In July of 2008 my brother, myself and four other people loaded ourselves into a 6-passenger minivan. We drove that minivan as it pulled a trailer of tools and supplies all the way to Waveland, Mississippi. It took two really full days of driving before we dipped our toes in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It wasn’t for a vacation. Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina wrought its unbelievable destruction, we were in Waveland for recovery work. There were no trees whose tops hadn’t been snapped off. Roadways had just been resurfaced before our arrival. Street signs had not yet been restored. It did not look like to us like three years after a hurricane – more like three months!  We had a lot to learn!


Our work in Waveland and the surrounding communities was hosted by a team whose funding came from the United Methodist Committee on Relief. UMCOR had been positioned carefully outside of the destruction area before the storm hit, waiting to serve the people as soon as they could get into the affected areas. Here we were three years later, UMCOR still on the scene of recovery and restoration, working to make peoples’ lives whole again. That’s what UMCOR does best – stay until lives have been restored.


Hurricane Ian is still making its way across Florida and up the Atlantic coast of the United States. Puerto Rico took a direct hit from Hurricane Fiona less than two weeks ago. These hurricanes destroy infrastructure and livelihoods and lives. Please join me in praying for the people of Florida, Puerto Rico and beyond.


But, as Pope Francis says,

“You pray for the hungry.

Then you feed them.

That’s how prayer works.”

That’s how our prayers work for people who have been through these hurricanes.  Through every disaster like this, UMCOR responds as typically the first organization in to help and the last organization to leave. The work of our church through UMCOR restores lives and walks alongside people through the entire journey of restoration and recovery. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this act of love and service through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Prouder still that every dollar donated for recovery works goes directly to people in need. 


Perhaps you want to put action to your prayers. Perhaps you want to respond to the needs of the people in these disaster areas, knowing that every dollar you will go directly to people affected by the hurricanes. You can do that by clicking this link and choosing “Give to UMCOR” on the first dropdown item. I know there are many good places to give your gifts of charity. But if you are inclined to give during this or any other disaster, UMCOR is the best way to do that. Your dollars through them will go to people in need, and will walk alongside of them through the entire recovery process. That’s how we put actions to our prayers!


Join me in prayer for the folks in Florida, Puerto Rico and beyond. If you can find a way to put action to your prayers, let’s do that together!


Pastor Becky Jo

PHOTO: City of Naples, FL, 9/28/2022

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