Louisiana Floods Update - August 17

A federal disaster declaration has been issued for over 20 parishes in the state of Louisiana. These historic floods that have even inundated areas that don't normally flood, have been caused by river and bayou overflow and constant heavy downpours. Latest reports indicate that around 30,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed and at least 200,000 people displaced in shelters, hotels, or living with relatives. There are 11 people identified as dead, but several who are still missing. Currently, there is a curfew in affected areas (10:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m.) for fear and prevention of looting. The victims have been urged by the state government to apply for FEMA Disaster services.

The Greater New Orleans and other Adventist Churches have donated clothing to the New Orleans Sheriff Department, led by Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Sr. The Southwest Region Conference ACS DR Team, led by Coordinator Irene Williams, has picked up food items, pampers, personal hygiene supplies, bed linen, adult disposable diapers, etc. Many of these items are being brought to the Westbank Seventh-day Adventist Church located in New Orleans, which will then be brought to the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church for distribution. Westbank Church has purchased a bus and is waiting for its approval to transport the donated items from Berean Church to Baton Rouge. There are plans underway of a Warehouse operation in Baton Rouge. Assistance would be needed in unloading, stocking, and distributing the donated goods. There are also inquiries as to living quarters for volunteers who may be coming in to assist.

Items for donation include: baby clothes and supplies, disposable diapers for children and adults, bottled water, non- perishable food items, slightly used and new clothing, brand new underwear, shoes and socks, brand new flip-flops, cleaning supplies, bed linen/towels, school supplies, and etc. Monetary donations are also accepted at www.mysouthwestregion.org.

Thousands Evacuated in the Aftermath of California Fires

Intense wildfires raged through the State of California over the weekend, resulting in significant amount of loss and damage. The official estimate on the Clayton fires in Lake County as of Aug 16 (Tuesday) morning is: 4,000 acres, 20% contained, & 175 structures destroyed. This is significant in that it has been only 5% contained for a few days and the size remains about the same! Damin Anthony Pashilk (40), who is suspected of starting the fires, is charged with 17 counts of arson in Lake County including the 4,000 acres.

Fire teams across northern California are deploying strike teams to attempt to extinguish the fires as soon as possible. NAD ACS Disaster Response director, W. Derrick Lea, will be meeting with Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) to coordinate assistance for Recovery efforts from other faith based organizations. Several schools and Adventist churches in Lake County are actively involved in the Clayton Fire Evacuation Centers, providing support and assistance for the evacuees. The Lakeport Church has opened its doors to the survivors and had about 15 individuals on the first night. They are being assisted by the Red Cross. The Middletown Adventist Church and Kelseyville High School have also agreed to allow the Red Cross to house volunteers. 

Please let us remember the families and survivors that are going through this tragedy.

The Clayton fire near Lower Lake, CA, on August 13, 2016, as seen from near St. Helena hospital. Photo by: Lizeth Bedolla.

The Clayton fire near Lower Lake, CA, on August 13, 2016, as seen from near St. Helena hospital. Photo by: Lizeth Bedolla.

Historic Flooding Strikes Louisiana

 Historic flooding has struck Louisiana once again this year, affecting many parts in the south region. According to the National Weather Service, these floods are worse than the ones that happened in March which affected over 40,000 families in LA. Over the weekend, many areas have received more than 20 inches of rain and are still inundated with increasing water levels. Since these areas are inaccessible because of road closures, ACS is attempting to get food and supplies to those affected via boats.

The Baton Rouge Spanish Church has reported that 90% of their members were forced out of their homes and evacuated. Some members from other churches in the area, as well as two Adventist pastors, too have had their homes heavily affected. The Baton Rouge Church, along with the Kenner and Metairie Churches in New Orleans, are currently housing shelter for the evacuees. Several churches in Arkansas and Northern Louisiana are operating collection centers to gather much needed emergency items which will be distributed to those affected.

The Arkansas-Louisiana ACS Disaster Team led by Lavida Whitson is actively involved in the Recovery efforts. They will be lending cots and mattresses to Kenner church. They are also in contact with the local food bank to make arrangements to feed the evacuees. ACS has also been asked to open a Multi-Agency Warehouse in Baton Rouge to accept donated goods for the survivors. The Texas Conference Disaster Response Team, led by Joe and Sherri Watts, along with Elder Durandale Ford, ACS Director of Southwest Regional Conference, are connecting with those on the ground and offering support to our efforts taking place in the State. NAD ACS has also worked with Irene Williams of the Southwest Regional Conference who is issuing Comfort kits, and connected their team with the National Association of Katrina Evacuees, a group we worked with during Katrina 10 years ago. In addition to ACS, Red Cross has also assisted in the Recovery efforts by housing over 10,000 evacuees on Sunday night.

Currently in Louisiana

  • Over 8000 people were in shelters on Monday night.
  • Over 40,800 people have registered with FEMA as of 11:00 am on Tuesday.
  • Thousands of volunteers have come from all over the country to support Louisiana. 

Monetary donations are being accepted now. 

Send a check to:
ArkLa Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Disaster Fund
PO Box 31000
Shreveport, LA 71130

Online donations at this link: http://www.arklacsda.org/article/5/online-giving

Let us keep Louisiana in our thoughts and prayers!

Orient SDA Church Ministry

The Orient Seventh-day Adventist Church located in Orient, Washington state, is one of the very many smaller churches in the North American region. With a town population of 113 inhabitants, the church has been growing gradually over time. This little church that started out with 6 members has now grown to a 30-member congregation. The Church has recently welcomed a new member to their family, Rebecca who has accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and was baptized last month. Their growth comes from their weekly outreach of their food bank and clothing closet where they serve around 40 families per week. No church is too small to make a big impact in their community!

Below are a few pictures from Rebecca's Baptism:

ACS Launches Furniture Warehouse

ACS is planning to open a furniture warehouse in Richmond, TX (Brazoria County, southwest of Houston) in the ongoing response to the recent devastating floods that occurred in June. ACS has been operating a multi-agency warehouse in Angelton, TX, under the direction of Linda Walker, Southwest Region Conference, and also a distribution center at the Richwood Spanish Church. Several volunteers from our local churches have been actively involved. ACS has now been requested to set up a furniture warehouse to meet the ongoing needs of those affected by the floods. This entire response is a combined effort of Texas Conference and Southwest Region churches.