Battered sign at Keys OPC in Key West, Florida
A Triple Whammy!
by David Nakhla
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
Psalm 29:10 (ESV)
The United States has suffered a “Triple Whammy” thanks to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria hitting us within a month of one another! And not only the United States, but more specifically, the OPC. We have not seen this level of destruction since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast in 2012.
By and large, the OP churches in the affected regions are able to take this opportunity to minister both in Word and deed to their neighbors who are suffering. All of us around the country can participate in this, too, as the Lord enables, by donating financially to the work that is being done locally. Recent giving to OPC Disaster Response for this purpose has been overwhelming! What an encouragement to see so many gifts flowing in from so many churches, individuals, sister churches, etc. Praise the Lord!
But, disaster response also presents an opportunity to give in a very physical way. We, as individual believers, can come alongside people in their vulnerable state – put an arm around them, offer an ear to listen, or give them a shoulder to cry on. We can do this while using our energies and skills to assist them in rebuilding their lives and restoring order to what has become chaotic. Do you sense the call to volunteer? In light of this “triple whammy,” we need you! And the need will most likely continue long into the future. If you think you would like to help, please begin by contacting our Volunteer Coordinators directly:
Contact our Volunteer Coordinators
A Plea for Prayer for Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard, and this is of particular concern to the OPC because we have OP congregations there (two in the north, one in the south) that are part of the Presbytery of New Jersey. Pastor Tom Church of Immanuel OPC in Bellmawr, New Jersey, has been able to make contact with only one of the two churches in the north and has had no contact with the third, in the south.
After four days and and still little news to report out of Puerto Rico, we are concerned. We are not assuming that “no news is good news.” Please be in prayer for the 3.4 million inhabitants of this island, and in particular, those from our churches there.
OPC Volunteers in Naples
Make the News!
Hurricane Irma: Michiganders, Haitians unite
to clean up East Naples neighborhood
This article about Eric Hausler, Pastor. Christ the King OPC in Naples, Florida, and his Hurricane Irma relief team, was written by reporter Patrick Riley and published in Naples Daily News:
Led by a local pastor and Shores resident, five burly, soft-spoken Midwesterners and five lanky, Creole-speaking Haitian brothers worked hand in hand to clear hurricane-battered backyards of broken trees and bulky branches . . .
“Man, those guys are fast,” Bob Sullivan said, as he stepped out of his lanai and into his backyard where the group had just cleared a neighbor’s mangled tree.
The gated community has a lot of older residents who wouldn’t be able to clear their own yards, Nancy Sullivan said.
“You wouldn’t think that was a big, huge deal,” she said. “But it’s a huge deal. Huge.”
To her, the pastor-led volunteer group was a gift from heaven . . .
Scenes from Naples
Key West Status and Volunteer Needs
by Joel King, Regional Disaster Response Coordinator, Presbytery of the South
The debris that is scattered everywhere is overwhelming to see. The sheer volume of the debris is substantial, as most trees across the Keys are either down or stripped bare. There is much work to be done in the community.
We have an immediate need for:
- workers who can wield a chainsaw well
- laborers to clean up branches and other scattered debris
Additionally, vinyl siding that was stripped away from Pastor Bill’s house needs to be replaced, so there is a particular need for:
- skilled laborers who have experience working with concrete fiberboard (hardiboard) siding, scaffolding, and ladder work
Pray that we would meet with hearts that are softened and receptive in light of these events. We are zealous to be a light in the community during a seemingly dark and challenging time . . .
Scenes from Key West
This collage contains photo of substantial damage to home of Keys OPC member, Annie
Stories of Relief Work in Houston
by Mark Sumpter, Regional Home Missionary, Presbytery of the Southwest
A house that needed to be taken down to the studs due to flooding
Ellen’s house has been flooded nine times in the past; river on one side, a creek on the other. Our crew exposed walls behind the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, the water heater closet and helped raise furniture so it could both dry and be treated for mold.
“Three angels named Jeff, Rick, and Kenley came over today. They showed me where moisture is in the walls. They opened up walls without hurting cabinets which I thought impossible. They cleaned up and left us delightfully encouraged, prayed over, and feeling rescued. God knew what I needed more than I did. Jesus blessing to you all.”
Scenes from Houston
Contributions To Date
The OPC has received over $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief, and almost $20,000 for Hurricane Irma relief! In addition, a non-profit organization in the Chicago area is sending a tractor-trailer full of donated building supplies for our labors and those of other church groups in Houston!
Those who would like to contribute financially to Hurricane Harvey or Irma relief may send gifts by CHECK or ONLINE. Click below for further information:
How to Donate
Contact our Volunteer Coordinators for information on how you can provide skilled or unskilled labor in Houston or Key West.
How to Volunteer
Visit the Website
Updates on Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief are being posted at OPCSTM.org:
OPC Disaster Response Website
Follow on Facebook
Updates on Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief are being posted at our Facebook Page:
OPC Disaster Response Facebook Page
David P. Nakhla
Short-Term Missions and
Disaster Response Coordinator
Questions and comments regarding the S.T.O.R.M. Report may also be directed to:
Janet L. Birkmann
Administrative Assistant, Short-Term Missions and Disaster Response
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
607 N. Easton Rd., Bldg. E
Willow Grove, PA 19090-2539
This newsletter is being sent to the OPC community and others interested in learning more about the OPC’s short-term outreach and relief activities.