Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Hurricanes have a unique wind field. The primary circulation is the rotational part of the flow; it is purely circular. Harvey’s wide swath of destruction arrived as rain bands lashed around and around and deluged Texas for days. The resulting floods left Houstonians reeling, and many out of their homes.
In August of 2016, Baton Rouge experienced flooding rains described as “an historic, unprecedented flooding event.” St. Luke’s responded immediately and sent truckloads of flood buckets and supplies to help equip Broadmoor UMC to help with those affected by the disaster. And here we sit — almost exactly a year later, Harvey has hit and it is we who are needing help and supplies. After the rains stopped, Broadmoor loaded up trucks with supplies, along with a visit from their Pastor, Outreach Director and other folks. They encouraged us, instructed us in best practices to help the maximum amount of people. Days later, they sent more.
Meanwhile, volunteers at the Blanton Building greeted and unloaded trucks from Chipley First Baptist (panhandle of Florida) and communities from Shreveport, Louisiana to Detroit, Michigan. Through it all, tireless volunteers manned the Operations Center and distributed to all who had need. Blanton has already filled and emptied six times as St. Luke’s and The Story Houston sent out mucking teams, filled pickup trucks with donations, resupplied Christian community Service Center (CCSC) and the Gethsemane efforts as well as many sister churches in nearby communities.
On Saturday, Sepember 9, an 18-wheeler arrived with donations from a coalition in Shreveport, LA organized by former St. Luke’s staff member Benny Vaughn. Shreveport also knows what it is to have their neighbors under water. So they came alongside to resource St. Luke’s who in turn shared it forward. The Story learned of a desperate need of supplies in Beaumont and Port Arthur through SETX (South East Texas) Harvey relief. Between The Story and Blanton, six pallets were loaded and sent to where the need was greatest.
And teams of volunteers came to muck out flooded homes. Students, adults, friends of friends all converged at St. Luke’s to be sent out to work. One team came from New Orleans. Their memory is green and know all too well what floods do to communities. The cycle of blessing continues.