Caring for the Caregivers

Nearly 5,000 evacuees from Louisiana were relocated to San Antonio, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina left them homeless. Alliance chaplain Major Robert Wido was assigned the duty of overseeing about 40 chaplains and chaplains’ assistants, who are ministering to the spiritual needs of volunteers as they care for the displaced people.  
     “We visit with the victims themselves,” says Wido. “But also, we are intentionally focusing on the caregivers.” Local churches have sent nearly 500 volunteers. “There were so many,” says Wido, “that we had to turn some away.” 
     Most evacuees lost loved ones and homes, or escaped with the clothes on their backs. Providing for physical needs is coupled with the daunting task of comforting distraught people who have no hope. Wido says, “Our mission is to help shepherd the volunteer cadre, because they are the ones providing worship services, ministering to the sick, and visiting with the displaced.”  
     As Wido and his team minister to the ministers, more hope comes from within the ranks of the relocated people. “I noticed a large man with a well-marked Bible,” says Wido. “He had had a severe back and neck injury and had been addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol to help deal with the pain.” The man told Wido that he began to read the Bible and go to church. Then the Lord changed his life. “Jesus healed him, and he is now pain free as well as drug and alcohol free. He believes God will use the hurricane to change lives and bring people to Himself.”


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