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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Robert Bingham

Lessons From Katrina

Robert Bingham served as a pastor for a quarter century until the Assemblies of God Mississippi District asked him to head its newly created disaster response ministry in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. During the past five years Bingham, 48, has helped Mississippians recover from Katrina. He also has helped other people in the throes of disaster. As a way of repaying the kindness shown to Katrina victims, Bingham has aided tornado victims in Kansas, flooded Georgians and hurricane-impacted Texans. Bingham recently spoke by phone with Evangel News Editor John W. Kennedy from a storm-ravaged site in his home state.

evangel: How has Katrina changed the Church?
BINGHAM: It helped the Church realize its vulnerabilities — and unique opportunities for ministry — during times of disaster. Most of the heavy support we now receive comes from areas that were affected by Katrina. It has caused an awakening in the Church. It’s like in the Scripture (Luke 16) when Lazarus sat at the gate of the rich man who passed by every day and overlooked his needs. Sometimes it’s easy for the Church to walk by people and overlook their needs.

evangel: How can Christians be better prepared for disasters?
Realize that we are living in the end days, and we’re going to see an increase in disasters, especially with the weather. As Matthew 24:45 says, the wise and faithful servant will be prepared to meet needs. People can prepare a 72-hour kit not only for themselves, but also for the elderly and disabled. Beyond the physical needs in the first 72 hours, people will need certain emotional and spiritual care. I also encourage pastors to take a look at their building makeup and see how it can become a haven in time of calamity. If a tornado is headed your way on Sunday morning, do your people know where to go to be safe?

evangel: How is God’s faithfulness evident through tragedy and its aftermath?
I can tell you story after story in dealing with Katrina that whatever we needed appeared when we needed it. For example, several days after Katrina, a friend of mine from the Gulf Coast called and said they needed Gatorade. I told him we didn’t have any, but that God would come through. No sooner had I hung up the phone when it rang again, and a pastor up north said he had two 18-wheelers loaded with Gatorade and wondered if we needed them. That’s God’s faithfulness.

evangel: And this has been evident to many individuals.
BINGHAM: The little community of Dulac, La., was hit by hurricanes Gustav and Ike a week apart in September 2008. We went in to help a flooded independent church that had no more than 20 people attending on a Sunday morning. Because of faithful families going out to help them work on their homes, the church joined the Assemblies of God. By Easter the following year, the church was running 75 attendees.


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