Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, along with two major earthquakes in Mexico have violently disrupted the lives of millions, and for many, life will never be the same. Chances are, you have been saddened by what you’ve seen reported on TV and feel a sense of compassion for those affected. I want to assure you that if you are a supporter of Operation Blessing, you’re already making a real difference in the lives of these disaster victims. Operation Blessing teams were, and still are, engaged in helping disaster victims in a cornucopia of ways.
Operation Blessing is well known for being among the first to arrive in hardest-hit areas — and, even more importantly, one of the last to leave. We don’t provide “drive-by-benevolence” but always seek to have a meaningful impact on those we serve. Here are a few examples from this year’s season of suffering.
TEXAS: Our advance team was on the ground in Texas before Harvey even came ashore, and remains in the area managing volunteers (at last count over 7,000) and providing truckloads of food, water, hygiene items, and relief supplies.
FLORIDA: Prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival, we staged hundreds of tons of relief supplies in our facility in Ocala, Fla. As soon as the worst of the storm passed, we immediately started delivering food and water to evacuees and hard-hit residents. We are continuing to dispatch truckloads of supplies and make grants to action-oriented churches located in communities still recovering.
LATIN AMERICA: Our OB Mexico and OB Guatemala teams were among the very first on the scene of the 8.1-magnitude earthquake near Oaxaca and continue rebuilding homes and supplying safe water, hot meals, and hygiene supplies. The OB Mexico team also responded the day the 7.1-magnitude quake hit near Puebla and Mexico City, quickly facilitating the delivery of hundreds of tons of food, water, and relief supplies to villages at and around the epicenter. In addition, our teams organized, equipped, fed, and housed hundreds of local volunteers.
PUERTO RICO: Following these four major disasters, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. OBI’s vice president of international operations, David Darg, was soon on the island, coordinating with local authorities, distributing solar lights after the island was left without power. Our team also immediately began working to use our numerous tools from our safe water toolkit, from desalination water systems to water purification tablets, to help quench the thirst of countless American citizens with no power or water.
There are two key ingredients that make all this possible. The first is God’s favor in helping us meet exactly the right strategic partners and in opening doors that lead to the most impactful opportunities. We have seen this happen over and over. I know that the synchronicity of events is far beyond the reach of human happenstance. God most certainly supports, guides, and supercharges our efforts.
The second ingredient is you, dear reader. Without the generosity of Operation Blessing donors, we would not have the funds to purchase supplies, staff our disaster teams, and reach the families in greatest need. Without your support, we could not act on the opportunities the Lord provides. For all you do, I offer my profound thanks.