Dear Hillsdale family, friends and Heart of a Shepherd followers,

Puerto Rico in ruins

I have found the non-stop news coverage of natural disasters in the past six weeks has a desensitizing effect on my thoughts and emotions when it comes to the suffering of others in our hemisphere.

The earthquake in Mexico, the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Hurricane Irma’s strike on the Florida Keys, and the destructive swath of Hurricane Maria’s winds over Dominica and Puerto Rico is almost incomprehensible.

Indeed, I am afraid the church and its members are in danger of becoming much like America’s media…racing from one headline disaster to the next, with little pause or thought given to the human suffering left in the wake of each calamity.

Appliances delivered to Marathon

The human toll of recent natural disasters is nearly overwhelming, so much so we risk doing nothing, tacitly rationalizing what difference can our small effort or contribution make when so much has been lost and so many are suffering.

It is in such hours the church can and must make a difference.  In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught His followers, “Ye are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16).  We have a mandate to reflect the love of Christ through our “good works” and by our giving, sacrifice, and service turn the thoughts and hearts of men to our “Father which is in heaven”.

Helping hearts after Hurricane Irma

As you enjoy the comfort of your home, remember to pray for thousands left homeless, hungry and unemployed.  Pray for Houston, the Florida Keys, Dominica, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands devastated by recent hurricanes.   Pray for our nation’s leaders and military as they give aid on a massive scale beyond our ability as a church or individuals.

Finally, “Let your light so shine” and give financially to Operation Renewed Hope or to church ministries like Hillsdale Baptist Church that will ensure your sacrifice goes to ministries  on the frontline of giving aid and showing compassion (Hillsdale’s financial support for Houston, the Florida Keys, Dominica and Puerto Rico in the past six weeks is nearly $20,000).

“And of some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 1:22).

With the heart of a shepherd,

Pastor Travis D. Smith


Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith