Above: Members of Northgate Community Church in Cathedral City, California, help clean up after Hurricane Hillary.
By Mandy Gove
Anyone who has experienced a natural disaster knows the specific kind of fear you feel when something beyond your control blows in. Growing up in the Midwest, I experienced quite a few. In fact, as a small child who tried to make sense of the world through magic and superstition, I was convinced that every summer on my birthday there would be a tornado.
I was born in the heat of July, and I have many memories spending summers helping my family clean up flooding in our basement and walking around the community picking up tree branches after a tornado. As I grew and learned about Jesus, the superstitions turned into faith. An active faith that cried out in fear to God– the only one who could deliver me from an unknown force of disaster. Whether our basement flooded or not, no storm was wasted when it came to shaping my faith.
As any Christian knows well, life in Christ does not prevent storms and trials. These acts of nature simply reveal that we were never the ones in control, and that God is the only One we can rely on to protect and sustain us through them. Recently some of our Alliance family have faced devastating storms and emerged with a vivid testimonies of God’s mercy and grace.
Over the past few weeks there have been several natural disasters in our country: A fire in Maui, a hurricane in California, and another blowing through Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. While we bless the Lord for the storms that help shape our faith, we also thank Him when he shelters us from them.
Despite 130 MPH winds, and storm surges of up to 15 feet as category-4 Hurricane Idalia roared through northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, superintendents of the two Alliance districts in that region report that no Alliance churches suffered damage.
Weeks earlier, as Hurricane Hilary devastated parts of southern California with gale force winds and severe flooding, Pasto Joe Zanayed of Northgate Community Church in Cathedral City reports:
Although there are no Alliance churches in Maui, there are several Alliance chaplains positioned throughout Hawaii who stepped in to help those who suffered loss. Kevin Pies, the Executive Director for Alliance Chaplains, shared the following:
Although God sometimes allows His people to experience the fires and the floods, He also longs to shelter us in His loving arms. Over the past month, we have witnessed his tangible protection over His people while calling and equipping them to serve those in their communities from a position of strength and grace. As restoration efforts continue and new disasters threaten, please continue to pray:
- For those who have suffered loss in the midst of these crises
- For Alliance churches in the regions affected by hurricanes Idalia and Hillary as they help those in their communities with rebuilding and recovery efforts
- For those who remain in the path of severe storms as hurricane season commences
- For those in Maui who have lost loved ones in the fires. Pray also for long-term recovery efforts and for search and rescue and medical teams that have experienced extreme trauma throughout this ordeal.
- For long-term recovery (both emotional and physical) of the community as well as for search and rescue teams, who have witnessed much heartache and trauma throughout this ordeal. Pray specifically for those who suffered injury or loss.
- For our Alliance chaplains who facilitate safe spaces where military and VA personnel can share experiences, grieve losses, and find strength in unity as recovery carries on. Their unwavering presence has provided hope and healing to the many people affected by the Maui fires. If you’d like to contribute to the recovery efforts in Maui, please visit https://cmalliance.org/maui-wildfires-alliance-chaplains-join-recovery-efforts/.