The Launch of
FIRST RESPONDERS INTERNATIONAL
So.... as our first official deployment unfolded it would be totally appropriate that we partner with our friends Dan and Marlene Bray and Manny and Heather Boswell (who live on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines), have been keeping us closely informed about the disaster that had unfolded beginning on the 4th of December 2012. A Category 5 Typhoon, (what we know of as a hurricane) cut a 50+ mile path across the entire island and claimed well over 650 lives. Another 900 are still missing (at the time of this writing) and the number affected exceeded over five million. Many of the displaced have lost their entire livelihoods, including their crops, coconut and banana groves.The Birth of First Responders International:After the Earthquake hit Haiti, I (Ron) watched many Doctors doing triage and treating the minor injuries. Immediately I thought, "they are doing what I am trained to do. If I could get a team of people with my skill set into a disaster, they could do what they are trained to do." As my wife watched these things unfold, she saw the great need for hearts to be comforted, and knew that our God could bring Heaven to Earth and meet every need— both physical and emotional. That has become the burning passion behind First Responders International!The two years following Hatai, we have watched with great heartache, many other disasters unfold. Tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, tsunamis in Japan, hurricane Isaac hitting New Orleans on the 7th anniversary of Katrina, and the latest, hurricane Sandy. Our hearts have been aching to go.Our friends Dan and Marlene Bray and Manny and Heather Boswell (who live on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines), have been keeping us closely informed about the disaster that had unfolded beginning on the 4th of December 2012. A Category 5 Typhoon, (what we know of as a hurricane) cut a 50+ mile path across the entire island and claimed well over 650 lives. Another 900 are still missing (at the time of this writing) and the number affected exceeded over five million. Many of the displaced have lost their entire livelihoods, including their crops, coconut and banana groves.
Dan told us that their biggest need is to have medical staff on the ground. People who are the most severely wounded were getting treated, leaving the ones with minor cuts unattended. Whether it be small or large, these injuries were becoming infected began to take many lives, so time was of the essence. Dan told me that with my skill set, having Search & Rescue and medical training, many lives could be saved … So we launched into our destiny and Ron went, leaving on December 16, 2012 for 3 weeks....
Ron set out on April 30, 2013 to partner with Team Rubicon to help the residents of Marseilles, Illinois. Much of their city resembles a scrapyard: piles of debris taller than people and homes literally a shell of their former selves. The water from the Illinois River was a rushing torrent, powerful enough to sweep away homes' foundations and closing the town's only school... Lord send your encouragement!
May 2013 Tornadoes
What an amazing launch to the spiritual side of First Responders International. When the Tornado went through Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th, 2013 my heart was moved like most of the country. As I prayed about going to help I felt was my time. The fullness of His Love poured out, in so many ways.... - Through His Abundant provision,beyond what we could have imagined - The church unified..... WOW what a blessing. It was such a joy to work side by side with many other flavors of Heaven - There were so many answered prayers... I would sum up this deployment with comments that I heard more than once, "there were many great distribution sites but ours had the one thing that truly made the difference.... PRAYER"— the thing they needed most of all!
Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
If you would like to see more on this deployment , just let us know!
Typhoon Haiyan's sustained winds when it hit Samar reached 315 kilometers (195 miles) an hour gusts of up to 235 mph, making it the strongest typhoon in the world this year and one of the most powerful ever recorded. Haiyan generated waves up to five meters (16 feet) high that surged inland like a tsunami, the walls of water destroying nearly everything in their path along huge stretches of coastlines. The scale of the disaster continued to unfold as more remote areas where surveyed. Aerial photos of Samar island, where Haiyan first made landfall, show whole districts of coastal towns reduced to piles of splintered wood. Ron and his team were on the ground for 8 days and were self-contained ... carrying their food, water, and shelter on their backs. As one of the first teams to arrive, they helped with search and rescue efforts, triaged, treated 40 to 60 patients a day, and did medical transport of critical patients. They also performed daily reconnaissance missions for the military of outlying villages that no one had assesed yet. The needs were overwhelming and will be for some time to come. Please keep the people of the Philippines in your prayers!
Pemba, Mozambique on April 16th, 2014 Ron and Kim, where so honored to be chosen to deploy with Bethel Global Response to serve alongside Iris Ministries, led by Rolland and Heidi Baker.
The flood disaster there was slower to develop. The torrential rainfall caused flood waters to wash over much of Mozambique, devastating the infrastructure, leaving tens of thousands of people without homes.
We as a team had opportunity to pray for so many. We saw God invade the lives that are so challenged by the extreme poverty and hardship of daily living. Many felt His Love, both in the practical and emotional. The encouragement of heaven's hope was released as people were healed of Dengue fever, Malaria, back, shoulder, leg pain; burdens lifted as peace invaded their hearts!
One team completed two houses for handicapped families and made many new friends as they worked. The other teams brought old damaged homes to life again for the widows who had lost everything due to the floods. The electrical team had never-ending needs (Whew! You should have seen what they had to work with). They where able to give safety and bring blessing through their amazing efforts.
The Medical team helped shift the understanding of how to fight the war of disease through their great teaching. They handed out double the amount of mosquito nets because they were able to purchase them for half the usual price. No one has ever seen them priced that low. God loves Africa! Plus, the man that sold us the nets was Muslim and asked us to pray for his business to be blessed.... So cool!
Someone asked, "Do you think you made a difference?" I (Kim) could have said, “We made a difference to the ones we helped,” but I knew it was more than that. As we worked alongside the locals, empowering and encouraging them in their communities, they grew in skill set, confidence, and peer admiration.
I said to this person: “I’ll tell you just one of the many stories: Ron and Woody’s team employed a crew leader to hire and run the local crew. This man, Shafeem, had built houses before but they usually took about three months each.... They had never built one in two weeks—let alone two houses in two weeks.... Well Shafeem and his crew discovered that they could do more than they ever thought was possible. They came away not only believing more in themselves, but they also realized the power of prayer when they saw God show up in so many ways!”
Then the person who had the question said with a smile.... “You taught them to fish...”
Hope you enjoy the video (it is just under 9 minutes).
Blessings to all who have partnered with us through prayer and support; your encouragement means more than you know!
Ron and Kim
Valley Fire deployment in Northern California
with Bethel Global Response October 2016
The magnitude of the devastation was a bit mind boggling, everyone knew many that lost everything... we watched peace transform lives as His guidance directed every step!
We were privileged to serve other amazing organizations that had grown a bit weary and our small troop brought the encouragement to continue blessing the community. Salvation Army had served thousands of hot meals and Samaritans Purse had been helping many with sifting through the ashes of what was left of their home. We watched the beauty of Unity that excels through serving!
We had a sweet opportunity to walk around and just ask God who he wanted to encourage and we found one of God's treasures, The words God spoke through us brought tears as love and life where deposited.
Working with Samaritans Purse was not only hard work and lost of sweat, but tremendously rewarding. We had the opportunity to bless a homeowner as we sifted what was left of his two-story home. He was transformed by watching strangers labor to find what he had counted as a total loss.... Never expecting us to find a diamond ring and a diamond necklace, which seemed insignificant compared to watching his heart connect to hope and knowing God's love that sent a small army to bring closure to a very hard reality.
Deployment to North Carolina after
Hurricane Matthew October 2016
We had the privilege of deploying with Bethel Global Response as well as partnering with Operation Blessing.
The torrential rains caused small creeks to completely flood entire towns in some areas.
It is estimated that the storm caused $1.5 billion in damage to over 100,000 homes, and businesses
This deployment was amazing in so many ways, we were able to accomplish so much in a relatively short amount of time. God gave us the strength to finish strong and with a level of excellence that trully blessed many. As we were able to physically encourage those affected by the storm, by mucking out 2 or 3 houses and a good sized church building. As we partnered with God, He did what He does, turning all things for good, as we watched Him shift the atmosphere from hopelessness to restored hope, strength, peace and even joy!
Texas deployment after Hurricane Harvey Sept 2017
Wow, once again it was amazing how God loved through us!
We had an opportunity to serve with Bethel Global Response in a couple different places. Our first stop was the outskirts of Houston (Spring Texas) helping in a distribution center that was impacting way Beyond food bedding and clothing, truly a blessing to come alongside them.
Then we made our way down to Rockport Texas where the eye of the storm came in with its full fury of 130 mile an hour winds, destroying much of the buildings in this small community. There were so many stories of how God protected families, here is just one of those stories...
A small family had planned on staying in there mobile home because the storm was expected to be a tropical depression in their area. But at the last minute, they felt like they needed to leave. Their family members that lived in mobile homes on each side of them had chosen to stay. As the storm hit they earnestly prayed for the family members that had stayed behind... At one point, when the eye of the storm came in they got a call from one of them, saying we just saw your roof fly off your house. They were safe at that point but the other side of the storm was coming and they lost contact, the following day they got the great news that both families on each side of them were safe with very little damage to their homes, but the family that left... they're home was totally gone! She felt like it had stayed, they would have been praying for their own safety, but her assignment was to pray for her family's safety, so the Lord led them away so that they could be interceding on their behalf!!!
It was such a joy, to be able to come alongside so many in practical ways as well as bring the comfort of Heaven as only the Lord can do. As we listened, hugged and prayed for so many, we watched hope & strength return for the long road ahead... here is a short video that shows the power of His practical love!
Thank you once again for all your prayers and support it truly made all the difference to our team and to every Survivor that will continue to covet your prayers!
Your prayers hit the mark in Northern California!
We were was privileged once again to deploy with Bethel Global Response to the devastating fires that tore through Northern California in Oct. We saw the Love of God restore hope and deposit joy and life as we sifted the ashes to find treasures of the past while exposing the true treasures of precious heart connections!
The numbers are staggering, 42 people perished, more than 8,900 structures destroyed... Your continued prayers will usher in the strength, peace, hope, and wisdom that will be needed as people begin to move forward. Please know that this is what makes all the difference. We were privileged to be his hands, feet, and the voice of heaven's Love.
This is one precious testimony of so many that flowed daily
So Joyce was sharing with me what she realized as we would bring her items from the ash, she said with each item she felt like the Lord was reminding her of how blessed she had been over her life. She said she didn't see the loss but she saw how much she has had! She said it was pretty amazing to realize how much she was blessed when those items came into her life and surprised at how blessed she was by just remembering each of them as they came to her from the ashes one by one. She felt like remembering was really powerful in her healing! Truly amazing what practical love can do for another who's heart just needs a hug.
Thank you once again for partnering with us on this beautiful Journey we're on.
Carr Fire in Redding California
Aug 30th 2018
Once again I realize how blessed I am to be part of God's healing process...
This short video I put together that really captures how amazing it is to be part of what God does as He transitions people in the midst of their grief and heartache to a place of hope and healing.
The Carr fire was really like none other, they're saying that they will be studying it for years to come. The massive firenado that killed a firefighter was the size of three football fields that had a 136 to 265 mile per hour winds and reached around 2,700 degrees as it wiped the landscape clean. ... this fire was truly devastating in so many ways. But as we've seen over and over and over God consistently brings Beauty out of Ashes. And I believe this video captures just that.
Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers we couldn't do it without you!
Hurricane Michael in the Panhandle of Florida
Oct 7th 2018
At first, it hits you of how massive the storm was we literally drove more than a hundred miles of evidence that this storm impacted so many. Please continue to keep the residents of the Panhandle in your prayers!
Once again we were very privileged to lead a team with Bethel Global Response stopping first in Tallahassee where we were able 2 give practical love to not only a church that is helping so many but also a very precious widow, where we watched God turn her weeping into hope and joy as she realized we were the answer to her prayers.... our next week was spent in Panama City Beach Fl, girding up an amazing church called Lighthouse as they had experienced much damage to their own building, they chose to focus instead on their community with a huge distribution center and hosting "Operation Blessing" the resource to send hundreds of volunteers to help clean up and tarp roofs. Which will be able to help these surrounding communities for months and possibly years of recovery.