Helping Hurricane Katrina Victims

The damage done by Hurricane Katrina seems to be much more severe than expected. As you know, nearly the entire city of New Orleans is under water. Some say that it is the greatest disaster suffered by an American city since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Reportedly, around 200,000 people have taken refuge in Houston.

As a person who experienced the Korean War, I think I know how the refugees feel. During the war, our family sought friends and relatives we hadn’t seen in decades and begged for a room. I was only 6 years old and didn’t understand everything that happened. But I do remember 10 people sleeping in a single crowded room. I also remember a few unkind things the owner of the house did and said to us. But looking back, I realize that he was much more generous than I would have been were I in his shoes.

The hurricane refugees are undergoing sufferings similar to war refugees. They left their homes with practically nothing except the clothes they wore. It is the government’s job to rebuild destroyed cities, but it is our job to take care of the refugees who fled to Houston. We need to serve them in the name of Christ.

The following is what our board of deacons decided to do.

We will work through the Union Baptist Association instead of going solo. They announced that they serve breakfast to refugees. We will be a part of the serving teams. As recent immigrants, we Korean-Americans are indebted to the American people. It is time to return the favor. Bill White, the mayor of Houston, told reporters that feeding the refugees in the Astrodome alone requires $130,000 and 240 volunteers a day. So we will be taking a special offering for refugees today.

We may have to open up our homes to refugees as well. The Astrodome is filled to capacity and the city of Houston has started to transfer refugees to the Brown Convention Center. If you are willing to offer your home, please sign up in the fellowship hall. We will take turns and accommodate refugees for only one week each. This way we can share the burden evenly. Before assigning them to your home, we will make sure that the people we invite to our homes are not the kinds of people who would take advantage of our good will.

We set up a special bulletin for Hurricane Katrina refugees on our web site. If you identify particular needs, have resources to help, or just want to share information regarding assistance, please use the bulletin board.

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