All clear in Texas? Not by a long shot

By September 24, 2008

USA (MNN) — The lack of news reports coming out of the southern Gulf of the United States would lead many to believe everything is okay and there aren't any needs in the region. That would be completely and utterly false as Hurricane Ike hit the region with wide spread destruction. The lack of news coverage has made it difficult for relief and outreach.

Touch Global, a relief ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America, is in the region. Touch Global's Mark Lewis says they're trying to meet the immense physical needs. "There have been tens of thousands of houses that have been flooded. There's still about a million people that are without power now."

Some are expected to be without power for weeks longer. Lewis says there are so many different needs, it's staggering.

While many people volunteered and donated to Hurricane Katrina relief, that hasn't happened in this situation. Lewis says, "There will be thousands of people heading back to Galveston Island in the next few days trying to work on their homes, and that's going to be a very long process of trying to get houses cleaned out. We just have not seen anywhere near the type of response for volunteers."

Touch Global is looking for willing hands who can man a distribution center, help clean flooded houses, roof repair, cooks for short-term teams, and some long term volunteer logistics help.

Lewis says Touch Global is fighting a perception problem. "I really sense that many people outside the region really are getting an impression that everything's okay, and that there's really not that big of a need. And so I feel like we're fighting a bit of a mis-perception problem."

People are running out of money and can't afford to be away from home any longer. As they return, they're returning to damaged, dangerous and unhealthy homes.

While helping physically is the motivation, Lewis says there's more. "We view the physical work we do as a vehicle into relationships, to enable us to connect with people and then to show the love of Christ in a tangible way and then express the love of Christ verbally."

This isn't a one-time thing. Lewis says it's strategic. "We do it in connection with the local church and we're working with the local churches that have been affected to help them mobilize a team of follow up people so that there really can be a long term, sustainable, disciple-making process."

Lewis says it's about building the Kingdom of God and seeing lives transformed.

If you'd like to help donate or volunteer your time, click here.

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