During the week of December 10-17, 2022, the Covenant Brethren Church sent our first denominational disaster response team in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse. They traveled to Florida to represent the CBC in the ongoing disaster relief efforts there. The team was made up of six individuals from three regions including Danny Painter from the Southern Region, Stuart Scott from Region Four, along with Keith Cummings, Pamela Nash, Mark Teets and Craig Howard from the Central Allegheny Region.

The team worked in Ft. Myers, FL, where they were housed and fed in a large church in the town. The amount of work needing to be done there was overwhelming. This recovery effort will be continuing for some time in Ft. Myers and in Englewood, which is located on the Gulf Coast, approximately 50 miles northwest of Ft. Myers

While there, the group joined with other people from around the country to do the “mud out” work that was needed. We tapped roofs, tore out floors, took walls down to the studs, and removed cabinets and bathroom fixtures to get down to where the house was ready to start being put back together.

Each day our wake-up time was 5:30 with lunch packing at 6:00 and breakfast at 6:30. At 7:00 there were devotions. New team members went to orientation at 7:30. At 8:00 everyone loaded up and headed to the job sites for the day.

There were five groups of ten to seventeen people with each group having a team leader. When the group arrived on site, they had prayer with the homeowner. Each day ended the same way. The work was hard and sweaty, but the response of the homeowners made it all worthwhile. Then each evening, after supper, we would share “God Moments” that happened throughout the day.

The highlight of the week was the announcement to the group that two homeowners received Christ as Savior. Our group saw a man that had never had a relationship with Christ come to tears when he was presented with a Bible with all of the team’s signatures. He said to his wife, “These are what I believe Christians are supposed to be. They are for real.”

It is our hope that this will be only the first of many teams that will have the blessing of being a witness for Christ through disaster response.

Craig Howard – CBC Publications Committee Chair