As most of you know, last week Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas. I’ve been getting emails and messages from some of you asking about our church and family, so let me say this first: we are fine. We live north of Houston, and while we had some flooding in our community we are also incredibly blessed. Our home and neighborhood are fine and so is our church building. A few families in our church did experience some flooding, and there was significant flooding in town along the lake and river. But we are blessed.
Many families have not been so fortunate, however. We have friends and extended family who have lost everything. Churches have been destroyed, and entire communities have been almost wiped out. In the wake of the devastation, here are some things to keep in mind and ways you can help:
- It’s not just Houston. Rockport, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Victoria, Port Aransas, Bridge City, and other communities up and down the Texas coast have been devastated by the flooding. Houston has been in the news, but the damage is much more widespread. As you think about sending aid, keep other communities and small towns in mind as well.
- The recovery is going to take time. Months. Years. The rebuilding and restoration will last long after the news cycle moves on. If you want to help, there will be plenty of opportunities to come and serve.
- Make sure your help really helps. I understand the impulse to do give something personal after a disaster. But sometimes those waves of clothes and teddy bears do more harm than good. When you factor in the cost of transporting trucks full of clothes, food, and bottled water, it is often more efficient to make a donation to agencies that are on the ground.
- If you’re looking for a place to give, please consider Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief. TBM does great work. As soon as Harvey hit, they were on the ground serving food to first responders and providing child care for people in shelters. They are continuing to help with mud out teams, chainsaw crews, heavy equipment teams, putting on temporary roofs, laundry, shower and food trailers, and more. They are the hands and feet of Jesus. They are a great place to channel giving to.
- Pray. And keep praying. Pray for the families who have lost so much and for the first responders, volunteers, utility crews, and all those who are assisting with the recovery effort. Pray that even in the midst of disaster and suffering that God will show his peace and make his name great. Pray, because prayer releases God’s power and undergirds all that we do.