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OPC Disaster Response Aids in Midland, MI

Sarah Klazinga

In the last three months our country has seen devastation of every kind, from airborne microbes shutting down or significantly limiting every norm of our daily lives, to riots in nearly every city across the nation, to natural disasters in every category – earthquakes in Utah and Idaho, tornadoes in the southeast, and floods in Michigan. Not to mention the beginning of what is projected to be a lively hurricane season, we have been confronted en masse with every form of reminder that we are not in control.

While each of these disasters has touched the OPC in varying degrees, the flooding in Midland, Michigan has hit closest to home as two families at Christ Covenant OPC have been significantly impacted by the flooding. One family requires complete gutting of their home down to the studs in order to rebuild from the ground up.

In the last several weeks, the OPC Disaster Response Office has been hard at work with the beginning phases of disaster response: assessing the situation and needs, seeking out Volunteer, Site and Hospitality Coordinators to begin matching needs and a realistic timeline with volunteers and their gifts while houses dry out.

The Lord has graciously raised up volunteers to fill all three of theses jobs. They are each uniquely gifted to fill these roles in this particular disaster, and we give praise and thanks to God for providing them.

Sam Phillips is the Volunteer Coordinator. He was born and raised in Dover, Delaware. He went to school in Hillsdale, Michigan where he studied Classics and met his wife, Annie. Now happily married, they live in Goleta, California, where Annie is pursuing a PhD in Classics, Sam works for a local non-profit (where he also coordinates volunteers), and the two of them are trying their best to keep up with their daughter, Willow. They are members of El Camino OPC. In the past, Sam has volunteered with several Mission to North America (PCA) construction crews in Alabama, New Jersey, and Georgia.

Mike Greene is the Site Coordinator. He has been a member of Christ Covenant OPC for more than ten years where, among other duties, he chaired the building committee. He was an engineer at Dow Corning's joint venture known as Hemlock Semiconductor, a company specializing in manufacturing components for solar power. His last project before retiring was overseeing a $2 billion expansion of the plant. He lives in one of the neighborhoods that was hit hard by the flooding. Thankfully, his house remained dry.

Rhonda Sarafolean has graciously agreed to take on the job of hospitality coordinator for the Midland effort. Rhonda is married to Pastor Dave Sarafolean of Christ Covenant Church in Midland and is the executive assistant to the vice president of advancement and alumni relations at Northwood University.

Mike Greene is currently looking for a foreman to oversee the daily work of the volunteers. This person should be able to serve for at least 1-2 weeks at a time; work closely with the Site Coordinator; be competent to oversee teams of volunteers; able to manage the day in and day out work on the homes affected by the flooding; have construction experience and be able to identify and solve problems.

If this sounds like you, please e-mail Sam Phillips at MidlandVolunteers@opc.org. If you know someone that might be a good fit for this position, please share this need with them.

Maybe this isn't you. Maybe manual labor isn't the job for you. Maybe you're reading this and thinking, "If I were younger," or "If I didn't have a young family to care for," or, "If I wasn't working 60 hours a week," or "If I wasn't trying to make up for lost time at work because of COVID-19" … Not all are called to leave their busy, everyday lives to go muck out flooded homes and drywall basements. Perhaps the Lord blessed you in other ways that you can in turn share and bless others? Your financial gifts donated at give.opc.org are a very practical way in which these relief efforts become a reality. Please consider donating today so that we can continue to organize, plan, and ultimately go and serve our brothers and sisters and their community in need. Go to give.opc.org to give electronically, or send your check to the OPC Office, 607 N. Easton Road, Bldg. E, Willow Grove, PA 19090, adding "Midland Disaster Fund" on the memo line.

Photos and more information about our efforts in Midland, go to our website, OPCDisasterResponse.org. If you have an interest in joining a team to help in Midland, or to offer your time for a disaster response effort more convenient to your schedule, please register as a volunteer. Once registered, we will contact you each time there is a disaster effort being coordinated and you choose which disaster in which to get involved!

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