The devastation in southeast Texas is unprecedented. It's been called an 800-year flood. The damage is beyond description. Many people have lost everything.
Thankfully, we have a safety net in this country, and the government will step in to help. But the government can't do everything, and whatever it does involves paperwork and often, delays. Yet Christians are also responding and showing the love of Jesus—and can fill in the gaps more quickly for those who need it.
When I heard Hurricane Harvey was headed toward Houston, I reached out to two longtime friends—Doug Stringer of Somebody Cares ministry and Steve Riggle, who pastors a megachurch called Grace Community Church in the Woodlands area of Houston. At the time, our editorial team was looking for local contacts to help with our hurricane coverage. We had no idea the disaster would be as big as it turned out to be.
In years past, our readers have responded to the crisis after 9/11, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and other disasters. Then, as now, we worked with Christian organizations at the scene to help in ways the government or secular organizations could not or did not. Then, as now, 100 percent of the money raised went to help those in need.
Stringer works through local churches, and Riggle's ministry is a local church with four campuses. Long after the other agencies are gone, churches will be there, still helping people. Stringer told me that, at a time when the nation is divided, Christians are coming together to assist in many ways. "It's a new narrative," he said. "It's a church united for a nation divided. It's an opportunity for the church to really be a city on a hill."
There are many churches that are helping. These two ministries are the ones I am most familiar with, so we are channeling our giving through them. But if you know and appreciate another ministry, by all means, support it. The main thing is that each of us should do something.
Both Stringer and Riggle said 100 percent of the money they receive will go to help victims. I trust them, and later, we will report back on some of the ways the money is used.
Today, Riggle texted me as follows: "Our experience with the government helping, and even the major charities, is their red tape when what people need is help, not filling out endless forms. I will assure you that any funds received will go 100 percent to people in need."
You can give directly to Somebodycares.org by clicking here. Many of Stringer's staff have had to be evacuated. Yet they are continuing to work with various partners to rescue people, to supply meals and to stage supplies to go in as soon as the flood waters subside.
Or you can give at GraceWoodlands.com, Riggle's church website. By the way, his church's two Houston campuses are underwater, as is his home, yet he is working to help others.
Many of you have donated in the past through Christian Life Missions, our nonprofit partner. If you know and trust CLM, then, like me, give your donation there (christianlifemissions.org). But giving directly to Riggle, Stringer or another ministry will often get the money where it belongs faster.
You can also mail checks to Christian Life Missions, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746. Or, call in credit card donations to (407) 333-0600 and ask for the Christian Life Missions office.
If you experienced this type of disaster, you would appreciate people helping. Now is the chance for us to reach out and make a real difference. I hope everyone reading this will do something.
Together, we can accomplish more than we can individually. And we can do it through respected ministries you can trust to meet the needs that exist rather than through secular organizations that do good work but receive government funding. These churches and ministries rely on donations from people like you and me who want to help.
Remember, Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35b). My prayer is that thousands of you will donate tens of thousands of dollars. If you're a pastor, maybe you can take up an offering at your next service and send it to one of these ministries. Let's remember these and the many others who are working so hard to help those who have lost so much.
Steve Strang is the founder of Charisma Media and President of Christian Life Missions. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to subscribe to the Strang Report podcast, and here to sign up for the Strang Report newsletter.
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