While many Americans took part in Sunday’s special National Day of Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Harvey, Foursquare members have been urged to continue to make intercession an ongoing focus as relief and recovery efforts finally begin in earnest.
Encouraging Foursquare members’ participation in the nationwide observation called for by the White House, Foursquare President Glenn Burris Jr. said in a Facebook post, “Prayer is a powerful force to undergird all of the victims.”
Now leaders involved in coordinating Foursquare’s response have emphasized the critical nature of Holy Spirit guidance and discernment to best meet the many needs and make the most of the opportunities for ministry in the wake of one of the most devastating natural disasters in American history.
“We desperately covet your prayers,” says Jason Reynolds, who serves as Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) national coordinator and Foursquare Chaplains International director, as he helps to organize relief efforts from Foursquare’s MidSouth District offices in San Antonio, along with supervisor David Coffey and his team.
Among the specific prayer points offered by those leading Foursquare’s Harvey response efforts:
- No more bad weather
- Flood waters to recede quickly
- Protection for first responders and relief workers
- Divine guidance in ministry efforts
- Godly anointing for team members
Responders face huge logistical challenges, from some areas still being difficult to access to gas shortages in some areas making movement difficult. However, FDR has been able to make funds available electronically to Foursquare churches to purchase food and supplies for distribution to those in need.
As of yesterday, more than $125,000 had been donated to FDR’s Harvey emergency fund. “People have been very generous,” says Jason. “We feel very supported by our national Foursquare Church.”
Also appreciative of the Foursquare response is Cere Muscarella, senior pastor of Life Church (Angleton Foursquare Church), where members have been feeding people at a local shelter. “Our Foursquare family has been absolutely wonderful, with prayers and encouragement,” states Cere. “There have been so many generous donations made to help” from around the country, he notes.
A further challenge needing prayer is making sure that the many offers of help from outside Texas are well channeled, and at the right time. “Little windows are beginning to open,” explains Jason, “and they will open into larger doors for entrance for people who want to help to come through and serve.”
Gary Grubbs, FDR U.S. operations chief, requests prayer for Foursquare church members and FDR chaplains involved in recovery and relief efforts, and those they are seeking to help. “Pray for the peace of God that surpasses understanding,” Gary asks, “and also that they will have discernment and wisdom in how to deal with those in need; that they will let Jesus walk them through.”
With recovery expected to take years, FDR’s emphasis is on helping local Foursquare churches in areas hit by Harvey—such as metro-area Victory Christian Center (Houston Victory Christian Foursquare Church), which has opened a distribution center—be equipped for and encouraged in serving their communities over the long haul. “They know their communities best, and they are the ones with the relationships,” explains Jason.
Among those churches is Gulf Coast (Hitchcock Foursquare Church), where pastor John Elliott told how prayer has already opened doors for ministry. Despite seeing his own home flooded—together with his wife, Patty, he was trapped in his attic for almost a whole day before the waters receded—he mobilized church members to go to a local shelter and help distribute food. The volunteers listened to people’s stories and offered prayer.
“It was just like pulling a cork out of a bottle,” John recalls. “There were tears everywhere.” The Foursquare team conducted a children’s service, and several people came to Christ during the visit.
With two teams from a California Foursquare church already in Hitchcock to help with recovery work, John encourages all responders to be “prayed up” when they go out into the community, bringing a spiritual dimension to what they do. “New Age people know how to gut a house,” he notes, but “they can’t help these people with the issues of the soul.”
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Harvey response should make contact with FDR via their online FDR Volunteer Application. Financial donations can be made here or by texting “4relief” to 77977.