This past summer St. Luke’s sent a group to the Dominican Republic on a family mission trip. Our church has partnered with GO Ministries in the DR for several years because we respect their philosophy that “by working alongside local leaders in construction, sports, medical or children’s ministry, groups have the opportunity to teach and be taught more about the love of Christ.”

Part of the vision of that trip, or any trip we take to the DR, is that we take home what we learn there, and can continue that kind of work in Houston. It is mutually transformational. It benefits both the giver and the recipient. This year two of the St. Luke’s families that went included the Kroencke and Mercados. Both families have served as the hands and feet of Christ on foreign mission trips and within our city.

As Hurricane Harvey moved into Houston, our city was hit hard and not only were we faced with personal losses, but many of our friends were affected as well. On Tuesday during the hurricane, one of our biggest concerns was for Evan Long-Quian’s family. Evan is a college student whose dad has Alzheimer’s. This family was already stretched incredibly thin before the hurricane. Knowing everything they were dealing with before the storm made them high on our list. We hoped for the best, but word came that their home had taken on two feet of water.

The second that the streets were passable, I walked over to their house and was surprised to see that the Kroencke family was already there. I hadn’t called them… they were just there. The Mercados were not far behind. Brenda Mercado told me, “this is a young man I partnered with on a trip to the DR. Evan has such a servant’s heart and he is loved by us the same way he loves the Dominican kids. It is important to be here for him.”

Neither family needed instruction; they knew what to do. We just picked up where we left off in the Dominican Republic. Blessed and trained to be the hands and feet of Christ, they began the clean-up process and have been unstoppable since that time. Not only were they committed to serving, but they also recruited their friends to join in. The Kroencke and Mercado families have always had servant hearts, but I do think the training and the equipping that we got from serving in the Dominican Republic helped them serve at a higher capacity and move others to join them.

This is what it means to live out our 5 Inside-Out habits. When we pray, we study the Bible, we make friends and we tell our stories. Then, when opportunities come to give ourselves away in generosity and service, we are ready and we serve.

P.S. While we were mucking the house, the insurance adjuster arrived and said,
“I have never seen this before.” When asked what he meant, the adjuster replied, “I have never seen people love each other the way they do in Houston.”