Jul 3, 2024

The Next Generation of Volunteers: U.S. Disaster Relief

Listen On

Share Episode

Show Notes

Samaritan’s Purse is at work across the country in the wake of devastating tornadoes, floods, and wildfires, providing relief to hurting homeowners in Jesus’ Name. Kristy Graham, host of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse, encourages our audience to serve with U.S. Disaster Relief in this week’s episode at any of our multiple locations across the United States. Anyone over the age of 14 can volunteer. No skill or prior experience is required, only a willingness to work hard and show God’s love—our teams will teach the rest.

Kristy sat down with Bruce Poss, an Incident Response Manager with North American Ministries, who explained the importance of listening to homeowners’ stories and reassuring them that God understands their grief. Our volunteer teams do not minister to homes, Poss emphasized, they minister to people.

Poss has witnessed God’s faithfulness through the volunteers who sacrifice their time to serve with U.S. Disaster Relief. They view it as a calling the Lord has placed on their lives. Poss recounted once seeing parents bring their child to one of our sites on their 14th birthday, instilling in them the importance of serving and following Christ’s example.

“It doesn't matter your age, and your skill level is not what God is looking for. He's looking for your availability to allow Him to use you.”—Bruce Poss

One of our young volunteers, Abby Olsson, is a 2024 summer intern at Samaritan’s Purse. During the first full week of the internship, Abby and her fellow interns joined other volunteers in Benton County, Arkansas, to help homeowners after deadly tornadoes. Kristy asked Abby about this unique experience. Though physically taxing, Abby shared that the week was spiritually filling. Abby had never used a chainsaw or cut down trees, but the Samaritan’s Purse team was eager to teach.

“We went on this response to serve, but I think leaving, we felt served by just the other leaders there, by the homeowners and just by each other. And so going in, there were some nerves, obviously, but looking back, it was a blessing to me.”—Abby Olsson

Putting on the Samaritan’s Purse U.S. Disaster Relief orange volunteer shirt represents hope and opens doors for conversations with people in the community. Abby told a story about Les, a man she met at a gas station who recognized her orange shirt. Abby was able to pray with him and share the story of the Good Samaritan.

Caleb Strickland, another young volunteer, is just 16 years old. While serving with his mother in Tallahassee, Florida, he shared his testimony with grace and wisdom. One homeowner, Ronnie, opened up about the storms in his life, and Caleb was able to listen and encourage him in his distress. When the team finished working on Ronnie’s home, they presented him a Bible.

“[Ronnie] was clearly deeply moved and at the end of it, I believe that a true Christian was made that day.”—Caleb Strickland

Please pray for our volunteers across the country as they work heartily for the Lord. If you’d like to keep up to date with more stories from On the Ground, please visit SamaritansPurse.org.