Disaster Response work is a wonderful opportunity for living out faith. I am not skilled in building or rebuilding, so I give thanks for the many folks on our crew who have those skills. They do the heavy lifting in terms of carpentry, dry wall, building. I go along to cheer, to paint, to help out wherever I can and to meet people. And every year we meet some wonderful folks!
This year we met Tammy. Tammy’s house was so damaged by flooding from the Tippecanoe River that it had to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. I was told that Tammy had a job but was laid off. She had no idea what she would do. For many weeks after the flood she would return to her ruined house, “and wait for the angels to come.”
Along the way Tammy developed cancer and now has a tracheotomy in her throat. So when she talks it is labored. She told me the day I met her that she was getting ready to begin 37 treatments of chemo. Each day she would drive two hours to get the treatment, and two hours back home.
Tammy’s only asset in this world is her home. She lives in absolute terror that she will lose her home because of her medical bills.
I don’t know that I think of myself as an angel, and I’ll leave it to others to decide if others on our crew are angels. But I do know this. Tammy is why I do Disaster Relief. Because Brethren Disaster Ministries reached out to her, Tammy has a rebuilt beautiful new home that is probably ten feet up off the ground. So the Tippecanoe can flood again and she will be O.K.
To give to the “Tammy’s” of this world is a high calling. And the joy it brings cannot be matched. Surely such joy filled living is the abundant life Jesus taught about and calls us to.
God bless you Tammy! Thank you God for Brethren Disaster Ministries! Thank you, God for willing hands and hearts, 16 of them this year, at Grossnickle Church of the Brethren and Middletown United Methodist Church.
How about next year? Would you come along?
Tim Ritchey Martin
Grossnickle Church of the Brethren