Faith & Insight: Many hands make light of much work

It was a humbling experience last week when I was called and asked to put together a team to help with the relief efforts at the Valley Fire in Lake County, Calif. There were five of us that went from our local team and we met with a team from Lodi, Calif.

When we arrived we were given a brief description of our responsibilities, which was to provide 600 to 700 meals each day and to offer spiritual and emotional support for the evacuees and the relief workers. I was then informed I would be in charge of these two teams and the coordination of the meals.

You have heard The Salvation Army’s old motto — “Heart to God, Hand to Man.” We were embarking on a week of “Hand to Man” that was going to truly rely on our “heart’s” being connected “to God.” I have been to many classes and mock disaster events, I have many certificates saying I’m qualified for this responsibility, but this was the real deal and we were in the midst of California’s third largest fire disaster in history — 1,280 homes destroyed, four fatalities, and thousands left homeless.

We were located at a shelter ran by the Red Cross that housed evacuees and relief workers and were blessed to meet some of the finest people I have ever met; people who have lost every earthly possession wanted to come and help with the most humble spirit, Red Cross and FEMA workers who have a passion for the Lord and want to be prayed for and churches from all over who sent volunteers to help with the work and pray for us.

Originally we were asked to stay through Saturday, but our deployment was extended, so I decided to have a church service on site of the shelter on Sunday morning. It was attended by an equal mix of evacuees and relief workers and a time of testimony was given where many gave glory to God in his work through the week. I shared from Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I talked about the plans God has for us. There may be a time of struggle, it may not happen right away, but his plans are greater than any plans we have for ourselves.

My mom used to say, “Many hands make light of much work.” It’s a saying I have kept with me throughout my life. This last week I saw this in action; all the agencies coming together in their specialties working within their giftedness, our team from Northern Nevada and the team from Lodi blending together to accomplish our mission. Many Heart’s to God, Many Hands to Man.

I will close at this point by saying our community can be proud of the group of men who came with me to help with the relief effort. They faithfully worked 16-hour days without complaint. They worked hard and blessed many people. We can rest assured we have a seasoned team ready and willing here in Carson City if the need should come. Thank you, Donny, Justin, Robert and Steve!

Lt. Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army, 661 Colorado St. Carson City, NV 89701. For information, go to


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