Over the last two days as we’ve woken up here in Round Rock to soaked and soggy yards, those southeast of us in Houston and the surrounding counties have experienced (and will continue to experience) historic flooding. It’s gut-wrenching to see the images of flood waters covering interstate highways and filling entire neighborhoods. It’s heartbreaking to see so many displaced as their homes and belongings have been destroyed. It’s paralyzing when I talk to friends and family members in the area that are bracing for the next wave of rain, knowing that it will likely bring water into their homes. I want to help, yet the need is so large.
I know that many of you feel the same way. I’ve heard from several of you who have reached out to our church leadership asking how you/we can help. Even before the Harvey made landfall, I was getting messages from some of our Redeemer members who wanted to open their homes to folks who were evacuating. This has been such an encouragement to us as leaders! Redeemer has truly become a family of servants where the heart of Christ for the needy is evident. Over the last 24 hours, we’ve had time to speak with friends, family members, and fellow pastors in the Houston area to assess how we can best help, and I wanted to share with you what we’ve heard.
Pray, really pray.
As I’ve spoken to my friends and family members in the area this has been a sincere request. One of the best things you can do right now is to cry out to God on behalf of those in need. Disasters like this will quickly erase the mirage of self-sufficiency that many of us live with. Many people are scared and fearful and are turning to God in their time of need. Let’s pray for their needs to be met. Pray for people you know personally. If you have family or friends who have been affected please share those specific prayer needs with us via The City or our Redeemer Family Facebook group so we can join you in prayer.
I spoke yesterday with one of our former partners, Zach Lambert, who is now living in Rosenburg, an area that has been hit hard by Harvey. Zach told me that there is a good chance he could be out on a boat today trying to rescue people who are stranded in their homes. This kind of thing is happening all across the city of Houston. Pray for Zach and all of the other volunteers and first responders who are helping people in their darkest hour. Let the social media videos and news footage you see feed your prayers throughout the day.
Kevin Aderholt will be leading a time of prayer Tuesday at 6am at the church building for those affected by Harvey. If you are able please join us to pray.
Be ready to do something.
This is the hard part. When there is so much need where do you even begin? The temptation can be to feel like the need is too big and what you can offer is too small, so you never really get around to doing anything. But I believe this is a demonic lie. I believe that when we have friends, family, and fellow human beings (image bearers of God) in major need just a couple of hours away— we must do something. So, our elders have discussed that we want to make an organized effort as a church to do something. Here is what we are working on.
We’ve reached out to other Acts 29 churches in the Houston area that we have a relationship with. We’ve communicated to them that we want to help, and we are awaiting word on the best way to do that. As needs start to come in we will communicate them to you. Keep in mind that there is more rain coming over the next few days to Houston and the surrounding counties, so it might take a couple of weeks to get a full assessment of the needs. In the mean time, pray.
As we are made aware of specific needs, we will be pointing you to ways you can give financially as well as organizing some weekend trips in the weeks and months ahead to travel down to help with clean up efforts. There will be an opportunity for you to come and swing a hammer, give a hug, or to send diapers, clothes, cookies, and other supplies that will be needed.
Not only do we want to help churches in our network, but we want to help those you know that have been affected by this storm. If you have family members who have been flooded or are displaced please let me know. Email or call me with any specific needs, so that we can assess the best way Redeemer can help.
In closing, I want to thank you for being such an amazing community of faith. Not only are you regularly extending the love and care of Christ to one another, but you are always eager to care for others outside of our church. Ok, let’s pray and let’s be ready to give and go in the days, weeks, months ahead.
May God be glorified in our efforts as a church,