When you hear the voice of the Lord, you always tend to think the message is for right then; and it is. And then time slips by and you recall to your mind (see Lamentations ) the words of yesterday and you realize that they carry even greater weight today. So is the case with this short word I am going to deliver to you. It is so true, that I will never forget the morning when the dove of God came gently to me and opened by ear (see Isaiah 50:4) and I heard His voice, “I will have a Revival of Kindness.” I even remember pondering response of my heart, “Now that would be a novel idea. The body of Christ would be kind!” How refreshing!
My own beginnings in ministry is one few really know about. I did an internship in social work and lived in a small non airconditioned bathroom in an inner-city mission. I served at the Wesley Community Center and served people whose skin color was not like mine. I was the minority. I worked among the fatherless, the gangs and learned how to love others as God loved me. I sweat. I prayed. I started journaling. I played with kids. I wept… I did acts of kindness.
Whether it has been building homes in the mountains of Guatemala, doing prayer journeys around the globe, outreaches among the First Nations people, or bathing the elderly in nursing homes, I know a little bit about serving the least of these. I have seen how acts of kindness leave behind a sweet fragrance of Jesus long after you have left. Yes, every sacrifice counts. And I still believe there will be a “Revival of Kindness”. I really do.. How about you?
With this history in mind, GEM Missions is not really some new thing – it is a continuous of a revelation where Mary and Martha are sisters of the same house. In fact, our latest expression, GEM’s Emergency Relief Fund, is another opportunity to let others know that God cares and that you care. (Don – put a link here to give to GEM MISSIONS.) And the old truths are still todays truths where everyone can “Pray, Go and Give”.
Remember, in Jesus, We Make A Great Team!
James W. Goll
Disaster Relief and Recovery
By Mark Roye
For the last 20 years my wife, Susie and I have given our lives to serving in the inner-city of San Antonio, Texas. Little did we know that it would prepare us for the disaster relief work that we have been doing for more than 15 years. We have learned how to help people and communities through times of crisis following a disaster and then effectively recover. It can be a hurricane, tornado, flood, fire, typhoon or even an earthquake. We have worked in the aftermath of all of these.
Our partnership and friendship with Doug Stringer and the Somebody Cares America organization, has been a very kingdom building relationship. When you look at the scope of any disaster, it is always bigger than any one organization. Many times I am asked how do we go about responding in a time of disaster.
First of all, we believe that it is always about establishing relationships. Relationship with God, as an agent of compassion, and relationship with Kingdom minded people comprise a great combination. We need people who build the Kingdom of God and not their own kingdoms. That may sound odd, but there are times when churches and ministries are in it for themselves, not their community.
My role with Somebody Cares, is to be one of the first people on the ground. After a disaster, I am sent in, to find a location that can be used as a base to collect and distribute whatever is needed. As time passes and the recovery continues, the needs of the community changes. Let me share with you some practical stages of emergency relief.
Relief is the first stage of the work that we always begin with. When I say relief, I mean the beginning of providing the basic things needed after a disaster has hit an area. It can be meals, water, toiletries or cleaning supplies. This is always the greatest time of crisis, because communications and distribution of everyday items have been disrupted. It is total chaos, which I have found is something that I thrive in. I love watching God move to help people.
We believe that the local church is relationally prepared to help in a time of disaster. Because of this, we always begin our response by finding a local church that is willing to be an agent of compassion for the sake of the Kingdom and their community. I begin by looking for a man or woman of peace who wants to help by building bridges.
We will be begin to assess the needs of the local community, then get the word out to our network partners. We work with a variety of aid organizations to get supplies into the disaster area. We will set up Points Of Distribution, where supplies can be brought in and distributed to people in need. This can last a few weeks to even months, depending on the scope of disaster.
Recovery is the second stage of emergency relief work. This begins when we see self sustainability return to the area. Progress has been made when people have found a way to survive and meet their basic needs in the aftermath of the disaster. Many of these people may be still be staying in some form of shelter or have moved out of the affected area. This is often when volunteer groups come in and begin to help in the clean up effort. Food will still be needed for both aid workers and disaster victims. The needs change from basic survival items to resources and tools to begin clean up and restoration. Items needed may be trash bags, gloves, tools, chainsaws and other like items. Usually thousands of volunteers come in to help. All of this requires planning and a very fluid leadership to be the most effective.
Rebuilding is the last stage. I am sure you understand that this is the longest part of any recovery. With each stage, more skilled help is needed. In this stage, we will begin to bring building materials for those who may have no insurance or are under insured. Our goal, is to identify and serve the greatest in need. It may be the elderly, or the poor that have limited resources. In this stage, the local partnering church will determine how long they desire to continue in the relief work. It is at this stage, when many local pastors come together, and work to rebuild their community.
This is a very short overview of the emergency relief work that we do. But let me say, Compassion is Action. We love getting to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.
In His Service,
GEM Missions Partners
Here are a few of the ministries that GEM Missions works with to bring aid, relief and the Gospel of Christ to those in need throughout the world.