By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills
Dispensers of love come from all walks of life.
Hurricane Harvey dumped 50 inches of rain on the millions of people of the Gulf Coast. Reports as of this writing state the devastation has impacted approximately 145,000 homes and an estimated 60 people have lost their lives.
While driving just beyond my neighborhood, the mounds of trash hugging the curb and front yards usher in grief and sorrow. The owner’s hearts seemingly piled on the street—sheet-rock, paneling, furniture, water-logged toys, cribs, photo albums . . . It occurred to me how many people viewed their belongings as life instead of those things truly representing life. How many don’t know the God of the universe?
What about those who see no hope for tomorrow and the next? I’m hit by a condition known as survivor’s guilt. I’ve not done enough. I never could.
Our church has been representative of numerous churches from all over the city. Volunteers work in teams: mud-out, childcare, phone banks, food needs, prayer, huggers. All are effected in varying ways and degrees by the insurmountable destruction, tears, and sorrow raging our area. Exhaustion registers on the faces of those who’ve worked tirelessly in mud-outs and cleanups. Sunday morning while we sang, “It is Well with My Soul,” many shed tears. Some flood victims are determined to rebuild their homes, while others who have flooded 3 times in the past 16 months said ‘this is enough’. I empathize with all of them.
By Day 6, Monday evening Labor Day, our church knew of over 400 homes that had been cleared by over 2,000 unique volunteers, some arriving from all over the United States. Efforts are now transitioning to a more sustainable model as we move out beyond the shadow of our steeples to other areas of need. I realize many images have made the national news but here’s a page that gives some video snapshots of how our church is loving people alongside so many other churches in the Gulf Coast region. Many updates have also been posted on Facebook and twitter.
In addition to the venues noted in last week’s blog taking relief donations, our church has now set up a Hurricane relief fund that will be 100% used in helping the hurting people in our community affected by the storm. You can click HERE or text “CFBCHURRICANE” to 77977 and a link will be sent to your phone via text message.
In catastrophic situations, the believer sees an opportunity to show our faith. Love in action is what shapes and changes lives.
- Love is an understanding that it is not about us.
- Love is helping others without expecting anything in return.
- Love is the thousands of people all over the city who are willing to get their hands dirty and make sacrifices to help flood victims. Some aren’t able to get back into their own homes, but they are willing to help others.
- Love is valued family members who drove all night to help loved ones.
- Love is a grip on compassion that isn’t based on race or culture.
- Love is a couple who showed up to help our pastor mud-out his home. The couple’s home had been flooded out. They asked to borrow shoes because they had none.
“Calamity not only builds character but calamity builds community.” Pastor David Fleming.
How can we dispense love to our neighbors – today?
DiAnn’s Library Corner
Librarian – Encourage patrons to reach out to others within your communities who need assistance.
If you would like to help the Texas Library Family during this time of disaster, this updated page offers ideas from the Texas Literary community.