In Their Time of Need

The last few weeks have brought a range of emotions due to natural disasters around the world. We have watched as our neighbors' homes and our communities have been destroyed. We have witnessed the resiliency of the human spirit and have worked together to help one another.

The hurricane in Texas. The hurricane in Florida.
The flooding in South Asia. 
The wildfires stretched across the United States. 

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Where do we begin to help provide relief and rebuilding efforts? For some, rebuilding a structure will never rebuild their home. Yet we can provide hope in the midst of this suffering. We can allow those who are on the front lines to be the hands and feet of Christ. 

This was why the HEART Fund was established on this day 16 years ago as a response to the events in New York on September 11, 2001. 

What is the HEART Fund?
Grants from the HEART Fund allow Baptist Christians to provide relief and rebuilding assistance as they minister to disaster victims in the United States and around the world.

Does my donation go toward one specific disaster?
Giving to the HEART Fund means your gift will 100% go toward disaster relief efforts; although we cannot guarantee which disaster it will go toward. This allows us to be able to make grants quickly and immediately. We do not have to wait to collect funds and then distribute them. We have the support readily available when disasters occur allowing those in need to go and be the hands and feet of Christ.

What can this grant go toward?
In the past, grants have been given toward things like providing gift cards for distribution in communities where their homes were destroyed by wildfires or hurricane damage, rebuilding a church and replacing a pastor's van after a flood, providing blankets and food to refugees during war crises, purchasing first aid kits for missionaries working with victims of an earthquake, and many other options. 

How can I give?
You can give to the HEART Fund online or by mail at WMU Foundation 100 Missionary Ridge Birmingham, Alabama 35242. 

HEART Fund Grant Helps Hurricane Harvey Victims

As Hurricane Harvey weakens into a tropical depression, a $5,000 HEART (Humanitarian Emergency Aid for Rebuilding Tomorrow) Fund grant from national Woman’s Missionary Union and the WMU Foundation will assist hurricane victims.

“There are thousands of people in Texas and surrounding areas who are hurting,” said David George, president of the WMU Foundation. “This grant will help storm victims with some of their immediate needs.”

At least 28 people have died as a result of the storm, and more rain is expected as Harvey continues to move inland. Texas authorities are reporting more than 32,000 residents are staying in shelters right now, and thousands more have property damage.

The $5,000 HEART Fund grant will help WMU of Texas provide gift cards to those who have been impacted by the storm.

“We are so grateful that this grant will allow us to respond in Jesus’ name to the very real and urgent needs that are all around us right now,” said Carolyn Porterfield, interim executive director of WMU of Texas.

National WMU and the WMU Foundation expect to make additional grants as relief efforts continue and rebuilding begins.

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“Our prayer is this initial grant will provide some necessities for people who are hurting right now,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director-treasurer of national WMU. “We will continue to work with the WMU Foundation and WMU of Texas during clean-up and rebuilding, and we will pray for, support, and love our neighbors as they recover and rebuild.”

“It’s human nature to forget about the victims once the worst is over and it’s no longer on the news every day, but we will not forget,” George added. “In the days, weeks, and months ahead, we will continue to look for ways to help. As the body of Christ, we will be there for our neighbors as they rebuild their homes and lives.”

The HEART Fund was created in response to Sept. 11, 2001. Since that time, the WMU Foundation has granted more than $473,000 from the HEART Fund to disaster victims in the United States and around the world.

The WMU Foundation is accepting gifts to the HEART Fund for disaster relief victims online or by mail to WMU Foundation HEART Fund, 100 Missionary Ridge, Birmingham, AL 35242.

Planting Seeds: Doing Something Special

Sylvia DeLoach didn’t know what she was going to say when she walked down front; but knew she felt an irresistible pull to go.

“It was the very last day of GA (Girls in Action) camp, and an international missionary had spoken. I went forward,” DeLoach said. “When they asked me why I was there, I blurted out, ‘I want to do something special for God with my life.’”

Those words stuck with her for the next six decades.

“That statement propelled me to the things I’ve done in life since,” she said.

DeLoach had first been hooked on missions in a Sunbeams class where she heard her first “real live missionary.”

“He taught us a song in the language of the people he served, and even though I know I got it wrong, my parents said I walked around singing it for days,” DeLoach said.

“Later, I had a missions leader in YWA (Young Women’s Auxiliary), Margaret Fitzgerald, and out of all the people in my life, she probably influenced me more than anyone,” DeLoach said. “She invested a lot of time in me and the other girls.”

DeLoach saw Fitzgerald recently in her east Texas nursing home. She’s in her 90s and “clear as a bell.”

“It was because of her that I really began to listen to God’s call and considered what to do to make my life special,” she continued. “And she’s the one I would still go back to today to talk about living for Christ.”

But DeLoach—who served in various ministry capacities including GA consultant and missions innovator for national Woman’s Missionary Union—isn’t just soaking wisdom up. She’s passing it on.

DeLoach, retired and a member of FBC of Richardson, Texas, has mentored a number of people—from a young woman in her church to neighbors who don’t know Christ but are willing to come to her house regularly for coffee and listen.

“As I grow old, I want my home to be somewhere people can gather,” she said. “I hope I can do that to the very end and in various ways. I feel like that’s what God wants of me.”

“The thing that thrills me is that as a GA, God touched me to be able to say those words even though I didn’t know what it meant,” DeLoach said. “Because of the vision He planted and the things I learned through WMU, I’m still doing what I learned to do; and I credit it all to the seeds that started as a Sunbeam, a GA, a YWA, and the many opportunities I had to act on the lessons I learned.”

This article first appeared in the August 2017 issue of Missions Mosaic