Quick Help

Last week, I wrote about how we are still dealing with immediate rescue efforts in the Bahamas and still not asking for recovery supplies. They are encouraging us to give money that can quickly be converted to whatever they need. We are still much in prayer for the people of the Bahamas.

The ink was still drying on that article when I received a message from Ron Toole, our district disaster coordinator. A plane at the Ocala airport was being refueled and readied for a flight to the Bahamas. Specifically, they needed diapers, formula, baby wipes, baby food, and water purifiers. Could we get supplies to them in the next 24 hours? The appeal went out to all the churches in the Pensacola district, but I watched responses come in stating there wasn’t enough time to scramble and get the much-needed supplies together.

However, I knew that our missions committee at Shalimar UMC operates a “special requests” fund to handle those types of unforeseen requests, so I call Pete Peters, our missions chair, and quickly agreed this would be a good use of funds. My second call was to Mary Jane Robertson, who heads up Blessings For Children and skilled at identifying needs and acquiring items for children to include diapers. Within minutes, she arrived to pick up the church credit card, and an hour or so later, she returned with a carload of supplies. The next day, a truck and trailer from another church were at our doorstep to take Ocala supplies. We were one of only two churches that responded to this appeal for supplies, along with a third church that offered a truck and trailer.

I thank God that we can come together as a church to do His will, sometimes in ways, we never could foresee. I am grateful that the church entrusts us with the funds to do this and allows us to act swiftly. I am thankful for our Methodist connection, which enables us to communicate quickly and cooperate fully with other congregations to do what we could not do alone. We are at our best when we rely on each other to do our part and allow others to pitch in.
In the upcoming weeks and months, we will ask people to help support disaster relief efforts in Panama City and the Bahamas. We could take teams to help tarp or re-tarp roofs in Mexico Beach or send a team of relief workers to the Bahamas. Whatever opportunity arises, I am glad to be a part of the United Methodist Church (and Shalimar in particular) to work together for good.
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Brian Dale

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