As the rain falls and the news rolls on the TV I am humbled by the power of Hurricane Harvey.  This is being labeled as one of the worst hurricanes for Texas in US history. The “500-year flood.” My family and a sliver of people in my neighborhood are dry, no flooding in our homes, and still have power. We are a minority and very lucky. Most Houstonians have lost it all and it’s heartbreaking. If you have been following the news, you can see many people are still in need of help, rescue and supplies.

 

I want to share a little bit of our story with you. In my neighborhood of Meyerland, we were living in an apartment located right alongside the bayou. The specific area was getting increasingly violent so we decided to look for a new home in a safer area. A mom, responded to us offering her home to us for rent, as she moved downtown. The home is a two story house, five minutes from Meyerland. We were able to move in a month ago and we are actually still settling in here in the Maplewood area of Houston, Harris County.  I say all these details to paint a picture for you. If we had stayed in the apartment, we would be under water right now, we would have had to evacuate, lost power, our vehicles, and possessions. Moving 5 minutes away has given us safety in the midst of the bayou still rising. Again I say, we are very, very blessed so far.

 

The generosity of our new landlord is amazing and this cycle of generosity has blown up in our lives, as Hurricane Harvey has blown into Houston. What you have seen on the news is not an exaggeration at all. Volunteers are helping in any way they can and it’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the honor of being a part of as a full-time missionary with Adore Ministries. I found out about Adore Ministries when at Franciscan University, many of my friends are involved in this ministry. I was drawn into this mission for the authentic #lifeofjoy, growth in community, and gift of fundraising. We seek to love and walk with our neighbors, sharing the Gospel joyfully, living our faith, and growing in loving relationship with God and each other. We dedicate our lives to the Gospel and strive to live a life of simplicity, authenticity, and loving investment in communal life.

 

Adore has set up a Catholic parish here in town, St Albert’s, where locals can bring in donations and sign up to go out into the streets as a volunteer in the upcoming weeks. We are bringing supplies and a helping hand to those in need. In fact, Harvey will not be the first hurricane Adore has helped in relief efforts. When hurricane Katrina hit, Adore gave everything they had for the well-being of those impacted in Louisiana. Here they are again, pulling up boots, strapping the babies on, and getting into the mess to help people get back to some semblance of normal life.

 

The Mayor of Houston gave a press conference a few days ago and made a great point.  As immediate as the needs are right now, the damage is not done yet, people are still being rescued from roof tops, the ground is soaked and the water is still rising, the relief and cleanup will not take days, but months. Some homes have taken on 6+ feet of water. They will need to be broken down to the studs and be rebuilt. 

 

Hurricane Harvey has created a movement of neighbor, loving neighbors. Seriously, when we have a break in the rain, we all peek out of our homes to see how others are faring. In days such as these you get down to the grit and realize what is truly important. People all over are getting out just in time, saving their families and maybe a week’s worth of clothing. It is so sad to think about all of the possessions others are losing, but I am in awe of the network of community that has popped up all around us. Houston is coming together we will not just survive this storm. We will help each other rebuild, we will thrive. We will grow anew.

 

The city is not in the clear yet. Each moment brings new posts on social media and breaking news of people desperately crying for rescue and homes being washed away. The ways we, as Adore Ministries, are reaching out to our community are: temporary housing, relocation, and clean-up. If you can help at all please go here sign up, and under the campus select ‘Hurricane Harvey Flood Relief’ to donate monetarily. All of the proceeds are going to relief efforts that we do to help. My family will be offering up all that we do as a prayer for those who donate their support as a thanks. Pray for us as we pray for you!

 

The biggest blessing of the hurricane has highlighted is the generosity of the community and neighbors helping each other. I pray that we can mirror Jesus’s words, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Funny how a natural disaster has been able to highlight these virtues in the darkness of loss. I pray we continue in this mindset as the next few months unfold. Keep vigil of the needs of our city and pray that the restoration goes as peacefully as possible.

 

May the light of God lead you. God bless!

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