We have known for quite some time that we would be in Houston during the last week of October. Until two weeks ago, we thought we would be in Houston for a preaching conference. However, with the Houston area still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Ike, our purpose was shifted to helping with the recovery effort.
For the past three days, we have been working on Galveston Island with cooperation from the United Methodist Church’s recovery ministry. The devastation on Galveston Island is very comparable to the damage that I saw in Bayou La Batre, Ala. and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Galveston is only about six weeks into a recovery process that will likely take years.
Since my home is Mobile, Ala., I feel a connectedness to people in coastal areas. I could identify with Alicia Coltzer, a native of Galveston, who made it clear that her family has not even contemplated moving from the island. Island and coastal mentality is unique and particularly acquainted with the beauty, the power, and the destruction of the created order.
Our project was primarily at the Jesse Tree, which is an outreach organization to the underserved of Galveston Island. The Jesse Tree has served 40,000 people by helping with utility bills, providing health screenings, and serving lunches. The building took on over four feet of water and has been gutted. Our job was to scrape paint and prepare floors for recovering. The Jesse Tree continues to function in a limited capacity. Its primary work has been in helping families with FEMA grants. They have been very successful at that task. The return of the Jesse Tree to full working capacity will be extremely important for thousands of people on the island.
Of course, I again enjoyed rooming with Mike Hoppe (but not that Mike Hoppe).
Last night, I had a great time hanging out with Nolan and Susanna Donald. It was great to see them and chat for a while. They are planting a church in the Houston area. Check out the WordServe website. They are planning some large scale launch events in the near future. If you are in the Fulshear/Katy area, check them out.