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The Gift of Hope

A young boy enjoys the gift of hope in the form of medicine.

This year has been filled with historic natural disasters, with tragedies striking both domestically and internationally. Victims of disasters, whether hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or fires, have one thing in common: Life as they knew it has been drastically changed.

As that realization unfolds, deep in the hearts of most disaster victims there’s a tug-of-war going on as the forces of hope and despair fight for control. I feel that the greatest blessing we can give to disaster victims is to show up, express sincere concern, offer to pray with them, and show that we actually care — and, in so doing, we help hope win the battle over despair. This attitude is the foundation for recovery.

A woman receives disaster aid supplies in Mexico.

During recent months, I have traveled to many places where OBI teams are helping disaster victims win the war against despair. Our physical help manifests in many ways ranging from something as simple as a case of bottled water or clearing debris from a ruined house, to repairing or even rebuilding a home from the ground up.

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I wish I could describe what I’ve seen in the eyes of a storm victim when an OBI truck full of food, drinks, and relief supplies pulls into a church shelter parking lot, or when a team of bright-eyed, smiling volunteers with Operation Blessing t-shirts shows up with wheelbarrows, shovels, and chainsaws to help clear the debris, clean up the mess, and pick up the pieces of their lives.

I wish I could describe the look in the eyes of a mayor of a ravaged community when we tell her or him that we have come to help organize relief efforts, manage volunteers, serve hot meals, and accept work orders for stricken homeowners — all for free.

An OBI worker distributes disaster aid.

I wish I could describe the look in the eyes of children all over the world when they see their mother smile for the first time since the terrible calamity came when the nice people from Operation Blessing tell her that they are going to fix or rebuild their house, at no cost.

A young boy sits with a grocery bag of supplies.

I see their faces but can only imagine what is in the hearts of those whose lives have been shredded by a disaster, especially the poor and those without insurance or family support. The next time you read a story in these pages or on our website that shows Operation Blessing on the scene of a disaster helping people, know that through Operation Blessing you are personally reaching and giving precious gifts to disaster victims.

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