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Newsletter 11-22-17

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Thankful for Disaster Recovery!


We at OKUMC-DR, have the privilege of extending the hand of hope to the survivors of nature's worst.  We are thankful for the many volunteers who give of their time and talents to help bless these families who have no other resource. Hope is a powerful thing.  I'm thankful that I can be a small part of the blessing given to these families.  Thank you volunteers!


4 1/2 years ago the May 20, 2013 tornado caused a lot of destruction to the city of Moore, a community that I grew up in and know very well. Out of that destruction I was given the opportunity to serve and use my talents in construction project management with Oklahoma United Methodist Disaster Response.

Through this ministry I have crisscrossed Oklahoma and developed many new relationships with disaster survivors, volunteers, as well as the countless staff members I have worked alongside.  Every day I go to work knowing the work that I have done and will continue to do is having a positive impact on the thousands of disaster survivors and volunteers I have worked with.  At the end of the day, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the homeowners reaction after we complete the work on their home.  For this I am so THANKFUL to be a part of this great ministry of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference.  My hope is that this ministry can continue to bless many lives for many years to come.


Working for the disaster response ministry has truly been a blessing. To spend our days working with those who have had their lives turned upside down in every way imaginable, helping them get back to their new normal, diving into very real chaos and reclaiming control and order, is a blessing for all parties involved. It gives us an opportunity to constantly show Jesus. It also shows our team what it looks like to truly have faith in the face of adversity, to rely on our great God to take care of us in the face of all kinds of storms, both figurative and literal. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.


Over the last 20+ years I have been leading volunteer mission teams locally and internationally.  Many of those missions were in Belize building schools.  I have thought many times about being a full time missionary and what that experience would be like.  In spring of 2014 when I joined the Disaster Response staff I began to feel like I had become that full time missionary.  Daily working alongside others passionate about serving those impacted by a disaster taught me a lot about the disaster world I knew little about.

In Belize, the economies there leave many kids without education and some without hope of a future.  In Oklahoma, the economies some live are not unlike other parts of the world.  Being able to serve on mission in Belize was to provide hope by building more schools.  Serving on the Disaster Response staff is to provide hope to those who are in need of home repairs.  Both are in situations outside their control.  The need is great and I feel God has called me to respond.

As I continue to serve alongside hundreds of volunteers and meet amazing disaster survivors, I am forever thankful for the opportunity God has given me to serve in this capacity.


I am THANKFUL for 4 men who have unselfishly given 4 years out of their lives to serve hundreds of disaster survivors Recover from the devastating effects of a natural disaster. These men have basically put their lives on “pause” in order to serve others. Sadly our ministry together will not continue after May 31, 2018, but the impact they have made on their neighbors in need have forever changed the lives of many people, including mine!  I am and will forever be THANKFUL to my servant friends Chad Detwiler, Drew Shahan, Kevin Walker and Hal Wright!! May God Bless You My Brothers!


are the number of days we have left to serve the disaster survivors in Oklahoma.  December 31, 2017 marks the closing of the grant period for our disaster response operations.  This had been our expected ending date until last week, when the Oklahoma United Methodist Annual Conference agreed to release enough disaster funds for our staff to continue through May 31, 2018.  We are blessed by this ability to continue to meet the needs of the disaster survivors that remain from the 2015 spring storms.

If your church, organization, or company would like to be involved in long term recovery efforts we would love to share with you our model for volunteer and project management.  Our hope is that others will champion the need for long term recovery funding so that all those who survive disaster will be recovered.


families facing their third winter in a home that is not safe, sanitary and secure still need your help.  Our focus is on recovering disaster survivors who have no ability to recover on their own.  Each family meets with a disaster case manager to create a recovery plan.  If that plan involves home repair needs we work to meet that need with volunteer labor.

Each family is at a different stage in their recovery and proceed through their plan at different speeds.  Currently there are 64 projects funded and ready for volunteer teams to do the work.  There are another 163 families with possible home repair needs yet to be funded.

The need is for teams to do roofing, drywall, insulation, flooring, siding, painting… and other tasks as necessary.  Churches, businesses, schools… can review the Project Recruitment Report and either pick a project based on the skills of the volunteers or they can pick a location of a project they want to adopt.  Either option helps a disaster survivor recover!


Currently there are two volunteer team types you can choose from.  One is for experienced team leaders and volunteers to accomplish the home repairs on their own.  The second type is where the Disaster Response staff provides tools and leadership to help your team accomplish the home repairs.

  • Self Sustained Team: If you have experienced team leaders, home repair skilled volunteers… then you can choose your project from the Project Recruitment Report.  The Disaster Response staff will coordinate with you in purchasing the materials.  Your team would assess the project and make a materials list, deliver materials, supply the tools, and find your own lodging.
  • Project Managed Team: The Disaster Response staff will set up your lodging and purchase materials.  One of the project managers will make the materials delivery, provide tools needed and will also be onsite to provide project knowledge.
    • NOTE: This option is available in certain areas of the state only and will not be available after May 31, 2018 if more funding is not secured. (See Donate to Future Recoveries)


Since the spring of 2013 the Oklahoma United Methodist Church Disaster Response Ministry has been staffed with dedicated individuals aiding and assisting in the formation of volunteer teams serving across the state before, during, and after a disaster.

Since 2013 this ministry has enabled over 5,500 volunteers from 34 different states representing over 10 different denominations to serve disaster survivors across 47 of Oklahoma’s counties.  This service work has amassed over 98,000 volunteer hours valued at over $2.1 million dollars in volunteer labor.

On May 31, 2018 our volunteer and project management services will end.  There are over 200 disaster survivors still in need of recovery that will largely go unaided if this ministry staffing ends.  When a future disaster strikes who will be there to help?  Please show your extravagant generosity to aid in Oklahoma recovery efforts by helping fund this ministry.

You can make your donation in support of this disaster response ministry by calling 405-530-2032 or by email by clicking the link below.

Provide Hope to Oklahoma Disaster Survivors by Donating Today




McGinnins Construction, OK

Trinity Presbyterian Church, TX

St Stephens UMC, OK

St. Marks UMC, OK

Grove UMC, OK

Wesley Foundation SWOSU, OK

McFarllin UMC, OK

Wichita UMC, KS

Team Cross Point, OK

 NCCC AmeriCorps Water 1