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Thursday, 23 November 2017
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When the TV Trucks Leave, It's Our Turn to Step Up

Watching The Weather Channel and other news sources this week, I’m like many of you; stunned by the images and stirred by the heroics as we watch drama unfold in Houston, Southeast Texas and Louisiana.

Because we are so interconnected in this modern day, almost all of us can say, “I know someone who . . .” All we need to do is scroll our Facebook feed and we will find a friend in the flood zone, or another whose family member is in the middle of things.

For instance, when I read Jay Hobbs’ article on Houston’s Pregnancy Help Center and Sylvia Johnson-Matthews, I wasn’t thinking as much about their effort as I was them, because Sylvia and I have known each other for years. 

I thought about many others in the area. Next week, I was supposed to be at an event for Anchor Point in League City, Texas, just outside of Houston. Executive Director Debbie Simmons and I are working on alternate plans of course, because the devastation doesn’t exactly lend itself to a gala right now.

My sister serves on the board of directors for the Pregnancy Help Center of West Houston in Katy, just outside of Houston. We’ve been texting and talking this week as she watched the water rise from an overwhelmed creek, closer and closer to her home. So far, their home is safe. 

As I look at these three friends (well, one happens to be a family member, too), the thought that keeps running through my mind is, “What happens afterward?”

I ask this because I recall a couple of conversations with Karolyn Schrage, CEO of Choices Medical Services of Joplin, Mo., back in 2011. This was in the months following the horrific EF5 tornado which swept through Joplin on May 11 of that year, taking 158 lives and leaving an unfathomable path of destruction.

In one of our calls, Karolyn mentioned, “The TV trucks are gone now,” and we agreed people tend to forget everything when the media disappears. At the time we talked, Choices was opening its facilities to physicians who had lost their buildings, so they could continue to treat their patients.

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Somehow, the team at Choices not only continued to serve its patients, but grew stronger in the process. Today, pregnancy help ministries across this country and perhaps beyond point to Choices as a source of training, encouragement and support. 

Somehow in Joplin, a ministry took on a disaster and found a way—God’s way through the trial—and is thriving in a new way. 

What about Houston? Southeast Texas? Louisiana? 

When the TV trucks leave in a few days or weeks, pregnancy help centers throughout the devastated areas will try to piece things back together. Volunteer and paid staff members will be dealing with flood damage; much of it likely not covered by insurance. Some will be displaced.

Not to knock the media, but the excitement and drama will disappear. When victims are digging through the muck of mud-filled homes, we will only get a story every couple of weeks. 

The media will then focus on blaming this agency or that one. Before we realize it, TV and the web will zero in on a Presidential tweet or some other event and . . . “Let’s forget the flood, it’s old news.”

Yet for our co-laborers in flood-ravaged areas, there may be a lot of clean up to do. Staff will be in shorter supply because they have their own crises to deal with. And one more thing: When donors to these ministries are facing financial challenges they’ve never seen before, or asked to give to vital, urgent relief efforts . . . you know what happens.

Once the TV trucks leave, our friends—those who serve alongside us—will need another source of funding.

We need to step up. For us, this must be—to take a line from Apollo 13 and another disaster—“Our Finest Hour.”

Tweet This: Once the TV trucks leave, our friends will still need help. #HoustonStrong @KirkWalden #prolife

Let this be the moment when every single pregnancy help ministry steps up and says, “We are Family.” This is more than a #HoustonStrong hash tag; it is our time to reach out and give to our fellow men and women. 

May their financial needs be met in every way. By us; those who serve alongside them. Let’s all step up. Every. Single. Pregnancy Help Ministry.

For times like this, Heartbeat International has its H.A.L.O. fund, “Helping Affiliated Life Affirming Organizations.” What would happen if each of us sent something, either individually or as a ministry? We might be amazed at the results, when we see what takes place when we decide our prayers must lead us to action.

#HoustonStrong, #Harvey and other hashtags are nice. Changing our status on Facebook or tweeting our concerns is kind. But we must do as well.

I’m wrapping up this column and heading to the HALO fund. Jennifer and I are making a gift. Now. 

Join us.

Click Here. Let’s make it happen. 

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. He also blogs at www.kirkwalden.com. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter (@KirkWalden) and he is a new Instagrammer (kirkwalden). For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau.

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