church’s zeal for mercy ministry that occasioned the first diaconate. It has been a similar zeal for ministries of mercy in the OPC, and the potential chaos that can accompany it, that has occasioned the need for a denominational Committee on Diaconal Ministries . . .
by Patricia E. Clawson, Editorial Assistant, New Horizons From the January 2013 issue of New Horizons New Jersey Site Coordinator Charlie Farrell Hurricane Sandy hit America’s northeast coast on October 29, leaving devastation on Long Island in New York and on the barrier islands and bay in New Jersey. The storm surge flooded homes and churches, shoved houses off their foundations,
Please don’t stop praying for us here in metropolitan New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It is one month ago today that the storm hit with its greatest force (and for the duration of most of that day). While the rest of the country gears up for Christmas, we are still surrounded by clean-up and house re-building efforts
Those of us on Team #2 have felt that the Lord has indeed deemed it His will for us to spend 14, 24, or 28 days away from our loved ones to help a community of believers reconstruct a physical building to serve as a church where God’s word can be proclaimed and His children brought to a knowledge of
While it’s one thing to acknowledge that God is sovereign in all matters great and small, good and bad, it’s a whole other thing to be able to rest in that under such difficult circumstances. And this is where the church must step in. We must reach out to our brother and sister in need and minister to them .
It is hard to believe that we are now in the third week of events connected with Hurricane Sandy’s destructive march through New Jersey and New York beginning on October 29, 2012. The experience is a kind of corporate bereavement process with the successive stages of shock, disorganization, and reorganization . . .
Two weeks now have passed since the beginning of the reconstruction of the Reformed Church of Japan in Ishinomaki Japan by Team #1. The efforts of the team have been very effective as all the demolition required has been completed . . .
Monday evening, October 29th, 2012, consistent with the predictions of many weather forecasters, Hurricane Sandy took her left turn and headed west directly for the Jersey Shore. The OPC is still recovering from the effects of that blow . . .
What a joy it was to help one of our Long Beach families who had moved in with the wife’s parents here in Malverne. Both of her octogenarian parents have serious health issues – and they were without power. We were able to install a large generator with power enough to provide heating and lights for them. It was a
Our Lord is master of all! We rely on His help in all things. Please pray for the many who are hurting from this natural disaster and that we might know how best to minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ and to bring that cup of cold water in the name of Christ to those who don’t yet
We are so thankful for the prayers of God’s people, asking that the Lord raise up skilled workers to go to Japan to aid the church there in the refurbishment of the Ishinomaki Chapel. This will be the 3rd construction project that the OPC has undertaken this year . . .
The recently constructed Nozomi Center, which was built to serve the people of Yamamoto, Japan, following the Tsunami of March 2011, has been open since May 5, 2012 — and now it has its own website, too . . .
In God’s providence, the OPC has been ministering in Japan, and specifically in Sendai, for at least the past 50 years. As such, when the tri-fold disasters happened in the Sendai area of Japan, there was little question whether the OPC would be participating in the response to this disaster . . .
It was a wonderful ceremony starting with a worship service and singing praises to the Lord and all praying together that this center would indeed be as David Nakhla said “a launching pad for ministers, church members, and teams from all over Japan and beyond to come and to spread the love of Christ, both in tangible expressions and in
While the Japanese people paid attention to the tsunami warning, it seems they need to hear the warning, and the promise, of the gospel. Edie had mentioned that her students all notice that it is Christians that are helping with the relief. No doubt other people notice as well . . .
Most important we have the confidence and belief that this is God’s plan for us in our journey and His plan for the Japanese people in and around Yamamoto. We strongly feel the Holy Spirit has worked in all of us a good thing by being here and we will continue to pray that the Spirit will work in the
The Lord truly does continue to hold us in his hand. We rejoice in that we all remain healthy and anxious to complete the tasks that we believe the Lord has set before us. This is a tremendous opportunity for witnessing to this area . . .
Due to the fact that building material is twice the price in Japan as in the US, our intention was to ship the building materials from the US. Little did we know of the difficulties we would run up against in attempting to order, pack, and ship this material to Japan. Yet, God has been faithful to raise up just
For a Christian visiting Japan’s capital city of Tokyo, one of the most heartbreaking sights is also one of the city’s biggest attractions. The famous Sensoji Temple draws some thirty million visitors each year, including throngs of Buddhists futilely worshipping Kannon—the purported “goddess of mercy” . . .
We hope to see the material arrive in Japan by early November. At that time, we will need teams of skilled builders to perform the work. We are looking for electricians, plumbers, tapers, tilers, and carpenters. We anticipate a couple of months of work. This is a wonderful opportunity for those with these skills to serve in this kingdom work
HURRICANE IRENE (2011): I think to see how Hurricane Irene touched, affected and impaired lives was what really did me in. People. Real people. Fathers, mothers and children. Families losing everything . . . . To see it on such a magnitude is an experience one does not soon forget . . .