Disasters Open a Way into People’s Lives
By Zoe S. Erler

Arklie Hooten serves as the Mission to North America (MNA) disaster response director. The ministry has been busy, coming alongside churches in Mississippi, New York, and New Jersey — extending a helping hand to those who have been hit by floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. We asked Hooten how disaster response complements the mission of the PCA.

Tell us what drew you to this ministry.

I live in a small community where Moody Bible Institute’s aviation school was located. My home church was blessed with a constant stream of biblically trained young men and women who were preparing to be missionary aviators. Although I prayed for missionaries, I thought missions was only for professionals — for those with seminary degrees or those called to far-off places. It took me a while to figure out that God could use me.

I grappled with the Lord about a call to serve full time — I had no specialized training. I didn’t understand that God was, in fact, equipping me through my life experiences, vocation, and relationships. Eventually I gave in. Looking back, it is evident that He was preparing me all along. There is no way I could have guessed that this is what I would be doing at this point in my life.

How does the Disaster Response fit into the larger mission of the PCA?

MNA serves the PCA not only in church planting, but also in coordinating resources for outreach ministries that go beyond the local church. All across North America, disasters happen. When these events occur, they offer great opportunity to care for our own — those who already know Christ — and to care for those who don’t know Christ. When we do the latter, occasions multiply to tell others of the love and mercy that is offered in the gospel. The PCA’s larger ministry, and where MNA provides specific leadership, is the advancement of the gospel. Disasters open the way into people’s lives.

What should we all know about Disaster Response?

First, there are no professionals here. Folks don’t need expensive training; we welcome your participation wherever you can serve. Secondly, MNA doesn’t charge participation fees; we want folks to invest in serving others. Finally, I can’t think of another ministry that so closely answers both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. If God’s church is His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, how could we ignore the opportunities created through God’s providence to seek the lost and love the found?

Tell us your favorite story.

I have a new favorite story each week! When folks are in crisis, we enter into their story, and as the hands and feet of Christ we deliver a measure of His shalom.

When our lives were a wreck, Christ came to bring restoration. I have seen lives transformed through the efforts of volunteers simply serving others in very practical ways.

To learn more, visit pcamna.org/disaster-response.




Scroll to Top