Hurricane Harvey affected so many properties and lives. After 11 months, we have had over 35 groups come to help with over 500 volunteers. As I oriented each group I always said how necessary the work is, but it is not the most important thing. Relationships are the key. Most of the people we have tried to help had already had many traumas in their lives before Harvey ever arrived. Now they had to deal with another one. I have seen many tears of fear and desperation over these past months. I remember some of the volunteers trying to encourage the African American woman who lost her son during the storm because he couldn’t get his regular dialysis. There was the Cambodian refugee family who lost everything after being in their new house only two months and had their greenhouses destroyed. They went many months without income and no house. I heard the wife say I want to just give up. There was the Hispanic pastor who had no insurance and a flooded church building who was conflicted in wanting to help the many members who were flooded, but still wanting to take care of the church.
I gave each of our volunteer groups the freedom to just be a listening ear whenever needed. We are to be Christ followers in whatever we need to be. Yes, we are starting to see progress as many people are back in their homes and trying to start over again. Yet, there are still so many needs not met.
We have had several groups helping to build a new house for an older Cambodian family who had their house condemned as it buckled in half right after the storm. The daughter-in-law shared with me that she had been praying for her husband and in-laws who were Buddhists. After one group left to return home, she sent the following text:
For the first time in my marriage I heard my husband pray today in our prayer circle this afternoon. Thank you for sharing God’s love. I’ve been praying for him for many years. I think until now he has felt God’s grace and love. You all impressed him greatly. He said he has never met such nice people and with so much love. Because of your act he has seen God. This means so much to me. Please keep us in prayer. Thank you!
With so much division and hatred in the world these days, we can forget how God is still at work in lives and using his people to share His love and grace. Remember relationships are the key!!