‘There Is Hope’: Samaritan’s Purse Offers Aid after Rash of Deadly Storms
A week after a string of catastrophic tornadoes took the lives of at least 26 people in Mississippi and neighboring states, another devastating storm system left a massive path of destruction and death across Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi (again), Illinois, Indiana, and Delaware, leaving at least 32 dead. The abnormally high death tolls, the ferocity of the storms, and the extent of the devastation has left many searching for both much needed material aid and for answers as to what God might be trying to say amidst the tragedy.
On Monday, Luther Harrison, vice president of North American Ministries for Samaritan’s Purse, joined “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to discuss how his organization is helping the victims of the storms make ends meet.
“We have five active sites going right now,” he explained. “[In] some areas [where] houses are totally destroyed, [we] help [people] search for keepsakes, things that can be recovered and just [be a] ministry of presence, be there, and just support them, help them through this journey and let them know that God sent this army of volunteers to represent him, to minister to them, and that the Holy Spirit’s right there beside them, working in their hearts, hopefully to show them there is hope to come through this storm.”
Harrison went on to emphasize that ongoing financial and spiritual support from the American people will be crucial in addressing the needs of the victims.
“Go to our website SamaritansPurse.org and we would ask [people to] pray for these families,” he underscored. “Franklin Graham made a commitment that we would replace up to 500 mobile homes in the state of Mississippi as we were dealing with that storm prior to the past weekend. … [R]ight now [we’re] trying to get a better assessment on what can we do to help those families permanently and [in] the other three states that we’re working in now, too. These families need our prayers and need financial support. We need volunteers that can come alongside of them and just love on them and help them through this recovery.”
Harrison further described the ongoing efforts of Samaritan’s Purse in places like Turkey, where the country is still struggling to dig out of earthquakes that have so far claimed over 50,000 lives, as well as their continued efforts in the devastated American Southeast.
“You can’t leave one of these situations until everything’s at peace,” he declared “So it’s not who gets there first. It’s who leaves last. And we want to be those folks that are there after the cameras are gone, helping these families and getting them tied into a local church. There may be more storms coming other than natural disasters for these families.”
For Perkins, the convergence of such deadly events over the course of a week should cause the country to pause and look heavenward for guidance.
“Now, this is two weekends in a row with heartbreaking weather events,” he observed. “And I tell you what, with everything currently taking place in our country, [with] these shootings … [and with] these storms that have taken significant lives. And in fact, [with] our early warning systems … oftentimes these storms [create] a lot of destruction, but not a lot of loss of life. And that’s what I think makes these last two weekends stand out. … I think this should be causing us to stop and say, ‘Lord, what’s going on?’ And we need to be praying.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.