Dear Followers of Heart of a Shepherd and Hillsdale families,
As you are aware, Hillsdale Baptist Church was focusing on helping churches in Houston, Texas impacted by the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey two weeks ago. On Sunday, September 10, our own Florida experienced the impact of Hurricane Irma as she passed over the Caribbean, Cuba, the Florida Keys and Southern Florida.
We had intended to send two or more crews to Texas and our first team was in Houston last week assisting two churches and their memberships when the approach of Hurricane Irma forced them to return to Tampa Bay to prepare their homes and families.
Having witnessed the destruction in our own State, I have asked Hillsdale Baptist Church to focus our people and resources closer to home in Florida. We are able to drive to the Keys in a few hours to serve and be a blessing to our neighbors, knowing many in the Midwest are available to go to Houston and help them in recovery.
If you know our ministry, you are aware we function with integrity and make sure we are financial stewards of your sacrificial financial gifts. To date Hillsdale has received $13,990.51 for Hurricane Relief, the great majority of that received from our own membership. In addition, some who follow this Blog have designated gifts for which we are thankful. Less the expenses used by Hillsdale’s first relief team to go to Texas, the balance of your financial gifts are being directed to Operation Renewed Hope (ORH) for that organization to use as it gives assistance in Texas and FL.
I am writing this blog post on Friday afternoon not only to be accountable to you who have given, but also alert you to the fact there are four truckloads of goods (food, water, blankets, etc) waiting in Jacksonville, FL for shipment to a church in the Keys. That church will act as a staging ground for other churches in the Keys to pick up goods and distribute them to their neighbors. The estimated cost for shipping is $2,000\truckload or a total of $8,000.
Hillsdale will continue to raise funds for Hurricane Relief and refocus our membership and resources in FL in the weeks ahead.
There is also a need for men to hang drywall, lay tile and carpet in two Houston, Texas churches.
If you want to direct your funds to and through Hillsdale for our Hurricane relief efforts, go to our website, www.HillsdaleBaptist.org, click on the Donations button, create your profile with pertinent information, and beside “Other Designated Funds” type in Hurricane Relief to donate directly from your banking or savings account. Of course, your gifts are tax-deductible and your will receive a statement at year’s end.
More updates will follow as we receive news from Texas or the Florida Keys.
With the heart of a shepherd,
Pastor Travis D. Smith
Hillsdale Baptist Church