Camp Fire Ravages California

The camp fire that started in Butte County, Northern California, last Thursday (November 8) spread rapidly moving into the town of Paradise and surrounding areas. The Fire which has destroyed 125,000 acres of land and taken the lives of over 40 people still continue to rage. Several homes, schools, churches, and hospitals have been decimated. The Feather River Adventist Hospital was able to safely evacuate patients and transfer them to other facilities before being burned down. Besides the hospital, two Adventist churches and a section of the Paradise Academy campus is gone. The Paradise SDA Church has a membership of 1500 with a high school adjacent to the church. The Magalia Upper Ridge SDA Church has 150 members. The Fire which has pretty much devastated the towns of Paradise and Magalia in Northern California is considered to be the deadliest in the history of California.

The Northern California ACS Disaster Response Team, led by Jim Oliver, has been working diligently to help those in crisis in response to the recent Camp fire. Texas ACS Directors, Marshall and Julie Gonzales, are also lending their support to the Relief Efforts. Our churches in Oroville and Chico have opened their doors to evacuees. The Chico SDA Church has been approved by American Red Cross (ARC) as a shelter, but right now is assisting the victims with blankets, towels, toiletries, clothes, and etc. Residents are able to stay at other Sunday churches in Chico that are set up as shelters with the ARC. Southern California is also experiencing fires, as well. The Woolsey Fire has affected Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Our Pacific Union DR Coordinator Charlene Sargent and her Team are on the ground managing the situation there.

Please pray for the families who have lost loved ones, and for the safety of the survivors and responders.

Click here to help with the Northern California Paradise Fire relief.

Click here to help with the Southern California Woolsey Fire relief.

Special Acknowledgment - Terry Haight

We regret to announce the passing of Terry Haight, our Georgia-Cumberland Conference ACS DR Director. Terry has worked with us for several years and was one of the best representatives of our Mission of serving in Christ’s name. Terry and his Team was recently involved in the Hurricane Michael Recovery Efforts over the last month in the State of Georgia. The two most-affected counties, Seminole and Daugherty, had reached out to us to set up Warehouses. Terri worked with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to identify facilities in both counties that could house these operations.

GEMA wanted Terry and his Team in the Warehouse in Donalsonvile (Seminole county) right away, but there was nowhere within a 100-mile radius to house them. Moreover, there was no electricity in the county, either. So, they waited, awaiting developments until it was difficult to hold off any longer. Finally, they decided to leave and trust in the Lord for the housing. The day they were supposed to load the truck, they received a call from GEMA notifying them that they had located motel rooms in Dothan, AL which was 31 miles away from the Warehouse, for two weeks.

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In addition to the Warehouses, Terry efficiently led his Team in serving six Distribution Sites in various areas in Georgia. Since many rural areas didn’t have electricity for a long time, they were desperate for food and other necessities. Terry took the initiative on operating a mobile distribution which helped deliver supplies to some of the more remote areas. He also served the hurricane survivors who were sheltered at the Operations Center by providing them shower trailers. We are truly grateful for Terry’s dedication and remarkable service to ACS, and are appreciative of all he has done to serve in his community.

Please keep Rhonda Haight, wife of Terry, and the family in your continued prayers for strength as they endure this difficult tragedy.

Typhoon Yutu Update

The Islands of Saipan and Tinian are struggling to recover from the effects of Typhoon Yutu, one of the most powerful weather events recorded in history. Since the storm touched down in late October, we have been in daily contact with our ACS DR Director Max Mays and FEMA lead Michael Kern about the needs on both of these islands. Our discussions have expanded to include the leadership of the Guam Micronesia Mission President Ken Norton.

Deliveries of supplies were sent early in the Recovery efforts to those on the ground. Most of the efforts of FEMA and other governmental entities have been put into providing shelter to the survivors. A limited number of buildings that had not been damaged by the storm were utilized for housing the residents. Tents are also being used on the land of those whose homes have been destroyed. With this primary need taking precedence, ACS is crafting a list of unmet needs we might be able to meet.

One of the areas being considered is setting up some Distribution Sites that would give out items the community is needing such as solar-powered lighting, tarps, and mosquito netting on both Islands. These Efforts will begin in Guam where items will be purchased from Home Depot and other stores, and delivered to the communities. We are also looking to set up a Warehouse in Saipan. Though the conditions on the affected Islands will create some challenges, our ACS DR team is prepared to help and currently sits on Standby awaiting a request of assistance. Since we work in coordination with the local community, our efforts will incorporate appropriate trained teams for the task that lies ahead. We will also be partnering with other NGOs, FEMA, and Military personnel to help in these areas.

Hurricane and Typhoon Relief Update

A team of 21 individuals from the Northeastern Conference joined our ACS Disaster Response forces on the ground in Florida to support the Southeastern, Florida, South Central, Gulf States, and Georgia-Cumberland Conferences responding to Hurricane Michael, presently. The State Warehouse in Tallahassee has now been operational for almost two weeks. Pastor Daniel Hoover (Arkansas-Louisiana Conference) and Charlene Sargent (Pacific Union Conference) are lending their support to the operations at the Warehouse. A County Warehouse in the State of Georgia, and Distribution Sites in Panama City and in the surrounding communities are also functioning. We are also meeting the needs of the affected residents by cleaning debris from homes and properties.

While this work continues, we are still occupied with our Guam-Micronesia Mission in support of those affected on the Islands of Saipan and Tinian by Typhoon Yutu. Several areas on both the Islands are still suffering from power outage. We have been working with our local ACS Director Max Mays and his Team to find ways on how we can best serve the affected communities. Supplies have been bought and sent to our volunteers on the ground to be distributed to the survivors. Currently, we are in discussions with FEMA and the local VOAD about the developing needs and while help is being finalized, we are working amongst ourselves and partnering with others that are able to bring resources to bear on this crisis event.

ACTS 9 Outreach Director Awarded for Service

After 21 years of dedicated service, Sandra Martin stepped down as director of ACTS 9, an Adventist Community Services outreach ministry serving the Hagerstown community in Maryland. Before her 21-year tenure as director, Sandra assisted her father, Carl Shaffer, for many years as he served as director. The ACTS 9 staff presented Martin with a crystal plaque and Lenox 2018 Heavenly Fanfare Millennium Angel porcelain figurine. Sandra was also granted the Notable Persons of Honor Award in 2014 by the Columbia Union.

The ministry name, ACTS 9, comes from the Bible verse Acts 9:36 that refers to helping the poor. Under the new directorship of Cliff Schramm, the ACTS 9 ministry will continue to build upon the years of service Sandra provided. Currently, 16 people are volunteering on Tuesdays and Thursdays, distributing donated food and clothing to the greater Hagerstown area. In September, 84 families, totaling 196 individuals, were reached by the ACTS 9 ministry team.

Article by: Mary Ellen Kirk, ACTS 9 Volunteer

  Sandra Martin (center) revives awards for her service towards ACTS 9.

Sandra Martin (center) revives awards for her service towards ACTS 9.