Update and How to Help

Far across the ocean in East Africa and without Internet for a week, I got the news about the terrible tragedies in Alabama second-hand. My husband had gone out to send some email Thursday at a local cafe’ and called me with the news he’d just received. I gathered our children around to tell them that our precious friend and former neighbor, Tom Lee, had died saving his family as their home collapsed and that they and the Crawfords (also dear friends) had lost everything. The home we had once lived in next door was completely gone. It was hard for all of us to take it in. We immediately sat down together in tears and prayed for those so far away, wishing we could be there to reach out.

Here in Africa, dire need is all around us. We see it daily. We feel compassion and love for the people we are here to serve. But hearing what had happened to our own home folks cut so deeply that we have spent the past three days mourning and praying. We thank God for all the hands and feet of the saints who have descended on the South–not just in Alabama, but in other tornado-devastated places like Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia. My husband is there in Shoal Creek Valley with our friends, and we are with him in spirit. I am so encouraged by all the others who are holding up these families in prayer and even making the long trek south to lend a hand with all the clean-up and recovery. The response has been so overwhelming that local coordinators don’t even know where to put all the supplies and have set up a special warehouse in downtown Ashville. This is exactly how the Body of Christ should work, overflowing from homes and churches into the broader community. Thank you, thank you.

Lora Fanning has posted an update on her blog about how to help, and I wanted to pass it along, as so many have left comments here asking how they can help:

People from all over the country have filled the warehouse with donations to meet the physical needs of the families.  The families are overwhelmed and so blessed by your generosity.  The reality is, however, that these families have no homes to put these items in. For now, storage pods have been obtained to hold the donations, ready to fill their new homes.

But first, they have to rebuild.

Please click here to read the rest and give as you are led. God bless.

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” ~ Matthew 25:40

3 thoughts on “Update and How to Help

  1. Wow, I didn’t know you were in Africa. How are you serving there? My husband is South African and we often talk about whether we will live there someday. What struck me about your story is that in going to live in Africa you may have felt like you were giving up a lot – your home there, family, friends, etc. Yet if you had stayed you would have lost your home and possibly your lives! We just never know what is going to happen or where we will be safest. I have been praying that God will help you serve joyfully where you are, especially while your husband is away, and that he will be able to assist well back home in the USA.


    1. Hi, Sherrin! Matt has worked for Persecution Project Foundation since 2005 (serving on the board from 2000). He was going back and forth from the US to Kenya and Sudan three or four times each year, and we began praying three and a half years ago about just moving over here as a family to serve. The Lord finally opened the doors in 2010, and we moved here in January. We absolutely love it and are so thankful that God has put us into a community of vibrant Christians here, all of whom are serving the Lord in a multitude of ways: Bible translation, working with street children, filming Christian television projects (to combat the awful things shown to children here), training pastors, etc. I had no fears for our safety moving over here but was frankly surprised at how fearful others were on our behalf, as if going to Africa was akin to leaping from a cliff into an unknown abyss or something. But we firmly believe in God’s sovereign care for His people. We could just as easily be killed in an accident back in the States as here — all in God’s control. And my husband did a fantastic job preparing us all for the move, as he has worked here for so long that he knew the ropes already. This is a great place for children to see how the rest of the world lives and to reach out to those in need. Thanks so much for your prayers! Matt is on his way home this weekend and says he is so glad he went, though it was a very emotionally exhausting time. We are glad he was able to go, as it really hurts to be so far away when folks you love are suffering. God bless.


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