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The travesty is great, but our God is greater

The travesty is great, but our God is greater

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

The travesty is great, but our God is greater

Oct. 30, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0390}

An e-Review Commentary
By the Rev. John Hicks**

CLEWISTON — The youth at First United Methodist Church here offer free pumpkins to the community, which was hard hit by Hurricane Wilma. Photo by John Hicks, Photo #05-263.

The youth at First United Methodist Church of Clewiston were selling pumpkins to go on a mission trip to help hurricane victims in Gulfport, Miss. With no electricity and all of the damage from Hurricane Wilma to the Clewiston area, including the youth minister's home totally destroyed, the decision was made to give the surviving pumpkins away and search for other ways to raise mission money at a later date.
We will be serving emergency needs as long as there are needs — at least until the power is turned on, an estimated seven to 10 days. We are providing lunch meals and distribution center items. The Southern Baptists have come in and are serving dinners — a lot more than we can handle. We serve those who can't get to the dinner areas and others who come to our doors. We provide food and other needs as situations arise.

During the last several days we have cut trees in peoples' yards to clear a path for them to get power when the power returns to their neighborhood. We have also provided generators to recharge peoples' freezers and distributed ice and non-perishable food. Donated food from peoples' freezers has been used to prepare meals. We are also providing a much-needed ministry of listening. People have had a need to tell their stories and be heard by someone with a compassionate listening ear.

For so many years we have been on the giving end of ministry, and now we are on the receiving end. It's amazing the blessing from the people of God. We were prepared and had supplies stored, but no one realized how devastating the storm would be. We have had churches call and ask what they could do to help us. Englewood United Methodist Church is bringing us supplies to broaden our distribution center. More is coming from Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Naples. Generators are also being provided.

We were blessed when they (churches) asked us if there was anything special they could bring, especially for us as the clergy family, knowing we are putting in long hours.

The biggest blessing is knowing we aren't alone. Alone, we can't do it all. Together, we can do much. In Christ, we can do all things. It is great to be part of the family of God.

This article relates to Disaster Response.

*Parham managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Hicks is pastor of First United Methodist Church of Clewiston.