Today’s Ministry blog is written by one of our youth ministers- Kim Price. Kim has worked throughout the last few weeks assisting families in our church and the surrounding communities mud-out their homes.
I spent the first days of Harvey like most everyone else, glued to the television, plowing through food, congregating at Brookshire’s with others and talking about all the predictions. Like many, I underestimated the days ahead. My biggest concern at the time was making sure I was prepared for a few days without power, had all my favorite snacks, and that my phone was charged. My attitude seems almost naive looking back now.
I’ve lost track of the days since Harvey hit. I just know that we have gone from anticipation to trying to face the horrific reality of the largest storm in the history of the US…and for many, they are suspended there. I know that you may argue that we are in “recovery”, but ask a victim of Harvey that lost everything if they are in recovery. Recovery means “returning to what is normal or reclaiming what has been lost”. Many are not there. They are suspended in trying to face the reality.
I’ve spent most of the recent weeks going in homes, as a stranger, throwing lives out on the front lawn. I see their glazed eyes and blank faces as I take their most personal belongings to the curb. I’ve had to gently take the picture of a loved one, who died from leukemia, out of the hands of a weeping woman to throw away. I’ve seen ruined military awards that were the only mark of appreciation for years and years of service to our country. Day after day I go into another stranger’s home and throw away their children’s belongings, their heirlooms, collections, handwritten love notes, pictures, family bibles, and childhood treasures.
I haven’t seen anyone cry over newly purchased furniture or their expensive appliances. Not a single tear has been wept over something insignificant. Disasters have a way of reprioritizing life. They weep about things that represent a life. They are still trying to grapple with the reality that they have nothing tangible to show for a life lived, nothing left that marks the existence of a deceased loved one . They are trying to do this as they are displaced and unsure about the future.
I spoke to a woman from a church that is heading disaster relief teams just a few days ago. With worry in her eyes she told me they have a stack of homes they have not even gotten to yet and that the help is moving out. That means there are people still suspended in the wait and will be there for who knows how long.
For us that aren’t actually victims, we are the only ones in recovery. We are returning to a normal state, and while the world would say that we should get back to life as normal, God paints a different picture. He says we are to mourn with those who mourn, carry their burdens, give to those in need, provide shelter for the displaced, and provide the hope of the gospel to all. As believers, we can’t leave them. We must walk with them, however slow the pace.
If you are like me, you feel a little overwhelmed with how that plays out. I think small acts of kindness will go far. A text, a call, a hug, a gift that replaces something lost. It’s says you are not forgotten. It says, I will wait with you until you are ready to recover. Most importantly though, we can give the hope of the gospel. The greatest recovery from a broken world is Jesus, and the eternal hope He provides. Hearts are primed for the gospel. People are seeking hope. They are looking for something that cannot be lost or destroyed. We have what they are seeking.