My intentions are normally quite good, but my follow-through is not always stellar. This past week-end my plan was to really clean up my part of the house. I tend to be a clutterer, and can make a pretty good mess. My “to do” list is extremely long, and includes several rooms in our house. To make things worse, our garage is full of stuff that we moved from the house that we are selling in Alaska. My hope is to be able to park in the garage again by Christmas. As the week-end is coming to an end, I have to admit that the rooms pretty much (OK, exactly!) look like they did on Friday. Intentions are important, however, without action they rarely make a difference.

I am really impressed with the response that our Desert Southwest Conference is putting into place in response to the destruction from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. We are positioned to send multiple  teams into the places struggling the hardest. When I was asked if the South District wants to be a part of this, I gave a confident “Yes”. I know without any doubts that it is fully our intention to be a partner in this mission. Now, though, it is time for us to convert our intentions into action.

Where do we start? A good beginning point is to go to www.dscumc.org/hurricane-harvey-response. Here we are given many options on how we can respond. Prayer is the first option, and something that all of us can do. Everything on this list makes a difference. The one that I want to highlight, though, are the Early Response Teams (ERT). This is because I have signed the South District up for a training on September 23 at Catalina UMC in Tucson. Has anyone noticed that September 23 is not very far away?!?

We are told on our site that “Early Response Teams clear debris, salvage belongings, mitigate further damage to homes from mold and rain, and prepare for the rebuilding efforts. Teams provide a caring Christian presence to the survivors by listening to their stories, needs, and concerns about the disaster and moving forward.” To possibly be on one of these teams requires training.  This is an 8 hour training, and has a cost of $30. For those who have been trained in the past, but need renewal, make sure that you look at the schedule for days and times. Is this a training that you would consider doing?

I’ve already signed up for this training. To be honest, I don’t know if it is going to work for me to go with a team. I’ve suggested that we not do charge conferences this year, and just concentrate on work teams. Somehow that suggestion is not gaining traction. If the opportunity comes up, though, I want to make sure that I have the right credentials to be able to go.

The truth is that clean-up from Harvey is going to take a long time. The work is not going to be finished in the next 6 months. As a Conference, we are committing to be in this for the long haul. Other disasters and head-lines are already happening. It won’t be long until Harvey will no longer be a regular topic of conversation. Will we still be responding when others have moved on to other issues?

I understand that this is hard. That our missions “to-do” list is long, and is getting longer. How can we get everything done? The good news is that we don’t have to do everything ourselves. There are enough of us that we can work on many different missions. The key is to make sure that each of us are doing something. It is not enough to intend on doing something.

I’m enjoying visiting different South District churches on Sundays. In October, I get to visit all of our South District churches as we plan on having all of our charge/all-church conferences in one month. I’m looking forward to hearing how you are being a courageous church, loving like Jesus, acting for justice, and united in hope. The actions that you are taking are changing our world. Let me know if you are looking for more opportunities to serve. Alone we might have limited reach, but together (with God’s help) we can reach our entire world!

Your brother in Christ, Mark

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Author: District Office

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