Christian Ministry Estimates Lengthened Support to Florida

( [email protected] ) Sep 14, 2004 11:35 PM EDT

In the wake of Hurricane Frances, Samaritan’s Purse ministry will now have to reassess their relief efforts. With two disaster relief units already working in southwestern Florida for the past three weeks, now two tractor-trailers loaded with emergency supplies and tools will be moved to the East Coast to equip the workers there.

Luther Harrison, the coordinator of Samaritan’s Purse relief efforts in Florida, commented that the organization is working closely with local churches to minister to the lives that have been gravely affected by the two storms.

Harrison added that the coordinated effort is designed to meet the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of the disaster victims. With work crews utilizing "men and women that have constructions skills and can climb a ladder, put a sheet of plastic on a roof with safety in mind," other volunteers were allocated to focus on comforting people who were devastated by the loss of their homes or loved ones, or damage to their livelihood, property, and sense of security.

The spokesman for Samaritan’s Purse went on explaining how the church volunteers are an essential part of the disaster response. "These folks just come and share Christ's love with the homeowner," he says. "The best thing we tell them as we go out and minister to the family is that it's not as important to cover the house with plastic as it is to sit and share with the homeowners and listen to them."

Harrison says that the local churches will have opportunities across the coming weeks and months to assess follow-up ministry and outreach. "All these families we've worked with, churches can take these names, check on them in a couple weeks and see how they're doing, reassure them and help them keep a positive attitude through the long process ahead.”

The hurricane victims, according to the relief coordinator, will have a difficult process that lies ahead which includes dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the insurance companies to sort through all the issues regarding the recovery process from a disaster. He estimated that Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteer workers will be spending several months in Florida to share Christ with hurricane victims through word and works.