Native Methodists Disaster Response Teams Assisting persons Affected by Tornadoes


The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference continues to be engaged in disaster response and recovery from the 2013 Spring tornadoes that hit several areas in Oklahoma, including the Moore, Oklahoma City, Shawnee and Little Axe areas. We have been fortunate that many persons and churches have contributed financially to our effort to help persons recover from the storms.

Mr. John Underwood is our case worker with the United Methodist Relief effort. John has been on board since last August and has done tremendous work already to help persons get back into their homes and to help with the rebuilding process. He is one of many case workers from the United Methodist Church and other relief agencies working with hundreds of persons. John’s focus is on the Native American community although he is involved with many facets of the recovery.

While the focus isn’t as intent on the recovery, the need is still great. There are many homes to rebuild as well as many persons who are still waiting for assistance to get back into their own homes.

We are thankful for so many volunteer organizations who have helped us financially and many who have sent teams to help with the rebuilding. We are very fortunate that the AARP Foundation has granted OIMC $29,000 to assist with the effort. They have been great partners and we are very thankful for their support. Rev. David Wilson, Conference Superintendent said that AARP was the first organization to contact OIMC about the needs and offered the assistance.

Some of the churches and ministries that have been to Oklahoma to work specifically with Native communities includes the Labors for Neighbors missions team whose task is to assist with recovery and serve by replacing roofs. They have replaced a roof each month since last September and have been a blessing to many. They come equipped with many volunteers from the Dallas area and spend a day replacing damaged roofs. They plan to assist through the summer.

Two other teams include the Providence UMC of Mt. Joliet, Tennessee who came last June to help an Absentee Shawnee tribal member whose home was hit by the first tornado that came through that area, the day before the Moore tornado. They did great work in a three day period and brought the homeowner a little closer to being back in her home. The Grace UMC of Mesa, Arizona spent a week in the Oklahoma City area helping another Native family with her rebuilding and were a blessing to the family.

If you or your church is interested in serving through rebuilding, you can contact John Underwood at