Willingness and flexibility.
That's all it took to be a volunteer Mud-out Missionary to help the flood victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston Sept. 18-22. The five of us who went on the first of several planned trips led by John Moore didn't do what we went expecting to do, but we received much more than we gave.
FBC Abilene is working through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) and our hosts, Butch and Nell Green, Field Personnel with CBF have flexibility down to a fine art.
We expected to spend the week shoveling mud out of churches, but found that had already been accomplished by some of the more than 40,000 volunteers according to one estimate.
Butch had arranged excellent accommodations for us at Willow Meadows Baptist Church. With the mud gone, Butch moved us to the next important need: mold remediation in a large Hispanic church, Templo Bautista South Houston. It had received about two feet of mud and water throughout.
During our stay, we removed all of the drywall and insulation up to four feet, and bleached the wood framing until our eyes burned. Our eyes also burned with tears as we drove through neighborhoods where the furniture, mattresses and other ruined household items were stacked so deep we could barely see the houses.
We also spent a day in the Cambodian neighborhood of Rosharon. Most residents made their living growing produce, so Harvey gave them a double whammy, washing away some of the homes as well as the crops, and damaging greenhouses. One woman told of putting her invalid husband on an air mattress and pulling him through waist-deep water until they were rescued.
The Cambodians were living outside while their homes -- if they were still standing -- were drying out. The best we could do for now was erect about two dozen tents donated by FBC Abilene and CBF and putting enough air mattresses inside for that particular family.
Butch had one last surprise for us. He took us to a Buddhist temple compound that was the gathering place for the displaced Cambodians. There we were invited to share in the delicious Asian meal that was prepared and served by volunteers from a Vietnamese church in New Orleans.
Think of it: Vietnamese victims of Katrina serving Cambodian victims of Harvey. Can we do less?