The last few days have been a whirlwind and I realized that I haven't posted anything in awhile. So I need to explain why... As you all know my state of Texas has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Mark and I spent a rocky Friday night, a week ago, as we heard things crashing into the side of our house during 90-100 mph wind gusts. But as I told you last week, we declared our home and property to be the Land of Goshen, safeguarded and shielded by our Creator. And it was so. While others in surrounding cities and neighborhoods suffered tremendous damage to their premises, with huge oaks uprooted, and tin roofs peeled away like tin cans, we barely lost minor branches. We were blessed and fortunate beyond anything we expected.
And as the reports and pictures started coming in from around the Lone Star state we could not escape the sorrow and empathy we had for the people of Houston who were (and still are) suffering from Biblical-proportion flooding. But it was the smaller towns along our Southern coast who seemed to get lost in the immensity of the catastrophe. One such town is Rockport, the first place where Harvey made landful in the early morning hours of August 25th.
Since Mark and I suffered no loss, we were determined to find a way to help those less fortunate. So we took some of our tithing money, accompanied by the same from a close neighbor and we bought some water, gatorade, peanut butter, tuna, gloves, towels, toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap, antibiotic ointment, vitamin C, and other supplies we thought would be important in these first days when people had no power, and little hope. A group of us Christian women got together and made up relief bags. The next morning Mark and I loaded up our truck with water, and along with our neighbor's son, Cole, we three set off to offer our help.
It was unimaginable. The devastation was beyond any sense that I had ever known. Houses completely demolished. Trailers just a pile of rubble. And the trees.... they were everywhere they shouldn't be, and contorted into what seemed like impressionistic sculptures. The supplies that we had brought suddenly seemed so insignificant. How could we make a difference when these people needed so much, and we had brought so little?
But then I remembered what my good friend Kim had prayed over us before we left that morning. She said, "I'm praying for warrior angels to surround your truck; to make a clear path through the muck and debris, and to protect your lives as y'all travel today. I'm praying for ministering angels to go before you and prepare those whom God has in place to be blessed by you today. And I'm praying for the Holy Spirit to be so evidenced in your lives today, that the spiritual atmosphere of the cities and towns you drive into will be changed... desolation turned to bright futures, despair turned to hope, exhaustion turned to energy, and hatred and anger turned into joy. May you bring comfort through our Comforter to those who need it desperately!"
These are the words that I would remember as I stood, holding hands with a woman named Yolanda, and prayed with her. She lived by herself, and her house was a scene of destruction and desolation. She had been approved for FEMA housing, but there was nowhere in Rockport that qualified for housing and all the surrounding communities were just as demolished. She would have to travel several hours to find suitable lodging and she didn't want to leave her home, abandoned to the elements or looters. We offered her water, but without ice, the water was hardly refreshing in the steamy heat. But she was grateful for the relief bag we had brought her, and thanked us for what we were doing. In reality, we felt like we offered little more than what amounted to a drop in the ocean.
But like everyone we approached with our meager offering, Yolanda left us with a smile and "God bless you". But we needed to do more! And what did that look like? And then we turned a corner and ran into José, who was the obvious leader of a group staging at the Little Lights Learning Center, a daycare facility for children. He was organized, efficient, and unflustered... everything you need to create calm out of chaos. When we left that day to return home, I told him I would find a way to do more, and what did he need? "Cleaning supplies and protein" was his immediate reply. I was determined to make that happen.
"Relief 4 Rockport" and surrendered it to the Lord. And I think He wants to do great things with it! The response has been amazing, and Mark and I, along with my prayer partner, Kim, are headed back to Rockport this morning with two trucks full of provisions -- Cleaning supplies and protein, of course! What a blessing to be used by Christ to show His mercy to those in need!
The last thing I want to stress is that I do not want undue accolades for this work we do for the Lord. It is no more than what thousands of others are doing as we try to alleviate the misery in the lives of our fellow Texans. And it is just what we are called to do by the One whom we serve. The heroes are the people who will put their lives back together, one day at a time, hopefully looking to Jesus for comfort and strength. And if I can share His presence and His peace with any of them, then that will be an honor. So please keep Texas in your prayers. We have a long way to go to recover, and we're down now, but not out. Pray that this will be a season of turning to the Lord and great growth in individual's relationships with Him. And pray that Mark and I will be effective ambassadors for His Kingdom, showing everyone we come in contact with His mercy, His grace, and His tender heart. And please pray that we never miss an opportunity to speak of His boundless love.
Galatians 6:2 "Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]".