Describing God’s church as the “body of Christ,” Paul wrote, “If one member suffers, all members suffer with it” (1 Cor. 12:26, NKJV).
It’s in that spirit that the Adventist Review editorial team extends an earnest appeal to pray for all residents of Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the U.S. states of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas because of the destruction and damage caused by Hurricane Laura. Millions of people and tens of thousands of Adventist believers live, work, and worship in these areas. Hurricane Laura created havoc with travel, communication, electrical power, and emergency services, and resulted in casualties, with substantial home and infrastructure losses.
According to media reports, after causing the deaths of 21 people in Haiti and 4 in the Dominican Republic, Laura experienced a period of rapid deepening on August 26 over the Gulf of Mexico. Later that day, the Category 4 hurricane attained peak winds of 150 mph (240 kph). Early on August 27, Laura made landfall near peak intensity close to Cameron, in southwestern Louisiana.
Flooding rains, including accumulations of up to six inches of rainfall, are expected in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys between Friday and Saturday (Sabbath), August 29.
Adventist Community Services Preparations
Adventist Community Services (ACS) for the Southwestern Union Conference, the Louisiana-Arkansas Conference, and the Texas Conference, the North American Division (NAD) church regions that include the states affected, have been in preparation mode for at least a week, starting to mobilize teams for operation.
On the morning of August 27, just hours after Laura’s landfall, NAD ACS Disaster Response director W. Derrick Lea reported that even though they knew it would be a challenging situation for the next few days, Adventist teams were confident that God would bless their efforts to benefit those affected. “We will stay in contact throughout the day and night with our team leads during the duration of this weather event. We ask for our church members to pray for efforts in the Gulf region and other parts of the NAD," Lea said.
According to June 2019 statistics, the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference includes 92 Seventh-day Adventist churches and 13,417 members.
On the California Wildfires
Adventist Church leaders also called for prayers for California, where wildfires have caused deaths, injuries, property destruction, and many evacuations. “Currently, our Central California Conference ACS director Antonio Herta set up the campground and housed upwards of 1,500 people who’ve sought shelter from the fires,” Lea reported on August 27. “We have offered both the Central California Conference and the Pacific Union Conference support, and many conferences from outside the affected areas have advised of their willingness to assist as appropriate,” he shared.
The Central California Conference is home to 132 Adventist congregations and 34.336 members.
With additional information from the North American Division news site.