Thursday, March 3, 2016

Devastated by the Storm!!

There are so many things that we take for granted. Living in the Pacific Northwest, weather is one of them. We get rain, that's for sure, and occasional flooding. But when it comes to natural disasters that can level a whole city we have been very fortunate. They say one is coming for us, but for now we have been blessed.

So, when we hear about these disasters that happen all around the world it is hard to imagine the gravity of what it means. Sometimes I think it's like something from a movie. We will talk to our friends and co-workers about it, "Can you believe what happened?", and then we just continue with our day. It becomes a topic of conversation, but then we never actually do anything about it.

Then it happens in an area where we have friends. When you have family and friends that are affected by one of these natural disasters it becomes a lot more real.

Last summer my wife and I journeyed over to the small island of Fiji and met some amazing people. Just over a week ago a Cyclone hit that island and left its impression on much of the area where we visited. This storm has been dubbed Cyclone Winston and had winds that set new records. If this storm had taken place in the Alantic it would have been considered a category 5 hurricane. Needless to say it was enough to devastate cities and towns all across the small island.

Our dear friends Tomasi & Serina's home after the storm
This is an excerpt from the email I received from our friends:

One week ago, Fiji was hit with what they say is the worst storm on record in the southern hemisphere: a category 5 cyclone called Winston.  The death toll is currently at 42.  Many have lost everything, as their homes were ripped up and blown away by the 220 mph winds.

Because of this storm there are now children without parents, people finding shelter in caves, entire villages flattened, churches and schools demolished.  62,000 people are in evacuation centers. Everyone knows someone who has been affected. 

OUR HOUSEHOLD, AND ALL OF THE ISLAND ENCOUNTERS STAFF AND TEAM ARE FINE.  We have sustained damage to the farm and sailboat but we are all okay. The clean up and rebuilding in Fiji will take a long time, and we hope to do what we can to help.

So what do we do when something like this happens? How can we help? For most of us it would not be feasible to drop everything and go over there. So what do we do? There are ways you can help those affected by this Cyclone without even leaving the comfort of your own home. First of all pray. Pray for the people of Fiji and also that Island Encounter's will be able to effectively minister the Love of God to those who are hurting.

Also, Ray & Laura Pittman with Island Encounters are on the ground ready to help, but there are costs that come along with that. If you want to help in the clean up and rebuilding of these homes and villages follow the below link to give a tax deductible donation to Island Encounters through the Pioneers website.

CLICK HERE to make a tax deductible gift through Pioneers to help with cyclone relief! Your donation will help Island Encounters to re-build houses, and give food and supplies to those most in need. ENTER ACCT #150864H

Here are some more pictures of storm damage in Fiji
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