At times in my childhood, the Catatonk Creek would overflow, swollen with ice melt and spring thunder showers. My father would set up the pump in our grocery store’s basement, and in two or three days, all would be back to normal. I hadn’t thought much about flooding until I watched a video of my friend rowing up to the front door of the church he newly shepherds in Houston. For thousands of people in Houston, “normal” is a long way off–months, at least, and possibly years.
And then I open the news to read that 1400 people have been killed by flooding in East Asia. More than 1/3 of the country of Bangladesh is underwater. The Himalayas are funneling water into rain-swollen rivers across Nepal, and more than 42 million people are impacted. “Water, Water, everywhere,” as the Ancient Mariner once rhymned.
My heart aches–for my friends and their church family in Houston, for the Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims fighting the waters in Asia.
I’m sure that you are impacted, as well. But if you are anything like me, it is easy to wonder if you can really help in any tangible way. Please, don’t look away. Don’t be fatigued by the enormity of the need. There are three practical ways you can help right now.
- Pray. Ask God for wisdom to know how you can best help. Pray for wisdom and strength for first responders, pastors, health care workers who are bringing assistance to people who have lost so much. Pray for people who are asking eternal questions in their crisis.
- Give. You can give to churches like BridgePoint Bible Church (Here) and to relief organizations like Children’s Hunger Fund (Here) operating both in Houston and Nepal. Helping out Memorial Christian Hospital in Chittagong (Here) would be a great way to assist Bangladesh. If you have friends in the areas, perhaps you could send them gift cards to help them either purchase what they need or be able to better help others.
- Remember. Two months from now, most of these situations will be a distant memory for those of us who are watching it from afar. Set a reminder to check in with the relief and recovery work that will be going on for likely years in the future.
Pray. Give. Remember. Houston, Varanasi, Dhaka, you have a problem, and we want to assist. May God help us all.
You can follow Pastor Gunner at www.davidagundersen.com and on twitter @gunnergundersen.