“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” (Mt. 25:37-44 NIV)
In the late summer and early fall of 1992, in response to widespread flooding of the Mississippi River from Hurricane Andrew, the Conference coordinated a relief effort. Working from Conference offices, collection sites were set up to receive cleaning supplies and materials from local area churches. Other satellite collection sites were set up throughout the Conference area.
Perhaps because we are a people who can call on memories of our own recovery from past flooding of the Susquehanna River, the response was so great that it seemed overwhelming. There was an obvious desire to help meet the needs and reduce the suffering of those who were affected by this disaster.
A total of twelve truckloads of cleaning relief supplies and materials were collected, packed and delivered with TLC – Tender Loving Care. In the Harrisburg area, we partnered with Hershey Foods, which provided the tractor trailer and driver to accomplish the delivery. Hershey also made a generous donation of $10,000 for “Operation Cleaning Up”.
As I reflect on this meaningful undertaking and the amazing outpouring and response to the appeal for help, I wondered if it was a foreshadowing of the vision for Mission Central. Perhaps it gave some momentum, guiding us towards a way to meet emerging needs through a resource like Mission Central.
Praise the Lord and Thanks be to God!
Prayer: Dear caring and compassionate God, the Apostle Paul reminds us that whatever our situation, our true response in life is loving and serving You and each other. We praise You that not only are You, God-with-us on the mountain, but that you remain God-with-us even in the valley. Amen!
(Larry Bittinger–Coordinator of “Operation Cleaning Up” and original Task Force member)
July 8, 2015- Early Opportunity for Disaster Response (downloadable pdf)