Shelter From the Storm (part 3)

We were able to be the church to people in their time of need.

In Tuesday’s post, I shared how God worked mightily, enabling us to shelter many people during the rising flood waters during Hurricane Harvey. Yesterday I shared an amazing story of God’s awesome timing. Today, I want to share what we witnessed as the clean up effort began.

By Randy Puckett (Eagle Heights Church, Richmond)

Our season as a shelter came and went quickly. We then began to reach out to our community. We took hot meals and essential supplies like paper towels, water, toilet paper, diapers and more to the neighborhoods near Eagle Heights Church that were so dramatically affected. We helped people move furniture to storage, or heartrendingly, to their curb to be picked up. We tore out sheet rock and flooring that floodwaters had destroyed. We hugged our unknown neighbors; we prayed with people standing in the middle of their ruined possessions, now out in the rain, on their curbs. We connected. We were able to be the church to people in their time of need. It was a powerful, heartbreaking, and life-changing few days! All of the food, clothing, supplies, and any other items that were not passed out, or were not used by the evacuees were sent in different directions. We made significant donations of supplies that God abundantly had given to us, passing them along to ministries in Victoria, Port Arthur, and Rockport, TX. We also contributed to a local charity in the Sugar Land/Richmond area that serves people in these ways year-round.

Damage House 1

So now that I’ve shared the story, please let me say THANK YOU. Thank you that you and your church family have been a part of that provision. Thank you so much for your prayers. We had such amazing monetary support that came in from all over. Most of the people in our area do have not have flood insurance. Their homes are in bad condition and there has been a great need for help. We are helping people with between 1 and 3 1/2 feet of water standing in their homes. Most have lost everything on their first floor, including the sheetrock, flooring, furniture, and usually they have lost the majority of their clothing. Many have lost at least one of their cars as well. Fortunately most of the cars are covered by insurance, though not all have full coverage.

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Because of the incredibly generous gifts given, we have distributed over $28,000 in grants. That money has gone almost exclusively to individuals and families, with more gifts yet to go out. Some has gone to other churches ministering in hard-hit areas – to allow them to help their church members and communities like we have. We are helping individuals with an average gift of $1487 per family. Those dollars are given to repair homes, and replace damaged possessions. We are blessed to be the face of YOUR CHURCH’S GENEROSITY! I have told all of them, as I handed them the check, that their gift came from Christians all over the United States; people who obeyed God’s voice and sent financial help to the people in Houston. One of our main prayers from all of this is that this will be a catalyst event for the people from the shelter to grow closer to God. He is answering that prayer, but we know that there is so much more yet to be done in this area. Please continue to pray with us! This has been a life-changing experience for me. To be transparent, it was one of those times in a pastor’s life where you can’t help but think, “If our church never makes a difference in this community again, I know we did this time!” As I write these words, I can’t help but be so amazingly humbled. I was able to make that impact because of so many other people’s obedience to God’s call–people just like you.

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So here I sit, and to say that a “Thank you” seems so inadequate is a huge understatement in itself! How can I make this worthy of your sacrifice? I can only say, maybe it will be worthy of your generosity if we let this be a reminder that the God who you serve is able to take feeble efforts and make them bring about incredible results. A modern-day loaves and fishes story! Maybe in this story, you will be reminded that God works in amazing ways… and He usually chooses to do that through His people! I’ll never forget your kindness. Thank you and may God bless you.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Access the Eagle Heights Church Facebook page or Eagle Heights Church’s website

Both have videos, pics, stories, and information, and from people who were displaced and stayed in the shelter.
VIDEO: “Harvey 1” and “Harvey 2” are 2 different videos that we have online. Access them through the webpage  or the FaceBook Page timeline.
PICTURES: Access pictures at eagleheightschurch.org/hurricane-harvey-relief/
PODCASTS: If you are interested in the happenings of the shelter or the reactions of the
people who were served by the shelter, you can check out EHC’s “Shelter Stories” podcast
from September 17, 2017.

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