Thursday, February 21
On September 4, 2011, the most devastating wildfire in Texas history ignited in the Bastrop-Smithville area. When the fire had finally been controlled some 36 days later, it had burned 34,000 acres and destroyed 1,600 homes and numerous businesses, shops, and farms. When the disciples and Jesus faced the seemingly impossible task of feeding the 5,000, Jesus asks the disciples, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” We believe Jesus was asking them to take stock of their resources and to trust that no matter how overwhelmed they felt, with God all things are possible.
When the smoke had cleared and the people of First Presbyterian Church of Smithville and Bastrop Presbyterian Fellowship went out to “see” and take stock of their situation, the grief was palpable. Their prayers for help were answered quickly as Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Presbyterian congregations in Mission Presbytery rallied to their aid. God’s mysterious presence has also been “seen” in the formation of Faith Village, where Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians have joined forces to convert the old Baptist church building into a hosting site for short-term missions groups.
PDA has provided host-site leadership, in Jim and Marilyn Marble, and Long-Term Recovery Team training for everyone involved.
Alan Ford, chair of Mission Presbytery’s Long-Term Recovery Team, says this fire and local response will dominate Presbyterian ministry in the area until the last house on the last road is rebuilt.
Mission Presbytery serves 147 congregations and their 29,398 members. Within its bounds are Presbyterian Pan American School, Trinity University, Schreiner University, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Mo Ranch, and John Knox Ranch.
Let us join in prayer for:
Hilary Shuford, executive presbyter
Karen Stocks, stated clerk
Ruben Armendariz, consultant for church development
Lita Simpson, youth ministry director
Kathy Anderson, executive director, John Knox Ranch
Martha Flores, office manager
Cathy Hooker, office assistant
Pam DuBois, accountant
Bill Spinks, video conference technician
Charlotte Hains, Lay Leadership Institute
Young Adult Volunteers
Jamie Karnetsky, Kelsey Penn, and Katherine Sweeney, community development interns, San Antonio DOOR site
Eric Koenig, Piper Madison, and Sarah Wildt, community development interns, Ayava House at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Let us pray
Gracious God, in these times of shrinking resources and overwhelming need, grant us faith to see not only the need but your abundance, to see the faces of your people and not just statistics. Thanks be to God. Amen.