My Thoughts About Hurricane Sandy
Earlier today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement regarding people impacted by Hurricane Sandy:
Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by post-tropical storm Sandy. Local Church leaders along the eastern coast of the United States have made preparations for the storm. Church representatives are in contact with the Federal Emeregency Management Agency (FEMA), The American Red Cross, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and other relief agencies to coordinate response efforts. Forty-two LDS volunteers are supporting Red Cross shelter operations in New Jersey and neighboring areas. The Church is working closely with the Red Cross to identify additional shelter locations if needed.
The Church stands ready to assist affected communities. Emergency Response resources have been pre-positioned in Bishops Storehouses in the area. These resources include items such as food, water, blankets, hygiene supplies, tarps, cleaning supplies, chain saws and shovels.
Local Church leaders will make assessments in the coming days and coordinate with response partners to determine further relief efforts.
Mission presidents have taken precautions to protect the safety and well-being of missionaries.
As a Latter-day Saint I am always impressed by the Church’s response to natural disasters. As a newly returned missionary in the summer of 2005 I was blessed to be among some of the first clean up crews to respond to Hurricane Katrina in southern Mississippi and Louisianna. To say that the Lord works miracles in these situations would be a vast understatement.
As a Latter-day Saint I’ve also been intrigued by the mix of news over the past few days.
Good Brother Romney is on the cusp of a potential presidency. Two nights ago a powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck off of the coast of British Columbia, the largest earthquake in Canada since 1949. Yesterday I watched on Facebook as a former counselor in my mission presidency fled to higher ground due to tsunami warnings in Hawaii. And as I write this an unprecedented natural disaster known as Hurricane Sandy is pummeling the eastern coast of the nation in which I live. Sadly, there are already 11 confirmed deaths across five states.
As the reports began late last week of the potential havoc which this hurricane could cause, my mind was drawn to these words from the Lord.
17 Hearken ye, for, behold, the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand.
18 For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations: Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again.
19 Wherefore gird up your loins lest ye be found among the wicked.
20 Lift up your voices and spare not. Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young, both bond and free, saying: Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord;
21 For if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying—Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord?
22 Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words—Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?
23 And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you.
24 O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!
25 How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!
The Lord is hastening His work. Elder Holland said that beautifully when discussing the new age change in regards to missionary service earlier this month. The Lord’s voice is being heard in more ways, by more people, than at any time before in any dispensation. And indeed, His voice is even being heard by the thunderings and the lightenings, and via the tempests and the earthquakes, and all other variety of natural disasters.
I’m not some doomsday-buy-all-the-ammo-bug-out-to-my-nuclear-bunker kind of guy. I’m not some alarmist who is going to tell you that Mitt helping to bring the Church out of obscurity and some hurricane is a sign that Jesus will be knocking on our door tomorrow with angels and trumpets. – In fact, I am anything but that. – But I am a believing Latter-day Saint who knows most assuredly that at some point the Lord will return, and the news, both weather related and political, both foreign and domestic, have me studying my scriptures a tad more earnestly than in times past.
As Iran said earlier this evening that they have drone-taken pictures of Israeli military bases, and as the storm surge from Sandy grew to almost eight feet deep in New York’s Battery Park, I simply saw them through the lens of my Mormon faith, and these words came to mind.
“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”
We as Latter-day Saints have not been left without a warning voice. It is moments like these when I am more thankful than ever for a God who counsels me both spiritually and temporally.
A couple of phone calls to my friends in the northeast confirmed that the Church has made terrific precautions in regards to members, missionaries, and buildings.
My thoughts and prayers are with the countless millions across my nation who are in harm’s way tonight. Wherever you are, I hope that you’ll say an extra prayer for those who may be preparing to spend a sleepless night with Sandy. May they feel our love, hopes for their safety, and prayers in their behalf.
A few images of the storm today courtesy of various news sources and social media:
If you have any Church related updates or news regarding the storms please feel free to comment and keep us all updated.