"How is Watermark responding to the latest crisis in the world?” is a question we get on a regular basis. Whether it is a tornado in Moore, OK, a hurricane in Mexico, or an earthquake on the other side of the world (like the one that struck near Kathmandu, Nepal, on Saturday), our body feels compelled to respond. As Christ-followers that response is natural, as we’ve been called to be “the hands and feet of Christ” and “the light of the world.”
But we’ve also been called by God to be good stewards of the resources He provides us, and so with compassion for those hurting following a disaster must come discernment that leads us to give to organizations that will faithfully use the funds given to meet the needs on the ground.
What about Going?
We also get inquiries from well-meaning folks who feel a sense of calling to go into disaster areas. In some cases – like a tornado strike in Moore – that might make sense, because the individual has unique skills and/or supplies that are needed in the initial stages. Typically, medical providers or mobile food providers fit into this category (depending on the needs). In the relief stage these are needed, and resources are scarce.
For our church, we’re always on the lookout to help in places where we have connections to either local churches or other organizations. When these organizations invite us to respond physically, or other strategic ways to help present themselves, we are open to those opportunities.
But, for most of us, the skills and provisions we might bring “in the moment” are instead needed for the recovery effort that follows in the months after relief. So for us to show up as volunteers who cannot fill specific needs – whether in Moore or Nepal – is more harm than help.
What Helps Most in the “Relief Stage”?
So, how do we respond to the earthquake in Nepal that has caused destruction, homelessness, and death on a large scale? We do so by directing our body to organizations that we have vetted in the past as faithful stewards of the provision they receive.
So as you see the need in Nepal (or the next place that experiences a disaster), investigate before you give. Look for targeted giving that in the early stages is focused on relief – relief from immediate shortages of basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and medical supplies/treatment.
Three Opportunities to Help
In Nepal, Samaritans Purse (samaritanspurse.org), World Relief (worldrelief.org), and World Vision (worldvision.org) are all organizations that Watermark has partnered with in the past in response to disasters – whether in Haiti, Grandbury, Texas, or even Congo. Each of these organizations is prepared to respond to the relief needs in Nepal, do so in such a way that their presence is a benefit and not a hindrance, and present the gospel as the “Why” behind the “What.” (Each of the organizations also provide info for a better understanding of the situation.)
As you prayerfully consider how God might call you to respond to a relief need, the above organizations are ones we would encourage you to consider supporting. We would also remind you that for every relief effort that is in the headlines today, there are numerous recovery and development efforts going on around the world that Watermark is actively engaged in helping. To join us in those effort,s go to watermark.org/impact and join us.