This June 11 Students and 4 leaders went to Houston, TX to assist in hurricane relief efforts from last summer’s Hurricane Harvey.
Why did we go?
A question we often got from people was, why would you go on a hurricane relief trip almost a year after the event? Isn’t everything back to normal by now?
A good question, and an understandable one for sure, but what people don’t often see is that after the news crew’s leave a week after the hurricane there are hundreds of thousands of people left in the city with little to nothing. Damage on the scale seen during Harvey meant that, long after the nation’s interest moved on to other things, the damage remains and will remain for several years to come.
Driving around Houston it was clear to see that while the areas with more money had fully recovered, the lower income areas still remained with a lot of work still to be done.
What did we do?
We partnered with Group Missions Trips who run a summer work camp program centered in Tomball, TX, which is a city north of Houston. There were a total of 300 people staying at a high school from youth groups all over the country doing work camps that week. Every morning and evening there would be a large group teaching time centered on the life of Peter and how his encounters with Jesus built spiritual grit into his life.
Our team was split into two groups; The first group went to do various projects at a home outside of Houston. The family there needed a new roof for their house as well as other exterior projects to be done. The team was able to paint the exterior of the house as well as rip out the old roof, lay out new boards and paper for the roof and begin the process of putting on new shingles.
The second group was focused on painting the interior of a house in Houston that had been destroyed by the flooding but had been rebuilt in the year since and was almost ready to be moved back into. We painted the vast majority of the interior of the house during the week and helped the family begin the process of moving back in.
What was the point?
Jesus’ call on our lives is to be Disciples who make Disciples. We do this through living like Jesus, specifically through sacrificially loving others. We believe that when we choose to give of ourselves and help other people who are in need who we don’t even know we’re taking part in God’s big plan of restoration for the world.
The roof of the house that was put on will need to be redone someday; the walls we painted will be repainted someday as well. The physical work that we did was temporary, just like all physical work we do here. The relationships we got to build with the homeowners though is what will stick through eternity.
This week we spent in Houston matters because of the people who got to see an example of what sacrificial love looks like. This week matters because our students got to have a concentrated experience where they had the opportunity to display the love of Jesus in a unique way, a way that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.