Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Texas Chainsaw Missionaries Take on Hurricane Ike

It has been about 3½ weeks since the world’s most recent major hurricane – Hurricane Ike – struck land, making U.S. landfall at Galveston, Texas, on September 13 at 2:10 AM. Attacking as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph, it produced destruction along much of the Texas and Louisiana coast.

That was after is had reached havoc throughout the Caribbean, starting with Great Inagua Island and Grand Turk Island, where 80% of the buildings on Grand Turk were severely damaged or completely destroyed. (Source: Wikipedia) From there, it punished the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba, leaving death and destruction everywhere and went.

I knew that the easiest place to find information about the response of God’s people would be in and around Galveston. Not surprisingly, most of the church web sites that I found in Galveston not had many updates since the storm… They obviously have had other priorities since then.

And as I searched for blogs about Hurricane Ike, I did not find much written about the storm’s aftermath.

But I knew I had found paydirt when I started reading Mark Lewis’s daily commentary on the work of the TouchGlobal Crisis Response ministry, a ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America. TouchGlobal Crisis Response goes worldwide to places in need and provides immediate relief and long-term strategies to restore communities and individuals affected by disasters.

I encourage you to take a few minutes sometime soon and go back to his Ike Day 1 entry and read forward from there. It is both troubling and encouraging.

Here are some highlights.

From Day 13:

“The adrenelin is gone. Debris piles are slowly starting to line the streets. The emotions tell on their faces. Relationships are strained. Families separated. Paychecks absent. Businesses ruined. MRE's old. Mosquitos ferocious. Days hot. Bodies tired…

“I was again out on the streets today asking God again for forklift to unload the 500 clean-out supply filled buckets we got delivered today… I met Greg, the haggared owner of a car parts store. He was trying to do what he could to save things out of his business, but there was little the water did not destroy. He did not say it, but I read the pain and saw the fear of the near future on his face... the ‘What do I do now and how am I going to pay the bills?’ look. I needed a fork lift, and he had one, but I knew that God had me stop in his parking lot for Greg, not for the fork lift. Greg was swallowing hard to keep back tears as we prayed for his future, for peace and God providing his daily bread…

“Come to Texas and make a difference in supporting these churches and their passionate desire to reach out to their communities after the hurricane.”

From Day 14:

“The outreach part of the team went to serve the family of a Galveston PD officer. He has been working long days and has not been able to help. This was the first day they could get things out of the house. The smell in the house was overpowering. Mold had grown several feet up the walls...

“Raynette, the wife, spoke with us at length about the emotion struggle she faced each day. She confided that she really could only think of a very short time frame into the future, like an hour or two. She had no idea where they where going to live. She teared up as she looked at the pile in the street and said, ‘That's all my life in that pile. Its 26 years of my kids' lives. All gone.’

“We prayed for her and her family before we left. The team will go back tomorrow to gut out the drywall.

“Part of the team also headed to clean out the contents of a church member, and ... spent a lot of time out talking with neighbors, and getting more requests for help in cleaning out homes. We also got a list of about a dozen police officer families and some elderly people who are desperate for help. We pray that volunteers will come to help more in this neighborhood.”

Pretty powerful stuff. And more good reading where that came from, as well as information on how to support that work in Texas.

Finally, here is a good article in the Galveston County Daily News about Mark and his work

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