Houston Hurricane Response Ministry: This is Not the End of the Story
August 12, 2018
by Steve Larson, Regional Disaster Response Coordinator, Houston, TX
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10
In my report to the General Assembly in June 2018, I mentioned that three more groups of volunteers were going to be working in Houston between the time of the GA and the end of July. This requires me to update two statistics that were cited in my report:
- There have been 284 volunteers to date.
- These volunteers represent 102 individual church congregations, including 38 OPC congregations and 11 URCNA congregations.
We give thanks to God for the work that he has allowed us to do so far in the Houston area to contribute to the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort. In 3 weeks it will be one year since this massive storm hit southeast Texas. The impact of this storm on the lives of millions of people and thousands of businesses is still being profoundly felt and experienced. This disaster has afforded the OPC an opportunity to step in and help people at a very basic level, both physically and spiritually. These opportunities define what we mean when we use the phrase, "being the hands and feet of Christ."
We have been so blessed and encouraged by the many volunteers who have sacrificially given of their time by devoting days or even weeks to working in the heat and humidity of Houston to help victims of Hurricane Harvey recovery from this catastrophe in their lives. We praise the Lord for the churches that have also stepped in and worked with us shoulder to shoulder, including sister churches and fellow members of NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council). And we are thankful for all of the individuals and members of other Christian churches and parachurch groups who have joined us in this work. It has been a true testament to the unity of the body and a single-minded purpose to share in the kingdom work of Jesus Christ together.
Please do not consider this the end of the story in Houston. The Temporary Operating Committee (TOC) intends to resume this ministry in the fall, and we need your prayer for wisdom in preparing for the work to begin again.
A short list of prayer items is:
- God's leading us to families still in need that he wants us to minister to both physically and spiritually.
- Volunteers, especially those who have skills in construction. The majority of the work taking place now is reconstruction and many of these tasks require specialized skills.
- Site Coordinator(s): At this time Fred and Brenda Deru are committed to rejoining this work in the fall with Fred taking on the responsibility of site coordinator. We would hope that one site coordinator isn't enough and we will see other volunteers come forward to serve in this critical role.
- A Hospitality Coordinator: This person works with the Volunteer Coordinator to handle arrangements and logistics on the ground to house and transport volunteers while they are in Houston. There are other important aspects of this role as well and I can't emphasize enough how critical this job is to our success.
- Financial resources. God has abundantly blessed in this area and we look to him alone for his continued provision!
If you have any questions or comments for the TOC, please don't hesitate to ask: