Though a somewhat unwanted opportunity, nothing gives Christians a better occasion to be the hands and feet of Christ than tragedy-and tragedy is exactly what many experienced this past weekend as storms ripped through the South and Midwest, reducing entire towns to rubble and killing 39.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), one of several Christian groups reaching out to storm victims, is preparing to mobilize its disaster response team as it assesses the damage and needs of communities in Indiana and Kentucky.
"A hallmark of the LCMS disaster response ministry is to provide a long-term recovery and relief effort that helps people affected by disasters get back on their feet," said LCMS Indiana District President Rev. Dr. Daniel May.
Relief work will include everything from cleanup to counseling, but the LCMS is waiting for clear direction from local authorities before dispatching volunteer teams so that it can avoid duplication of efforts.
Meanwhile, the LCMS disaster response ministry is requesting prayers for affected families and volunteers while urging LCMS members and others to provide financial support. According to LCMS disaster response director the Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, the ministry has "stacks and stacks of water, and trucks full of items," so donations of material goods are not needed at this time.
Other Christian disaster response groups with representatives on the ground include The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Operation Blessing International, and World Vision.