Monday, May 23, 2011

Response Update

It has been a busy quarter for us...and now more tornadoes. This past week i visited our partner hope church, in Madison AL, where the continued clean up from the F5 tornado 3 weeks ago is underway. We are recruiting teams to serve there through the summer...see the video in the previous post. Go to to give or to serve.

Now we are working with Maple Grove EFC and other local EFC's in Minneapolis to respond to the F2 tornado that hit yesterday. If you are located in that area and want to serve, email We do not have a local church conection pre-existing in Joplin, so we are evaluating with the District and other EFC's in the region if a response there is appropriate for us.
Meanwhile, we continue with teams in New Orleans this week, and our partnering with several EFC church plants now under way there. We'll be hosting teams there for the long term, as the needs from Katrina are still prevalent and to support ongoing church planting efforts.

Right now, I am in a van, part of a 3 vehicle, 13 person team heading into Ishinomaki, Japan to do a food distribution for several hundred people. Most are back in their flood damaged homes, and all have not had work for that last 2 months since the tsunami. We will also visit potential church plant works in Onogawa and other cities up the coast this week, and to make preparations for teams. Teams are greatly needed for July, August and beyond. For more information go to

Please consider giving. Please consider serving with us on a team. Please consider serving with us as a longer term staff role.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Video from Alabama

Crisis Response will be extending the Alabama Tornado Crisis Response until the end of the summer. So far, there have been great efforts to assist the people in the vicinity of the appropriately named Hope Church.

There is a brisk pace of requests for teams to serve there this summer, so get the details to send a team from your church and form your team. Watch this video to be encouraged and inspired!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Nations bring the Gospel to Haiti

While our responses to the recent tragedies in Japan and Alabama continue to unfold, ministry continues in New Orleans, Myanmar, Peru and Haiti. For updates go to

Four men gathered. Four prayers offered. Four languages spoken… Lingala, Czech, Creole and English. This was God at work in Haiti last week. I traveled to Haiti last week to connect with Pastor Ibengi, a missionary sent from the Congolese Evangelical Free Church, and a short-term mission team representing several churches from the Czech Republic. When Ibengi, Daniel ( both pictured) from Prague, and I visited Pastor Enoch, of Gressier, Haiti, to share and pray, it was a beautiful expression of God’s Kingdom, and His humor, since we found French, none of our native tongues, to be the most effective language for our conversations.

Pastor Ibengi arrived in the first week of April, and will be in Haiti until early June. He will be joined by Pastor Fidele, also from Congo later this month, also for a two month stay. Ibengi has been received as a ‘star’ of sorts, from another continent, yet seen as brother. They will spend time learning about the Haitian church and culture, which Ibengi described and “just like home”. They will also do some teaching and pastoral training, build relationships and determine if there would be a call from God for them to return to Haiti early next year to serve as long term missionaries.

Daniel was making his second visit to Haiti, and was talking about his 3rd and 4th in the future before he left. His team was an amazing blessing. Here’s a brief summary of all they did:

• They started the work on a new clinic facility near our house in Gressier. It is being constructed by our partner Haiti Health Ministries. HHM has been providing quality medical care in Haiti for over 20 years, but since the earthquake destroyed their facility, they have shared a small space with our neighboring ministry. They built a permanent latrine facility and helped get the building foundations started. Our prior week’s team actually laid the first block for the entire project. We are blessed to be able to help this partner in the long term project. Come and be a part of this work!

• Another ministry we have been serving is Macombre Christian School. The ’quake collapsed all the school structures, except the administration building, and a large concrete water tank. The tank was severely damaged and rendered unusable. So last year, we installed a temporary clean water system for the 800 kids. But we also had a dream to be able to restore and reinforce the tank and be able to supply safe water for the community as well. Through partnership with Valley Church (CA), funds were provided for the materials, yet we lacked the team with the needed skills to complete the work, until the Czechs arrived with several concrete and block tradesmen. More work will be needed, but the Czechs completed the bulk of the repair.

• They also continued to support the ongoing community shelter project. They did some work on the shelters, but did a lot of community relationship building, prayer and house blessings. Wes said we we're now approaching 900 shelters completed, that’s a roof over the heads of 4,500 people. (Pastor Stanislaus pictured.)

• They also had a man on team that came considering adoption through our ministry partner, Operation Love the Child Haiti (Jasmine’s orphanage for those who’ve served with us).

• And, they invested time in ongoing construction work on our house.

May God multiply the ministry in Haiti, and around the world through our international partner relationships.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Amazing Survival- AL Tornadoes

On Wednesday, April 27, the people of Madison, near Huntsville, Alabama, were awoken with the sound of tornado alarms. That day, they suffered not one, but four tornados.

“It was surreal,” said the pastor of Hope Church EFC in Madison, Andy Wulff (pictured below). “You would go out and talk to your neighbors between storms.” Hope Church suffered minor damage. In a congregation of about 200, only two houses suffered significant damage. The rest were missing a few shingles or a downed tree at most.

Nearby Harvest, however, was not so lucky. About noon they were hit by a F4 tornado. Melvin (left), who runs the Harvest Youth Club, said, “We have about 103 homes. Only a dozen are being lived in right now.” Harvest has been described as an urban-type community in a rural setting. The average income is $23-24,000. Ninety-nine% of the community is African American. Maybe 50% of the families have insurance.

“Most of our kids are on free or reduced lunch, if that gives you an idea of our community.” said Melvin. “80% of these houses are single-parent or non-traditional homes. Forty percent of our residents are over 60, yet we only had one fatality and 45 seriously injured.” He later clarified that the one fatality was over on a road outside of the main community.

His survival story is amazing. “We run a pre-school and weren’t able to get the kids home because the parents were locked down at work. At about noon, the tornado came. All the women were screaming and I was just praying, but it seemed very short.”

However short it seemed, the devastation was immeasurable. The ministry’s bus was originally in the parking lot. In the storm it flipped over and landed up right against the trees. Trailer frames were the only thing still intact on many trailers in the community. Trees were down all over. The town was almost completely devastated. Melvin’s house lost its garage and the back sustained some damage, almost untouched compared to some houses.

One witness said, “I was looking outside my window watching the other side of the street get hit.” When you walk through Harvest, you may see one house completely gone and the next almost untouched. Debris is everywhere.
“About 90 to 95% of our homes are devastated,” said Melvin. “The recovery is going to take a while. It’ll be interesting.”

Melvin's ministry is providing free meals all day and trying their best to supply basic needs. When asked what their immediate needs are, Melvin replied, “toiletries, tools, and diapers.”
Even with the devastation, Melvin has a hopeful outlook. “This will draw us as a community closer to God. God allows things to happen with the ultimate outcome that He gets the glory and it prepares us for the Kingdom.”

EFCA TouchGlobal Crisis response and Hope EFC have been sending teams serve this area since Saturday. Partnering with the local ministries to show the love of Christ. Join us!

(Written by Kendra Watterson, age 13, daughter of TG staffer...great job Kendra... ml)