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GIVING / Relief Efforts

Press Release - 10/2/17

St Thomas Reformed Church

Hurricane Relief Update – October 2, 2017

Good Day,

Before I give more of an update on us in St. Thomas, I want to offer my prayers for all those affected by the horrible tragedy in Las Vegas. I believe I used the word "unfathomable" to describe the disaster here. The same word comes to mind as I try to imagine the disaster there.

We resumed our supply distribution this week albeit with fewer hands. Volunteers are stressed, some having to return to work. But it seems God always provides. We were completely out of diapers but with a private donation to buy what we could locally, and several individual carloads, our sanctuary quickly filled up with the needed items for this week. Needed items are showing up on our shores in bulk and we thank all of the donors who are giving generously toward our relief efforts. And when we needed it, God also provided assistance sorting and preparing for distribution. Our faithful volunteers, led by Robin and Linda, prepare about 225 bags twice a week to be distributed to families in need in the downtown area. While we are doing that, Charles and John Paul will continue to slop up mud from our undercroft to try and return it to a usable space. Several volunteers showed up to assist in the process of cleaning out the flooded undercroft, especially our children and worship centers. Many of our materials are not salvageable but material things can be replaced. Thank you to all the volunteers who got down and dirty sacrificing their own time for the greater good. In the midst of the soggy, moldy, muddy debris, there emerged a reminder in the form of the cross sitting on a mound of muddy debris - the sacrifice made once and for all to "cleanse" all of humankind. Thank you Jesus...friend to all! We look forward to welcoming our first sets of volunteer crews in the coming weeks. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our brothers and sisters who are stateside. Admittedly, there is a bit of trepidation as we begin to welcome these groups because we aren’t able to plan for them as we wish we could. Simple tasks like getting supplies, food, and transportation are anything but simple these days. But we trust that God will supply all we need and that the groups we host will be blessed with abundant patience and show us grace during these difficult times.

FEMA set up a table in our pavilion and signed people up for assistance programs during the lunch hours. My Brothers Workshop Café continues to serve up over 1000 meals every day and their workshop in Tutu continues to send crews out to assist homeowners with home repairs. The Salvation Army is busy distributing clothes and they are making plans to restore their kitchen facilities. The adopt a family VI boxes are arriving and ready for distribution as well. Thank you Pamela Engle and all of your friends! This week we hope to start a program for kids in the neighborhoood who are still out of school to give them something positive to do for a part of their day. More to come on that next week as we see how it unfolds!

As things continue to evolve on St Thomas we continue to assess the best way that we can serve and we want to keep you updated as well. We appreciate your support! Having received supplies and with several containers on their way, moving forward we will gratefully receive financial donations to assist us with long term recovery and encourage you to give (more information available below). We recommend a financial donation as your dollar can go further in purchasing items locally and supporting our economy as well as providing necessary supplies and support for both our own and our partner organizations.

The islands are still getting regular downpours and our thoughts and prayers immediately turn to those who are still living in homes without roofs. They are many. Tarps are needed more than ever!! At the end of this past week, we received 30 FEMA tarps and are hopeful that we will continue to receive more! Here it is VI-Puerto Rico Friendship Day this week. There won’t be any of the regular celebration but we are giving thanks for our friends in Puerto Rico who supported us after Irma with so many relief supplies. We pray for their recovery now as well.

Sunday worship this past week was uplifting and comforting. Reverend Fred Northup shared the message and I was relieved of that responsibility. Not only did it give me a little extra time last week but I was blessed to be able to sit at the feet of another preacher. In the midst of supply runs and fixing flat tires, I had the privilege of sharing two Bibles with neighbors who requested them. I was also able to sit with an elderly blind woman in one of our shelters and praying the Lord's prayer with her. The word of the Lord...is what we need most, and your prayers.

Your prayers and support are sustaining us. Thank you!

Ways to Donate:

Through our website (this will take you to a Paypal link. Add in Memo: Hurricane Relief) -

http://stthomasreformedchurch.org/g-i-v-i-n-g/online-giving/

Mail a check payable to St. Thomas Reformed Church - PO Box 301769, St. Thomas VI 00803. Please add in Memo: Hurricane Relief. Any monetary donations to St. Thomas Reformed Church are tax deductible. Also, we are humbled by the outpouring of support and offer of volunteer crews. If you have a desire to come to St. Thomas and work on this effort, please contact us! We would LOVE to have you. If you're interested, please contact Nicole Jackson, our Youth and Retreat Center Coordinator at youth@stthomasreformedchurch.org.

You can check out more info about MBW by visiting their website at www.mybrothersworkshop.org or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MyBrothersWorkshop

I know many of you may not be on Facebook, but I encourage you to visit our page periodically (it is a public page, so you don't even need a log in to view) to follow our transformational journey, fully replete with highs and lows and just as many miracles. Here is the link for that: https://www.facebook.com/stthomasreformedchurch/

This email is just a snapshot of a few of the things we continue to do working together and it all hinges on your support from afar. Thank you!!

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