Much of Houston is still feeling the burden that Hurricane Harvey left behind. As things continue to transition back to normal for some, we want to remember that road will be much longer for many others. And while it may seem that relief efforts hardly make a dent, we can be assured that every person we serve is worth the effort. One by one, we can help.
Here is a story from our relief efforts thus far to help us remember the impact we've made and the impact we can continue to make.
While typically Sunday is a day of rest, this particular one was anything but that. As the day waned on, anxious thoughts began to fill his mind. Pacing back and forth from the weather report on the television to the back window, Todd saw the flood waters inching toward his door. He began to move and shift things around a bit, praying and hoping that it wouldn't happen—that his home wouldn't flood.
With the constant buzz of the news reports on TV, he decided to sit for a bit and wait. He dozed off in his recliner around 8:00 p.m. For whatever reason, he woke around 10:30 p.m. and walked to that back window. The water was closing in, and he knew. It was time to go.
Todd collected a few belongings and loaded it into his pick-up truck. As he backed out of his driveway, he noticed the height of the water. It was just below the top of the tires. He was grateful he made the decision to leave now.
Leaving his home in the dark of the night, Todd went to a nearby friend's home to stay while he waited for the water to recede. Unfortunately, during that time his elderly mother was admitted to the hospital where she stayed for three days. Worried about her care and health, Todd remained in the hospital and would not return to his home until Friday morning.
As he drove toward his home, the closer he came the more he saw the streets lined with debris. Defeat and discouragement crept in. He is fifty, lives alone, and is without help. He walked into his home and began to pray, not knowing exactly the words to say. As he walked room by room, Todd was overcome with assurance from the Lord, and he remembered the words of the psalmist "Be still, and know that I am the Lord."
He began to try and do the work himself. A few passersby offered their assistance. But this would be a huge project, one that would require many hands.
On Saturday morning, he realized that he had to do something. The only thing he knew to do was to call the number on the news and request for his name to be placed on the list for help.
"How long will it take?" He asked.
"Sir, we don't know. You'll just need to be patient."
Defeat and worry began to fill his thoughts, but he leaned on that verse. "Be still..."
Within minutes of hanging up, Todd received a phone call from one of the teams from Bridge Point asking him if he still needed help. The Lord was already working on this, even before any of us (or Todd) knew. We were on our way and arrived 30 minutes after he placed that call to the assistance line. Demolition began.
Todd stands outside of his home as complete strangers—"angels," as he calls us—go in and out, hauling and sweeping and unloading and undoing his home. One or two come alongside and listen to his story. We sit with him as he processes the difficult circumstances of this week, having his mother in the hospital, watching his home become flooded. With tears in his eyes and awe in his heart, he sees his Father's hand moving and threading the pieces back together. He sees how the Lord uses ordinary people in times of deep need. He sees us—the church—making ourselves available to be hands and feet and hearts.
Here are some pictures of moments captured during relief efforts at Todd's house and the homes of other families we had the privilege of serving.