We sang a cute little song in church when I was a child about rains coming down, floods coming up, and houses that went splat. The splat was easily the most fun part of the song, but when I experienced that reality as an adult it was far less entertaining. Victims of Hurricane Harvey are facing that same reality today.
My hurricane experience came at the same time of year as Harvey, and it was Labor Day weekend when the first large group of heroes arrived to give us hope. I suspect that has been the same experience for many in Texas.
We only had a few negative encounters in the aftermath of the storm. Like a group bringing a personal photographer to document their own kindness. And like another insisting that we needed their massive clothing donation immediately even though we had no homes, much less closets. Oh, and every encounter with every level of government and insurance company was its own disaster.
But the biggest flood of all was the beautiful flood of kindness from individuals and churches from all over the world. It was overwhelming in the very best way, and it was our salvation.
So I have two pieces of advice to share from personal experience:
First, although “news” is ever-changing by definition, remember that the needs will not go away quickly. Join in for the long haul. I love the first responders so much. And I have a unique respect for those who still came months later.
Second, give freely. Find an organization or individual that you trust, and then trust them. The victims know what they need. Listen first. Respond second.
Losing everything in a hurricane is in retrospect, but only in retrospect, a strangely wonderful time in the history of our family due to the love that we witnessed and received. I pray that many in Texas will be able to look back with similar fondness someday.
I remember vividly many parts of the few days that our group was able to spend in Ocean Springs. We were amazed at the resilience and hospitality that all the locals showed to all those who came to help. One of funniest things etched in my memory bank is how for your first service in the building at Ocean Springs Church of Christ we sat up a “table” for the Lord’s Supper made of cases of canned goods. Even in these disastrous situations God’s ultimate plan is at work.
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Thanks, Terry! So strange to remember and say “such good memories” — but that is the truth. Thank you for your compassion for us and for your great friendship. Unforgettable.