History has shown us that a disaster can significantly impact our lives with little or no notice. Emergency preparedness is vitally important. There are many resources to help women get their homes ready for a disaster, whether it is a tornado, major snowstorm, flood, earthquake or other crisis event.
The history of disaster preparedness and response in the United States can be traced back to the early days of our country. During the 20th century, we have seen it take on a more organizational approach. The Salvation Army began its work in disaster response during the great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The Army’s first service was performed by individuals who walked the streets, carrying water and coffee, hoping to give just a bit more energy to the suffering and those who arrived to help the city recover from tragedy. There were no sophisticated mobile kitchens at that time but rather people helping people doing God’s work.
- Invite the local Emergency Management Director to provide a presentation on emergency preparedness.
- Invite the Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director to provide a program on emergency preparedness.
If possible, request the Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director to bring a canteen and demonstrate service. If the corps has a canteen, invite a local team to serve from the canteen.
- Hot dogs
- Cold beverage and coffee
- The Department of Homeland Security recommends that each household have a basic disaster supply kit. Ask the women to break up into groups and put together a kit (on paper). Provide the women with a list of recommended items from the following website: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
- The Department of Homeland Security also recommends that each household have a disaster emergency plan. Ask the women to break up into groups and put together a plan for their household. Additional guidance can be found from the following website: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Have the women watch the following video – https://ready.gov “Six Things You Should Know Before a Disaster.”
Plan a fundraiser. The proceeds could be used to purchase disaster cleanup kits to be utilized at your corps or donated to the Divisional EDS Department. The kits can be purchased from Precise Kit Promotions, Inc. for a cost of $20.00 per kit.
Read Matthew 25:1–13.
In September of 2018, Hurricane Florence approached the Carolinas as a category four hurricane. Predictions were that the impact would be catastrophic. The Salvation Army began to mobilize its response. The Hurricane Florence Incident Management Team/Area Command assembled at Divisional Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, Mobile Feeding units from Charlotte, Hickory, Greensboro, North Carolina as well as mobile feeding units from Greenville and Anderson South Carolina were deployed to provide support to those affected along the coast. The South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief organization came alongside the Charleston Salvation Army to assist in providing hot meals. Multiple staging and logistical centers were established in North and South Carolina and Virginia. An additional 27 mobile units from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee were deployed to Charlotte, North Carolina and Roanoke, VA. After the storm passed, they were deployed to affected areas as needed. The Salvation Army also provided mass feeding in shelters, Emergency Operation Centers and wherever local emergency management requested services. The Salvation Army was prepared when the storm hit.
In Matthew 25:1-13, we read about The Parable of the Ten Virgins. In this parable, Jesus teaches believers about the importance of vigilance in an uncertain time and about endurance. He tells about 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of the virgins were considered wise and five were considered foolish. The wise virgins took extra oil with them and the foolish virgins did not. The bridegroom was delayed and they all fell asleep. The bridegroom finally arrived at midnight. The virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. At this point in time, the foolish virgins were in need of more oil. They asked the wise virgins to give them some from their supply. The wise virgins refused, stating that they would not have enough for their lamps as well as for the foolish virgins. The wise virgins told the foolish virgins to go buy some oil. Unfortunately, while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. The wise virgins who were ready went with him to the wedding banquet. When the foolish virgins arrived at the banquet door, they were not granted entrance. The bridegroom stated, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you, therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or hour.”
The parable is summed up in verse 13. “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or hour.” As believers, we must be vigilant. We must continually tend to our spiritual lives, be reading and studying His Word. We must be growing in our spiritual lives and in our relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must not let our spiritual lives go dry. Unlike the virgins who needed to refill their lamps, we must continually feed our spiritual lives and continually prepare for His return.
A life of vigilance is evident in the following ways according to Matthew’s Gospel:
- Bearing witness to God’s kingdom by welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned (25:1-46).
- Making disciples in all the world (28:19-20).
When we are vigilant in seeking an abundant spiritual life in full anticipation of Christ’s return, He will be waiting with open arms to receive us into His kingdom, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”