Thursday, October 31, 2019

"Because" - a disaster ministry

By Karl Goodfellow

Disasters are physical, emotional and spiritual events. We spend most of our time and resources responding to physical events. Yet the biggest affects are often emotional and spiritual.
It is far easier to rebuild the foundation under a house than it is to rebuild a spiritual foundation.  During and after a disaster there are unanswered questions we ask.  Our churches are filled with good, church-going Christians affected just like the world. The effects of the trauma of disasters remain as unanswered questions.
            The military spends billions of dollars attempting to understand and treat PTSD. The first step has been accepting the fact that trauma changes us. Major floods, tornadoes, and fires affect our faith structures. In some cases, spiritual resilience will arise and in other cases, a dwindling of faith and haunting memories occur.
            “Because” is a free, two-week devotional intentionally created to be shared in churches, prayer groups, and surrounding communities where disaster has struck. While adrenaline flows a few weeks after a disaster, longer periods of frustration, anger, emotional fatigue, and lack direction are waiting.  I have worked with Iowa Recovery, UMCOR, and after Katrina I worked on the gulf and with those brought to Iowa. I have seen the blank, emotionally drained stares after disaster groups have come and gone.
            There is a lot that goes into a disaster devotional. Intentionally imparting a message of hope is important. While getting readers and pray-ers to reflect, it is important to understand how much encouragement and support is necessary in the healing process. Particularly for those living in rural communities, the full impact of a disaster may not be fully understood for months down the road. A veteran once shared about returning from Vietnam, “I had just left a war zone, but the war zone had not left me, and no one around seemed to understand or care.” Working with banks, insurance companies, FEMA, and various organizations can take years, and your supposed is just as necessary to get on with life.
            Because is not a magical answer, but getting to people pray, discuss, and seek to understand the spiritual and psychological impact raises social consciousness and creates support communities.

Here is a link to the disaster support blog.

Karl Goodfellow has been a United Methodist pastor for 35 years serving in Iowa and Wisconsin.  He founded the Safety net prayer ministries.

No comments:

Post a Comment