We have all experienced an unprecedented weather event in our city that has left many homeless or otherwise devastated. I am truly grateful that all of you are safe and that, at least to date, there has been minimal loss of life. We have about 10 families from Bethany that have either had their homes completely flooded or have been evacuated from their homes. In addition to that, several of our CPA congregations have been damaged and have had significant numbers of their members impacted by this storm. The work of recovery from Harvey is likely to take months if not years.
Many of you have already been a blessing by giving of your time and energy to help members of our Bethany family and other neighbors and guests in our city, county and surrounding areas manage the challenges they are facing. Thank you for all that you are doing and for being a compassionate presence to so many! A dear friend of mine shared with me about the loss of her home saying, “How are we going to survive this?” My response to her was this: “As I look around and see how many people have been saved and how many people from all over the country have come to help save them, I can’t help but believe that God is with us!”
God is with us! Our faith continues to give us strength as we manage the circumstances of this tragedy. The spirit of Christ is at work in the hearts of so many who are volunteering at shelters, driving rescue boats and giving generously to relief efforts. Jacquie and I will soon be hosting some police officers coming from Midland on their own time and their own dime, to help with recovery efforts here. They are bringing a 20 foot trailer full of donated supplies that my daughter and others have helped put together for our local shelters. Thank you, God, for all the many ways you are present with us!
Some of you are likely wanting to help but may not know how. Because we will be experiencing traffic challenges for weeks to come, I encourage you to do what you can in the areas where you live. If there are shelters nearby, ask them if they need volunteers or supplies and do what you can. If you know families or individuals that have been flooded out and have no place to go, please either take them in or help them find shelter. If you feel the best way you can be of help is by giving financial support to relief efforts I encourage you to do so. The Red Cross certainly needs our support and our Disciples of Christ Week of Compassion will also be giving grants to churches, families and individuals related to Disciples congregations to help them rebuild. Let’s share what we can of ourselves and our resources so that God can use us for His purpose here.
“God is our refuge and our strength!” (Psalm 46). And He will give us what we need to handle what we must! Let us all draw strength from His presence and be instruments of his Love and Grace! For those of you reading this message that have lost your homes in the floods, please know that we are with you and that we will walk this journey with you as much as you are willing for and need us to. Our love and prayers are with you!
For all of you, please know that Blair and I are lifting you up in prayer and that we are truly grateful for each one of you.
“May The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace.” AMEN
Tommy T and Blair Parker