Hurricane Gustav blew ashore in the U.S. Gulf Coast Monday, September 1, as a category one hurricane. Predicted to be a category three storm, Gustav was downgraded to a tropical depression soon after it made landfall. In its wake, however, it left a swath of destruction and is responsible for the deaths of 100 people in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica.
In the midst of the storm, The Foursquare Church responded with the love of Christ to areas hardest hit. Initial reports from pastors and missions personnel in the Gulf Coast and Northern Caribbean indicate no loss of life and no serious injuries among Foursquare leaders and congregants. Further information is pending a more thorough assessment of the damage, and that process has been complicated by a loss of power in many areas.
David Stone, Foursquare missionary to the Caribbean, reported that the roofs of many churches and homes in Jamaica were severely damaged; the home of one Foursquare pastor was completely flooded, and everything inside was destroyed. Foursquare Jamaica is in the process of distributing mattresses to people who lost home furnishings in the storm.
Kim Voisin, Foursquare pastor and supervisor of the Louisiana-Mississippi District, remained in the Bourg/Houma area during the storm to provide support and immediate assistance to residents who did not evacuate. He opened the Bourg Foursquare Church facility as a shelter, and generators supplied by Foursquare Disaster Relief following Hurricane Katrina are powering the church building.
Since Hurricane Katrina, a category five storm, hit Louisiana almost three years ago to the day, The Foursquare Church has consistently worked to rebuild and restore communities and people. Foursquare volunteers have assisted hundreds of residents and rebuilt dozens of homes. Twenty-two Foursquare churches have been planted in Mississippi and Louisiana since Katrina, and many of those new congregations now face the challenge of rebuilding or relaunching their ministries following Gustav.
The Foursquare Church also continues its restoration efforts in the Midwest United States, particularly Iowa, following recent severe flooding. Immediate needs have been addressed, and the long-term rebuilding process is underway; this includes plans to bring evangelistic ministry to people of the region and significant spiritual renewal along with the physical rebuilding.
Globally, thousands of dollars were sent to assist in Myanmar following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis. Artesian wells are being dug throughout the Irrawaddy division, making clean water accessible to many. Further, disaster response training has been provided, and experts are offering information regarding health and clean water issues. Churches are in the process of being rebuilt and are finding willing adherents. Following the cyclone more than 300 people committed their lives to Christ, and many have joined local churches.
Although we are asking that financial support for these besieged areas continue, we also ask that you pray. Please pray for the safety and wellbeing of the people in the nations affected by these recent disasters, and pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to move mightily as people put their trust in God.
Details regarding ways to help and ways to give toward U.S. relief are available online; details about helping internationally are available through Foursquare Missions International or by calling 888.635.4234, ext. 4320.
Financial gifts toward Foursquare relief efforts should be designated as follows:
- U.S. relief – make checks payable to The Foursquare Church and write “U.S. Relief” on the memo line.
- International relief – make checks payable to ICFG and write “International Relief” on the memo line.
Checks from individuals may be mailed to the following address:
The Foursquare Church
1910 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite 200
Los Angeles, Calif. 90026
Churches sending disaster relief offerings with their regular tithe should designate the appropriate offering amount for “U.S. Relief” or “International Relief” (line D) on the tithe coupon.