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Media headlines reveal the impact of one of the most damaging and costly storms in Florida’s history.

Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm, made landfall for the first time Wednesday afternoon, September 28, 2022. Catastrophic winds pummeled Floridians as up to 12-feet storm surges decimated towns, destroyed roofs, flooded homes, and flung boats, cars and debris. Inland flooding is anticipated.

Rescue efforts continue as preliminary federal damage assessments for both loss of lives and property are still being calculated. Churches and other humanitarian organizations are taking their own assessments as they roll out resources and deploy boots on the ground.

Wesleyan Florida District leaders wasted no time connecting with churches and pastors in the state’s hardest hit areas. No loss of life has been reported. Significant structural damage to four Wesleyan churches and three parsonages has been confirmed.

Undamaged Wesleyan churches located near devastated communities are providing community assistance, primarily through provision distribution and debris removal. Villas Wesleyan Church, Fort Myers, Florida, opened its doors as a staging area for World Hope International’s (WHI) disaster response efforts. WHI volunteer mobilization is underway along with water desalination and purification efforts.

Florida Assistant District Superintendent Derek Atkinson is facilitating relief and recovery efforts, including volunteer coordination. He expects the work to be ongoing.

“Psalm 9:9 reminds us that God is our shelter and refuge in times of trouble. We are so grateful for God’s presence through this storm, and we are thankful for everyone’s prayers throughout,” said Pastor Derek. “Pray for us and, if so prompted, help us, as we are the hands and feet to our Wesleyan brothers and sisters in southwest Florida and their communities.”

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South Carolina and North Carolina East districts reported no significant damage.

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