Irma Bearing Down as Reports of AG Churches Damaged by Harvey Received
As Irma, a massive Category 5 hurricane with winds speeds of 185 mph, entered the Caribbean this morning, AG ministries, ministers, missionaries, and members lie within the “red zone” of its path.
According to Dale Coad, the Assemblies of God World Missions Caribbean Area director, there are three islands in the red zone with an AG missionary presence: Antigua, St. Kitts, and Nevis.
“Tim and Beth Pike and Havilah Roman are assigned to Antigua,” Coad says. “They are doing a church plant — New Life Assembly of God — the only Assemblies of God church on the island.”
Although the Pikes are currently in the United States and the Roman family is on itineration, the church and island are in desperate need of prayer.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, AGWM and the Caribbean School of Theology are currently working with two new AG churches. In Nevis, Coad reports, the church is boarding up windows and preparing for the full force of Irma to hit sometime after 8 p.m.
The pastor’s son, Isaac Jimenez, is working directly with the disaster management team on the island, getting prepared for Irma’s landfall.
In St. Kitts, the church is doing the same with a stark realization that when Hurricane Hugo hit the island in 1989, it had been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane, but it did extensive damage.
David Ellis, AGWM regional director for Latin America Caribbean, states: “Our brothers and sisters throughout the Caribbean are preparing for what could be the greatest natural disaster of their lifetimes. We must do all we can to help them — first to pray for God’s protection, comfort, and strengthening as they face this great crisis.”
The AG Office of Hispanic Relations reached out to the Puerto Rico District offices and learned that District Superintendent Ivan De La Torre is closing the district offices early today and urging members and ministers to prepare for the worst and “take the necessary contingencies to safeguard their life and property.”
De La Torre stated in a Facebook post that the district will use its farm, if necessary, as a place of accommodation for American Red Cross personnel. He also expressed his gratitude for the General Council as, well in advance of the arrival of Irma, he has already been contacted by ministry leaders from 461 Response, MAPS, U.S. Missions, Chaplaincy, and Convoy of Hope.
“With the power and size of Hurricane Irma, there is a great potential for the total devastation of communities and loss of life — and Florida may still be impacted,” states George O. Wood, AG general superintendent. “Please pray for safety and provision for those in Irma’s path.”
In anticipation of a potentially catastrophic and sweeping event, the Assemblies of God has set up a disaster relief fund to aid victims of Irma. Click here to help support those efforts.
HURRICANE HARVEY UPDATE
In Texas, the clean-up from Hurricane Harvey continues. However, reports of church damage are now beginning to trickle in. To date, 27 churches located in 24 different communities have reported damage. The list is expected to grow.
However, seven Texas AG churches are currently serving as aid distribution centers and seven others are organizing restoration teams. For information about churches needing assistance or to provide supplies, contact Shane Klinkerman, the district’s Men’s Ministry director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, as of Tuesday, Convoy of Hope has delivered 97 loads — nearly 3 million pounds — of aid to its point of distribution in Victoria, Texas. With the help of 1,729 volunteers, Convoy of Hope has distributed 80 of the loads to 46 cities, and served more than 125,000 people.
For those who would like to financially assist in the Hurricane Harvey recovery, the Assemblies of God national office has established a giving link: click here to give to AG Relief (benefits Convoy of Hope and the relief efforts).