Carmel, Seaside UM Churches Respond to Tonga Disaster

October 09, 2009

In response to the four powerful tsunamis that struck the South Pacific Islands, Hilltop United Methodist Church in Seaside, California and the Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel have set a goal of shipping two crates of food and supplies - that is, two boxes measuring 8’x4’x4’ (256 cubic feet of space!) - to Tonga in time for an early Christmas.

The churches invite your help to accomplish this exciting goal. Please start now to collect food and other gifts to help fill the crates.
Suggestions are rice, flour, sugar, Maruchan or Ramen noodles, tins of fish and corned beef, salt, peanut butter, beans, tea, coffee, cocoa, toilet paper, laundry powder, toothpaste and tooth brushes, clothes, blankets, candies, and paper and pens for children.
Be creative and as personal as possible.
Sunday school children could send prayer notes and pictures, along with a disposable camera for children in Tonga to take pictures and send them back.
The churches want to ship by November 1 so that the boxes arrive in Tonga before Christmas. 
"This is a super 'hands on' mission project!" says the Rev. Norm Mowery, pastor of the Church of the Wayfarer. "We would like to have a great 'ingathering day' when we all take our gifts to the Hilltop church and together pack the boxes."
When churches have their gifts assembled, they are asked to email Geoff Van Loucks,, who will let them know when to take the items to Hilltop UMC in Seaside.
Monetary gifts to help cover the cost of shipment, are also needed.
But "Most of all," Rev. Mowery says, "let's all be in prayer for our sisters and brothers in Tonga."
The September 29 tsunamis killed more than 170 people and displaced tens of thousands, according to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
Last week Tom Hazelwood, UMCOR’s disaster response executive, spoke with Dr. Finau Ahio, president of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (FWC), who reports that 90 percent of the homes on Tonga were damaged in some way by the tsunami. FWC is reaching out to families to help with immediate needs. (Dr. Ahio is brother to the Rev. Kalatini Ahio, pastor of First Tongan UMC in San Bruno.)
UMCOR has established International Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #982450 to respond to the South Pacific disasters.
We have located a link under to UMCOR "3 Emergencies" Online Giving under "What's New" on the lower right side of the California-Nevada Annual Conference website Homepage at
Click on that link to go directly to the UMCOR Home Page. "How to Help" is located in the upper right corner of that page: You may give directly to South Pacific Earthquake and Tsunamis relief, or to support Philippines typhoon relief, or Indonesia earthquake relief.