A Show of Love Amidst Destruction

October 10 2017

The Cuban people now face one of the saddest moments in the past few years.

On September 8, the northern coast of Cuba was slammed by Hurricane Irma. It made landfall, with winds of nearly 160 miles per hour … the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the country since 1937.

But in the midst of this crisis, there is hope.

Norberto, the president of our partner denomination, shares what he has seen firsthand on this island nation.

In the midst of the destruction, we want to learn from the example of Jesus … we want to love those who need our love. For this reason, we are helping those who are suffering. We know that God can turn this crisis into opportunities and the problems into blessings.

To date, we have started 10 community kitchens to feed the needy. The churches are serving the communities as a light in the darkness. Volunteers are seeing new ways to serve the people and testify of God’s love at the same time.

While Irma did much damage, the Cuban church stands together today to rebuild the fallen walls and to give witness to the victory of the king of kings.

"Blessed to Bless." That’s what I saw when I entered one church that had been badly affected by the storm. I never thought that I would see that phrase on a church wall that was almost destroyed. The pastor’s family lost nearly all of their belongings and had no food to eat. They went two nights without sleeping. Yet, the phrase echoed in my mind: "Blessed to Bless ..."

The pastor of this church and his family knew that Irma was going to change their lives, but they never imagined that the change was going to be for good.

Today and every day, the church feeds 180 people, and their contacts continue to grow. Many are asking, “Why do you do it?” The pastor responds, “Because God loves me, and I want you to know that he loves you too.” God has blessed this family, and they want to bless the people that live there.

The people are beginning to feel encouragement and hope. You can hear laughter and see happy faces while the church serves them with love.

Another story that fills me with joy happened when I visited a church in which most of the building was destroyed, but part of a wall that remained said, “Instruments of Change 2 Timothy 2: 21.” The pastor had just started a series on discipleship to teach them that sanctification is God's instrument to achieve good things from the hearts of the people. After the ravages of Irma, the church is beginning to understand firsthand the meaning of the words: "agents of change."

Today, members of this church cook for more than 200 people daily. Most of the church members volunteer with the community kitchen, and they are instruments for change in the hearts of the people as they serve and love in Jesus’ name.

The message of the Gospel becomes real when people can see what God has done among his people. To God be the glory!


If you would like to donate to relief efforts, give here.

Tags: hurricane, cuba, restore, relief, disaster, help, compassion, hands and feet of jesus,

Hurricane Havoc

October 10 2016

“Definitely thinking a lot about the people of Jérémie in the southwest corner of Haiti. This is the second time that I have taken a survey trip of a major disaster. The heart sure gets torn up on these trips–leaving without feeling you have done anything, knowing you need to get back to communicate needs and establish a strategic response, seeing people and communities working together and wanting to join them, but knowing in your head that you can do more by leaving and communicating and working with others,” shared Brett Bundy, One Mission Society Haiti field leader.

On Friday, Brett and a team of four Haitian OMS workers traveled to the worst-affected areas in the south and southwest of Haiti, around the cities of Les Cayes and Jérémie. Their purpose was to assess how OMS can best respond to the many needs left behind in the wake of the devastating category 4 hurricane that struck Haiti and several Caribbean islands, as well as the southeast U.S. coast, on October 4 and the days following.

Though the majority of OMS’ ministries take place in Cap Haitien in northern Haiti, which we give thanks to the Lord that it was not heavily impacted, our longstanding presence in the country enables us to work in partnerships to provide resources and quickly mobilize teams to bring aid to those in need.

It is difficult at this point to gauge the severity of the damage from the hurricane as travel and communication within the country is challenging. However, early reports indicate that the death toll has climbed above 1,000, with thousands more injured, left homeless and in need of aid. Some reports even state that 90 percent of the southwest of Haiti was completely destroyed.

Our OMS survey team also reported, “No roofs were left on homes, schools, or churches. Crops, trees, animals are all gone. Things are very difficult. The government has declared three days of mourning in memory of those who died in this catastrophe.”

Another major concern is the outbreak and spread of cholera in the wake of the hurricane.

Pray for our leadership team, making decisions about what to do. Pray for all those affected in Haiti and in other regions. And pray that the people around the world would be generous and wise in who they donate to.

OMS has set up an emergency relief fund. Click here to contribute or for more information.

Tags: hurricane, haiti, caribbean, jérémie, hurricane matthew,