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“I gave thanks again for being a United Methodist as I visited Swan Quarter to bless a home which you have built through your generosity. In eastern North Carolina and four recovery centers, we continue to lead in this good work. Volunteers have come from 32 states, giving 150,000 hours, so that over 1200 families can be assisted and helped to return home. This is a good work.
We are connected across the United Methodist Church in this work – we received $1 million through generosity through the UMCOR Advance. We continue to work house-by-house, family-by-family. General donations, in addition to the $1 million from UMCOR, have reached $650,000. Your gifts and your time and your prayers are still needed.
For many of us, the memory of this storm is a dim memory, but for the people of Swan Quarter and Aurora in eastern North Carolina, the storm is still very much with us. I visited with our marvelous staff, a home which is almost complete. The owner of the home and his wife prayed for help, were not sure where they would receive it and a pastor said to them, ‘Pray to God that you will be blessed this very day.’
That day, remembering that several people had suggested to him, ‘You need to stop by the United Methodist Disaster Response office,’ he turned in and went in. He shared his situation and the immediate response was, “We have a group of students coming down from Virginia Tech for spring break. They’ll tear down the remains of your old house and we’ll help you rebuild.” We stood together in his home, almost completely rebuilt by volunteers.
We, in the North Carolina Annual Conference, have the wonderful and unique opportunity to continue this good work. 540 homes have been restored and we are also building new homes. The home that we dedicated is almost completely finished. We gathered in the family room of this new home with volunteers who were staying for 3 weeks to work day-by-day. It was a glorious thing to join hands and give thanks to God – the same God who says in Jesus Christ, ‘I prepare a home for you. The home that I prepare has many rooms.’ We know that in the gospel of John, Jesus was speaking of our heavenly home. Providing a home in this life is a rich gift, a foreshadowing of the fullest blessing of God.
Thank you for your partnership in this good work. You are needed to pray. You are needed to volunteer and your offerings are needed so that we might finish this good work together. Thank you for all that you are doing and will do in disaster recovery in eastern North Carolina.”