With one of the most devastating natural disasters that Texas has ever seen, and one of the costliest to hit the U.S., God is amongst people in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. There is destruction, pain, and disaster—but there is still hope.
Pastor Kevin Pigg from Crossbridge Christian Church (Houston, Texas), and Pastor Greg Garcia from Creekside Christian Fellowship (Needville, Texas), spoke to CDF Capital about the ways they are offering relief and shelter to their communities that have been affected by the violent floods.
These church leaders are working tirelessly to give to their churches and individuals. Even in the chaos, exhaustion, and relief efforts, there are people leaning into faith.
Greg shared one story of hope that he witnessed last week: Over a decade ago Creekside Christian offered gymnastics classes to the community. And 9-year-old Angel was dropped off every week for class. His family never attended church beyond the Easter and Christmas holidays, but they would bring him to gymnastics.
Now Angel is 22, and his home was just demolished by Hurricane Harvey, his family scattered. Angel was transported to a relief center at a local high school. However, the high school was overflowing with people and they told him that he needed to find another shelter. He had two options, and one of the buses was transporting people to Needville, Texas. Angel followed his intuition, and when he reached Needville he was dropped off at Creekside Christian Fellowship, where people welcomed him in and remembered him from when he attended gymnastics class as a boy.
Angel exclaimed, “I just knew it was going to be you guys! I just knew it in my heart.”
“I just knew it was going to be you guys! I just knew it in my heart.”
After he was settled in at their church shelter, Angel began serving alongside the church, helping aid other victims of the destruction. After years apart, he is reconnecting with the church that ministered to him in his youth.
Pastor Greg was affected by Hurricane Harvey too. Last week in all the chaos, Greg and his family were displaced for nine days. Greg was using his jeep to transport individuals who had been trapped to get to shelters. But because it is now the only vehicle he and his family have available, his daughter used it to get to her job at Texas Children's Hospital. This left Greg with no way to get to his church.
Yet God was not finished. As the CDF Leadership Capital team was speaking with both Greg and Kevin Pigg of Crossbridge Christian Church on the phone at the same time, Kevin heard Greg describe this transportation problem. There on the call, Kevin offered his car and any other resources that Greg might need.
Meanwhile, over at Crossbridge, Kevin’s greatest need is for the volunteers. The stress and exhaustion is getting to them, where hope and love is needed most. Kevin explained, “We are currently closing our shelter and retooling for the next phase of recovery.”
“We provided a little hope and we did so with the love of Jesus,” said Kevin.
The 100+ volunteers have:
- housed 600+ flood victims and their pets during the time of operation
- assisted in semi-permanent housing while homes are being restored
- given vet treatment to the hundreds of animals that came through
- fed all the guests and volunteers and families
- rescued hundreds in the boat brigade that went into local flooded neighborhoods
- gave out food and water to guests and other flood victims
- sorted and gave out several tons of clothes and linens
- played with and cared for children in the families who were evacuated
- gave medical treatment as needed
- sent seven pickup loads of water and food to Port Arthur/Beaumont area, which flooded worse, and continue to do so for that region
“The biggest thing our volunteers did was to help our guests keep the faith,” said Kevin. “We provided a little hope, and we did so with the love of Jesus.”
Greg Garcia's church, Creekside, has also hosted and helped:
- 85 evacuees
- 22 animals
- gutted and cleared out 25 homes
- served meals in surrounding rural communities
- hosted out-of-state relief teams
- was the local hub for supplies for rural communities
What you can do to help:
There are two ways that YOU can be a part of the relief:
- Pray. We are the body of Christ and we need to help those who are hopeless, fearful and possibly scattered from their families.
- Donate to the Harvey Relief Fund with Crossbridge Christian Church where they are working hard to help assist the individuals that have been dramatically affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Harvey Aftermath Updates
Here is an update from Kevin Pigg, from Crossbridge Christian Church:
Many of you have been praying for us, sending supplies and money and I want to keep you apprised of what is happening. What follows is a lot of words, believe it or not, I have edited significantly.
- We have mucked out many homes. Here’s what that means: The homes had taken on water; debris and sludge came in with the water and was left behind. So entire floors torn out, the drywall cut out in the entire house and garage. All insulation removed. Toilets and tubs, cabinets and stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, furniture removed. In nearly every home, there was a pile of trash covering 75% of the front yard stacked about 10 feet high. Individual’s lives mucked out and laying soaked on the front yard.
- We gave away 10 sheds from I.D.E.S. We identified 10 hard-hit families near us. With the help of IDES we erected the sheds so they would have a place to store belongings as the recovery takes place.
- We helped sheetrock dozens of homes. In many cases we got supplies donated, in some cases we bought sheetrock, and some cases we just supplied the labor. This will be an ongoing process for many months.
- We have helped several families in very significant ways. Buying cabinets, floors, appliances. As the funding continues, we will continue. We have a process for vetting need as well as helping without enabling. The goal is to help families while at the same time preserving their dignity. That is a hard line sometimes, but I think with the personal touch we have, we are doing a good job. One of the families was helped by a generous donation from Pastor Craig Scott of Fairfield Christian Church in Fairfield, IL.
- Some of the work has been from work teams. Teams came from: St. Louis led by Pastor Karl Schad, California led by Pastor Ken LaMont, and Dallas led by Pastor Tom Wilson. A church group from Indiana seemed to emerge from out of nowhere with no clear leader. We also had help from the Cajun Navy, the Texas Navy and an awesome group of Veterans. In addition to the out of town work teams, local work teams like boy scouts have helped. As well as individuals. I know of even one atheist and two Muslims who joined with Crossbridge people to show the love of Jesus.
- As a result… Since Harvey we have had 10 baptisms, some from our shelter. One husband and wife have joined Crossbridge. His daughter sent me a thank you note. She has prayed for 20 years for her dad to get back in church. Crossbridge people being Jesus-with-skin-on in the wake of Harvey is what drew him back.
We will continue helping our neighbors rebuild. We have joined with dozens of local churches in our area of Houston so that we have a single database. The benefits of this partnership is to:
- Ensure all families affected get help without overlapping.
- Practice a vetting process that ensures resources go to real needs.
The partnership is strong enough to help, but loose enough that Crossbridge is able to help in the way that Crossbridge does: To love people like Jesus would, with a personal touch.
We have received a grant from IDES that is to be used primarily to help individuals and families affected by Harvey and the following floods. We will keep helping our neighbors in the name of Jesus.
Dusty Rubeck of CDF Capital sent us $10,000 that will be used for church repairs.
Harvey created over 30 leaks in our roof and the recommendation is to put on a new roof. The first bid was $95,000. Our insurance company has denied our claim. We have had a forensic engineer roofing expert scout the roof and he concurs with the insurance company. According to the wording of the policy there is no claim because there is no permanent breech. The water that entered was all wind driven. That leaves us with a need for a new roof as well as an estimate of $100,000 in damage inside the building to repair.
Pastor Tim McDonnell of West Springs Church in St. Louis received an offering for us and will help with this. $19,455.30.We will be seeking volunteer teams to come and help with church building repairs. In addition to the main building, the gym building that housed 660 people and over 200 animals needs some significant refurbishing.
The recovery process will take months, possibly years. But we will continue. I want you to be assured, as prayer, financial, and physical partners, everything done by Crossbridge is done in the name of Jesus. Harvey was a disaster for sure. But it is in the midst of disasters that Christ followers shine the light of Jesus. And we are leveraging this disaster and all the help afterwards to lift up the name of Jesus. Any partnership with us is partnership with the great commission.