While most of us in America enjoyed a long holiday weekend of cookouts and relaxation, thousands of our brothers and sisters in the Houston area emerged from church on Sunday with the harsh reality that the hard work of recovery was just beginning. I and several of my CDF colleagues including Dirk Scates and Jeff Frankowski, spent time last week making contact with a handful of key Christian church leaders in the region.
They told stories of how their congregations were rising to the occasion and serving as heroes in the lives of many. The opportunities for service and ministry are endless!
We know we serve a God that is bigger than this storm.
When we asked what they needed, the single response was “prayer.” So today we are sending this brief email asking all of our CDF investor/partners to join in prayer for the churches of Houston as they reach out with the love of Christ to a broken community.
As the floodwaters recede, the news media and the country will move onto the next big story. But this great city will struggle for months and will likely be changed forever. From my vantage point, our prayers should just be getting started!
By all accounts, it seems that Hurricane Harvey was the largest and most destructive storm to hit the United States. With a death toll over 60 and an estimated economic impact of over $150 billion (bigger impact than Katrina and Sandy combined), it can be difficult to know how to pray and to figure out how you can help.
What you Can do to Help
We know we serve a God that is bigger than this storm, and as the ebb of the flood waters flow into the sea we will hear more stories and see how God used this disaster to bring people together, to grow relationships, and to see millions of people coming together in community to serve their neighbors.
Again, they all need our prayers.
Most of our partner churches in the Houston area came through the storm with minimal or little damage to their church buildings. However, there are many individuals who are part of these churches that experienced flooding and loss (many of them without flood insurance).
Here are a few reports and stories from our partner churches:
- Crossbridge Christian Church in Houston, TX opened its doors as a shelter and has been receiving donations for food and services for flood victims.
- Carverdale Church of Christ, a CDF partner church in Houston, TX with an active construction project that is 65% completed, sustained minor flooding in their current facility, no damage to their new facility, and will be holding services this Sunday.
- Creekside Christian Fellowship in Needville, TX opened its doors as a shelter and has been sending volunteer crews to the smaller surrounding communities who are not getting the same attention and resources as the larger cities.
- North Side Christian Church in Spring, TX is also receiving donations and is providing hot meals for relief workers.
- Providence Christian Church has set up a flood victims fund on their website with every dollar going directly to flood victims and their families. You can donate at their website here: http://www.providencechristianchurch.com/
- Current Christian Church in Katy, TX is receiving donations and is providing hot meals for relief workers.
In addition to prayers, CDF Capital is sending a donation to these churches to assist their leaders with the special needs and projects that are coming their way each day. This email to you is NOT a fundraising appeal, it is an appeal for your prayer support to all of those in this special time of need.
But, if you feel led to send funds, check out any of these churches’ web pages and send support. We know each of these congregations and their leaders. They are trustworthy servants in the Kingdom who are deserving of our support.
Thanks for taking time to read this prayer update. And thank you for joining us in supporting our brothers and sisters from Texas in prayer!
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.