Journeying With Jesus

The Adventure of Faith

Be Prepared

The California fires in May underlined a stark reality for the Gathering- we were not ready or prepared to be first responders in the event of a disaster. Like many others we had not learned a thing from 9/11 or Katrina. People were made homeless in our own backyard and we didn’t know what to do or how to do it. Worse yet, we did not have the mindset that when disaster strikes we would be the first in line to help.

BE PREPARED!

BE PREPARED!

It was partially through the efforts of Jim in San Jose that things began to change. You see right after the fires occurred on the Summit Rd in Santa Cruz, Jim went up to see how the people were doing. He found 30+ had lost their homes and half did not have any insurance. People were sleeping in their cars, in tents, without running water or food. Many lost everything they had. “What are we going to do about it” he asked us?

It took three or four weeks of prodding by Jim before our first volunteers went up to the fire victims to help. That began the emergence of a neighborly friendship between the Gathering and those who had suffered devastation. Jim was able to mobilize other churches too and that site is going through clean up, reclamation, and hopefully rebuilding. You often wonder what one person can do…but in Jim’s case, not only was he able to bring hope and help to our Summit neighbors, but he was able to catalyze many followers of Jesus to live out their faith in practical service.

As a result of these events, we believe the Lord would have us be FIRST RESPONDERS in the event of a disaster. Be it the ever famous California Earthquake that will someday be here, a devastating tsunami, more fires, or a neighbor who experiences a tragic loss, we want to automatically step forward to help. We have discovered that to be a volunteer in the event of a disaster, agencies require that you have a measure of training first. So for this season, we have encouraged our people to be trained.

This past Saturday, we have now had 19 of our adults complete the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training being offered by the fire department. A few others are still in training there. We have had two people complete the Red Cross training and are already deployed to both Gustaf and Ike in the South. We are offering Pastoral Crisis Intervention training on the 26-27th of September which provides certification to act as a “faith-based” counselor for those suffering trauma in a crisis. More than anything, I am encouraged to see people step up and be ready to volunteer in times of need. That mental switch has been thrown…people see themselves as First Responders in the event of disasters.

We want to bring the love of Jesus to people in times of need. We see three practical steps for anyone to take to be a FIRST RESPONDER.

1. Make sure your own house is order. Is your family ready for a disaster? Do you have a family plan, extra supplies of food and water, a first aid kit, the necessary tools, and clothing? Do you know how to shut off the gas or water from your home, do you have fire extinguishers and do you know how to use them? We have some links to great resources and pdf files you can download from our web site to help you get personally ready (www.gatheringbythebay.org).

2. Get training. We have a list of great training resources on our web page. In most cases, if you are not trained you will not be allowed to serve. We highly recommend CERT training for people as a great way to get prepared for any disaster.

3. Be ready to disciple interested people. Tragedy tears down walls. When you come in with Jesus’ love people often want to know more. Be available to disciple interested parties and introduce them to Jesus. We have fifteen people right now learning how to disciple inquirers, new believers and peers. We avoid being obnoxious and we won’t make any service or love conditional…but if God opens doors in people’s hearts we want to have the joy of sharing Jesus with them.

Are you ready? How prepared are you?

September 15, 2008 Posted by | House Church, Lessons learned | , , | Leave a comment