September 15, 2018
These past 2 weeks you have been very generous and through HCC you have given over $10,000 to go towards relief efforts from hurricane Harvey and Irma. These funds were immediately sent to our Foursquare Denomination’s Disaster Relief Department. The following is a report we just received:
Foursquare Disaster Relief operates as a ministry of the National Church Office. This means that all administrative costs for Foursquare Disaster Relief are part of the annual operating budget approved each year.
We’re pleased to let you know that 100% of the donations given to specific disasters go directly to provide for the direct needs of the relief efforts in the field of these designated disasters. Attached is our latest update to the executive team that shows how our churches are responding to their communities.
In our initial, rapid response we send funds directly to our Foursquare local churches for them to meet immediate, real needs. In addition, we partner with various ministries to help them distribute donated items (food, linens, cleaning supplies, etc.), while most items are donated there is still the expense to get them into devastated areas.
Things remained busy on coordination and communication today with District Offices and local church leaders.
1) Through email and phone conversation today with Chris Wilcox (Disaster Relief Liaison for the Southeast District) the level of damage and need in communities where our churches are located continues to be limited rather than substantial as had been expected. Chris indicated that local churches are actually handling most of the need locally. I have extended the assistance of all available personnel and resources to the Southeast District who has in turn passed this information on to local leaders. We will continue our partnership in monitoring the status there for opportunities or needs of deployment and financial assistance to communities and churches in the district affected by Hurricane Irma.
1) General items of note…Volunteer teams continue to muckout homes in all three of our target communities. People with no friends or family in the area are finding the Foursquare Church ready to serve. Today I heard of a 70 year old man in Vidor, TX who was helped by the Foursquare team in Hitchcock. I also read the story of an 80 year old woman with no one to help her getting her home mucked out by Foursquare volunteers in Angleton.
2) Life Church, Katy, TX – Teams continue mucking out homes in their communities. An FDR task force is on scene to assist the church, provide chaplains, and consult with the local church for long-range planning and setting objectives and goals. Some improvements and reorganization took place with set up of the distribution center as Pastor Sam and his leader have identified this as part of their long-range plan. FDR-US is also helping with follow up on volunteer submission forms coming through the Foursquare Disaster Relief website.
3) Life Foursquare, Angleton, TX – FDR-US Advance Lead chaplains Jason and Shanna Maloney arrived yesterday. The first thing Pastor Cere talked to me about today is what a great help they have been to his church already. The congregations of Life Foursquare Church (Pastor Cere Muscarella) and LaVida Regional (Pastor Alex Monteleagra) continue to serve hundreds of meals per day, except for on Wednesdays. This will continue until people can return to their homes. Volunteers are arriving to assist in this community. Cere offers classes to the volunteers through training their church received from Samaritan’s Purse last year during a flood. They learned during that experience that the greatest impact they can have after mucking out homes is to identify people in their community who are uninsured for floods and provide material goods when the rebuilding process begins. Cere says that within 2-3 weeks mucking out time will have been completed and a new phase of rebuilding will begin.
4) Gulf Coast Foursquare Church, Hitchcock, TX – Pastor John Elliot and Mike Kidwell continue to schedule small, specialized teams with construction/demolition experience to help in Hitchcock and surrounding communities. Today he sent the team into Vidor, TX where an older man with no help was trying to muck out his home which had been under eight feet of water. This meant extensive demolition work – the entire house, floors, ceilings, and wall had to be stripped down. It was by far the worst case they’ve assisted with thus far. John says his church will also assist people with no insurance in his community during the rebuilding phase. Our volunteers are also helping with some final clean-up issues at the Elliots home and the camp ground which continues to be worked on with the long-range goal of being able to house more volunteers as phase two (rebuilding) begins.
The pastors have all expressed their gratitude for the help of Foursquare Churches who are volunteering teams, and our FDR-US chaplains and workers who are helping in every church with a number of things including assessments, strategic planning, manpower with the volunteer teams, and providing ministry and prayer to the congregations during service times.
Jason Reynolds, Director
Foursquare Chaplains International and Foursquare Disaster Relief US