Christians Respond in Big Ways to Mid-South Tornado Zones
CEN Commends Christians for Tornado Response, and Offers These Updates.
Families, Churches, Schools, & Businesses Recovering from Tornado Crisis
Four States in Mid-South Benefit from Christian Recovery Efforts
(PHOENIX, AZ) February 9, 2008 - Christian Emergency Network (CEN) calls upon Christians to continue responding to those affected by the recent path of tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky during the overnight hours of February 5. Through praying for specific needs, caring in tangible ways, and sharing the comfort and gospel of Jesus Christ, Christians are astoundingly effective in these kinds of crisis situations long after the media lights have gone out.
With close to 60 now dead, residents still unaccounted for, electricity out, looters, and many communities affected, all U.S. believers are likely to be connected in some way to the tragedy - through relatives, church affiliations, or business and ministry contacts. "We have the privilege of coming alongside people on behalf of Jesus Christ," states Mary Marr, Founder/Chairman of CEN.
Many CEN ministry and church partners are on the scene, and are in need of prayer for strength, biblical insight, and supplies. Marr continues, "We can help these partners by rallying Christians to pray-care-share. For so many years, we, as believers, have watched events unfold on TV but have not been prompted on how to respond, even from many states away. Nor have we been ingrained with a biblical perspective on crisis events of this magnitude. It's a privilege to now help us all to step up to the plate, bringing honor and glory to God's name."
Marr goes on, "Be sure YOU are involved in the recovery, for the sake of the gospel and God's name. “Be There" by praying specifically, caring through tangible efforts and volunteering with Bible-based ministries and churches, and by sharing the comfort and gospel message of Jesus Christ, which is so new to so many." This is the heralding call of CEN and its many ministry partners.
CEN Partner Updates:
- CEN lead partner The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) Rapid Response Team have trained chaplains on site praying and caring for spiritual and emotional needs at hospitals and other recovery sites. Chaplains arrive from all across the nation on behalf of the BGEA in these types of emergencies. Jack Munday, head of the Rapid Response Team, remarks,"The Rapid Response team began after September 11, 2001, to come alongside churches in times of disaster, provide chaplains to disaster zones, and train churches ahead of crisis. We also are very involved with the military. Combining our biblical and clinical training has proven very useful."
- CEN lead partner The Salvation Army (TSA) is on the ground at several sites providing meals and support to First Responders and those affected, and is meeting emotional and spiritual needs. Highly trained and experienced TSA officers see many people come to know the Lord in these high-stress crisis events. TSA is being included within some Christian and secular media coverage of the response efforts; pray that their platform to give the gospel appropriately will be granted, and that even those hearing of their efforts will respond with prayer, donations, and volunteer efforts when possible. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year, long after other crisis response organizations have left the scene.
- Love Worth Finding (LWF), a Christian ministry formed by the late Adrian Rogers in Memphis, TN, is just 75 miles from Jackson, TN, where Union University was hit hard. The LWF staff and their immediate relatives are known to be safe, and now need our prayers as they help others.
- Union University journalism professor Michael Chute says, "It's a miracle of the Lord more people weren't injured." As many as 3,300 students had been on campus before classes ended that day. The men's and women's residential complexes were almost completely destroyed. Local churches mobilized buses to take student to host homes after the tornado. Pray for these host families and university students as they seek to meet spiritual and physical needs. And, thank God for his provisions through local churches.
- Hope Force International (HFI), a non-project organization of individuals who use their expertise in volunteer capacities at crisis locations around the world, has a strong Reservists division that comes alongside The Salvation Army and other groups to serve. It's been noted that on numerous occasions in 2007 and now in 2008 that shortly following HFI disaster training, a disaster has occurred in that same local area. Thus, newly qualified Reservists put their training to immediate use. Jack Minton, president/CEO of HFI, states, "It is our conviction that the principles taught and caught are being lived out in a tangible expression of God's loving heart to the afflicted." Pray that HFI Reservists in the mid-south states will be equipped for the recovery task, and that God will meet the needs of their own families while they are away serving.
- Russellville Bible Baptist Church in Atkins, AR, began conducting funeral services Friday. "It's extremely difficult to cope with," Pastor Ron Kauffman said in an interview with National Public Radio. CEN encourages Christians to pray for their denomination's churches in the affected areas, and suggests contacting their denomination's national disaster relief division to specific prayer requests and needs.
- CEN lead partners who have internet ministries that experience high traffic in crisis times are www.WhenDisasterStrikes.com (part of Campus Crusade for Christ, International) and www.NeedHim.org. The first offers a clear and simple presentation of the gospel with a follow-up option, and the 2nd does the same with a phone contact as well (1-888-NeedHim). Pray that both will be effective in the coming days.
Each person can now take steps toward being a "Ready Christian," equipped for crisis events and aware of how best to respond on behalf of Jesus Christ. Look over what CEN suggests at Be Ready, and start today.
CEN also asks each Christian to join in prayer for the ministries, churches, and needs mentioned in the updates above. Overall, pray for a bold outpouring of God's love and Truth.
CEN invites stories of being "Light" in the midst of any local crisis. "God often uses crises events in lives to open hearts to the gospel," claims Mary Marr. Stories with a prayer-care-share piece to them can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.