The tragedy on Maui has filled the news. Pictures and video of the 1800’s era town of Lahaina left us speechless and filled with a familiar sense of grief and dismay. However, God is always present, and this is reflected in the actions of the conference administrators, employees, and members.
As one of the NCC Disaster Response Team members and having worked through many disasters, Laurie Trujillo, director of communication and development, explains, “Disaster recovery falls into four phases. The first 24 to 48 hours are the most critical and the most difficult for disaster response teams because the information is limited. However, Hawaii Conference President, Erik VanDenburgh, was able to get cash and support to the shell-shocked victims immediately.”
The Hawaii Conference post reported that the Kahului church provides emergency shelter for over 40 displaced church members and community residents. In addition to shelter, they ensure people have essential supplies and nutritious meals in collaboration with other nonprofits. Mark Tamaleaa, ACS response team leader, reports, “The compassion and selflessness of the Kahului church members is extraordinary.”
VanDenburgh wrote, “We are dedicated to providing care and avenues for spiritual rejuvenation and moments of joy. As we navigate this challenging and uncertain time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing compassionate, comprehensive support.”
NCC has contributed $25,000 to the Hawaii Conference to assist with the immediate, emergent, and long-term needs of members and those connected to churches and schools. Marc Woodson, NCC president, states, “We understand the pain, trauma, and challenges our sister conference in Hawaii is facing and the difficult road to recovery.”
The best way to help is by contributing to the Maui Fire Relief Fund. In the future, there may be opportunities to volunteer and donate items. Keep checking the Hawaii Conference Website and social media accounts for more information.
Featured in Northern Lights, August 17, 2023