"When you have something like this the focus shifts from where your ministry is to helping people, which it should," said Grace Ministries International's Sam Vinton. "We might be looking for our own church people but you don't stop there. This gives us the opportunity, then, to be able to minister spiritually to those who are hurting. So, I think that this could very much enhance even our evangelistic outreach in that area."
GMI has three high-schools that educate about 2,000 students. They also have eight or nine churches there and have not reported damage to any of them.
Vinton said that national church leaders should be meeting shortly to determine how they can help with relief efforts in the area. Pastors will also be assessing the needs of their communities and contacting GMI soon.
The greatest need continues to be food supplies. "I'm sure that will be one of the areas we'll have to try to get funding to help people who have lost their crops, and who have a difficult time surviving at this time," said Vinton. GMI may also be helping provide housing to those who are displaced.
These situations should remind us to be thankful Vinton explained. "These situations cause us to have sorrow and compassion, but also I think, for those of us who are not being effected that way, it should just cause us to have a heart of thanksgiving to the Lord."
Vinton said, "I think that, those of us, quite often read about these things and it happens seemingly so often all around the world that we get, in a sense, to the place that its just another picture, another news item, whereas we need to understand that these are real people."
Pray for those who are suffering, as well as for wisdom for relief for relief workers would who are trying to meet their needs. Anyone who wants to help can visit their Web site.