Once again, you’ve stepped up in amazing Saddleback fashion. So far you’ve generously given just over a million dollars for PEACE Relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. With all the trouble in the world today, I’m thankful that God gave me a church that isn’t afraid of helping people in BIG ways.
Below is an update from PEACE Plan Pastor, Mike Constantz. Please read how your love and sacrifice is helping communities around the world!
Dear Saddleback Family and PEACE Relief Partners,
Thank you for your compassion and generosity this past month. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as devastating earthquakes in Mexico, communities have been destroyed, homes swept away, and dreams shattered. Because of you, hope is being shared through Saddleback’s PEACE Relief teams. Right now, our dedicated volunteers are bringing aid, support, and resources to local pastors and churches as they help rebuild and serve communities. It’s moments like these that are the church’s finest hour, sharing God’s love through action to those who need it most.
Here are a few updates of our PEACE Relief efforts happening right now around the world:
Hurricane Harvey Relief
When Hurricane Harvey hit land in Texas on August 25, Saddleback Church immediately responded. We sent a team to the most impacted areas to work with churches and assess the greatest needs in the recovery process. As a result, 78 pallets of donated goods including blankets, medicine, and food were collected and packaged by over 1,800 Saddleback members. Items were shipped to local churches throughout the Houston area to be directly given to displaced families in need. Our volunteers are still serving in countless ways, doing everything from tearing out drywall to ministering to broken hearts. Already roofs have been repaired, carpets torn out, and cars literally dug out of the mud. To date, Saddleback has partnered with over 200 churches throughout Texas to restore hope and healing to a devastated land.
On September 18, Pastor Rick and a group of pastors and leaders from Saddleback held a Pastor’s Gathering in Houston and Beaumont, Texas. Hundreds of pastors from across the state came together to stand with churches as they offer support and encouragement through the recovery process. As a result, 200 churches committed to partnering together on the long journey toward healing.
Hurricane Irma Relief
As the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Katrina, Hurricane Irma pummeled parts of Florida and the Caribbean. Just 48 hours later, Saddleback’s first PEACE Relief team was on the ground, working with our partner churches in Florida to offer trauma counseling and support to people in need. Our volunteers served in the local church and went door-to-door, visiting families that had been affected by the storm. In addition to sending financial support, our church donated 40 pallets of food and supplies to be distributed through our church partners. More PEACE Relief teams are scheduled to serve in Florida and Texas over the next six months.
Hurricane Maria Relief
On September 20, Puerto Rico was hit by category 4 Hurricane Maria—the island’s strongest hurricane to make landfall in 89 years. As one of the most catastrophic disasters in history, many people are still stranded in Puerto Rico with limited supplies and no electricity. Saddleback Church immediately responded to the devastation by reaching out to our PEACE partner church in Puerto Rico. Our PEACE Relief team waited on standby, ready for the moment the island would allow relief support and aid to enter.
On October 10, our first Puerto Rico PEACE Relief team will hit the ground, working directly with Pastor Ezequiel Torres whose home and church were both destroyed by the hurricane. Over the years, his church has served as Puerto Rico’s headquarters for Purpose Driven/PEACE Training, where hundreds of pastors have been equipped on church health. Today, that entire training facility is nothing but rubble. In spite of the devastation, Pastor Ezequiel immediately served his church family and neighboring churches in need. This network of local pastors will allow our PEACE Relief team to have the greatest impact by helping Pastor Ezequiel, and other local churches that can multiply efforts to serve the community.
When an 8.1 earthquake hit southern Mexico on September 8, Pastor Hector Tamez of Saddleback Puebla, and Raul Roque from Saddleback Lake Forest, immediately flew to the quake-torn areas of Oaxaca and Chiapas. There they met with pastors from Saddleback’s partner churches to asses the damage and needs of the community. Today, our PEACE Relief efforts are helping rebuild three of our largest partner churches that were shaken by Mexico’s strongest earthquake in a century.
Only days after the earthquake in Southern Mexico, Saddleback Puebla itself was rocked by a 7.1 earthquake on September 19. Saddleback Puebla members responded immediately in their own community by visiting two neighboring towns where churches were nearly flattened.
Over the next few weeks, our PEACE Relief teams will help rebuild several PEACE Partner churches in these affected areas—and in turn, they will help carry other churches for years to come.
Thank you Saddleback for your willingness to serve and give generously when our world is literally shaken and torn apart. Over the last 38 years, your generosity has helped carry people through raging storms and bring hope in over 30 natural disasters around the world. When resources dwindle and headlines fade, we still stand united in hope and love.
Thank you for your prayers, your sacrificial giving, and for helping survivors in the long process toward healing.
Pastor of The PEACE Plan