Hurricane Harvey Response: Grieving as a Community
Originally posted by Home Missions at OPC.org in May 2019
This is an edited version of a story that is told in full in a separate post (scroll down).
Nick Lammé, our Hurricane Harvey (Houston) evangelist, shares the following encouraging report:
“We recently hosted another open house in the Memorial Hills neighborhood (Spring, TX). This is the third open house that I have hosted there. This time, we were able to invite the neighborhood out for a taco bar and a time of reflection on grief and loss, with an emphasis on grieving as a community.
“I invited the Rev. Carl Miller to address those in attendance. We also made up gift bags with literature for all those who came. The literature included some tracts, CCEF books, a sermon CD and some promotional material for Cornerstone OPC. Rev. Miller’s talk was excellent, and my family really chipped in (especially my two teenage daughters) in making the taco bar a huge success.
“We had about twenty folks come out that evening, but there is one person that really stands out in my mind. Her husband recently passed away and she was in need of some support. I learned of her from a Water Board member on the day of the event and I went to call on her right away.
“When the woman opened her door to me, I introduced myself, offered my sincere condolences for her loss and invited her out to the event. The reaction was not what I expected. She began by telling me how she was not interested in religion, nor did she have any desire to be associated with any religious people. Then she made it very clear that in her mind, religion was a very “negative thing”. All I could do was tell her how sorry I was that she felt that way.
“I persisted in trying to open up some form of positive conversation and did succeed in getting her to converse a bit. I explained that it wasn’t church and that the speaker was a licensed counselor. She was intrigued by the topic of grieving and community.
“Finally, she asked me, “This isn’t a religious service, is it?” to which I responded that we save all the singing and other liturgical excitement for Sunday. So, no, it wasn’t a religious service. That made her much more comfortable and she said she would think about it.
“And so she did. And she showed up to the event with Trish, the Water Board member. That evening, she even interacted with Rev. Miller during the event and spent 25 minutes speaking to him afterward. It was clear that the Lord opened a real door that night. She took our gift bag and left smiling. It appears as though the Lord is opening doors for further ministry, and not only with this woman. Please pray for her that the Lord will open her heart to his Word and soften her to the gospel.
“We are encouraged in the work here, seeing what the Lord has done over the past months. It is truly, in many ways, a seed-planting work, pointing people to our Lord and Father who is in Heaven. Continue to pray for us that the Lord will open doors, give opportunity to speak of his gospel and bring his elect into his kingdom.”