Halfway between downtown Houston, Texas and Galveston Bay lies the town of Deer Park. To the West is Pasadena and to the east, Baytown.
Citizens of these Houston suburbs are no strangers to the issue of flooding, so they’re normally quite prepared. But as the nation watched recently, all of their preparedness was futile in the face of the massive, devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
We were able to connect with Charlie Ellison, Executive Pastor at Life Bridge Baptist Church in Deer Park while he was out in a truck delivering supplies to local residents who have now lost everything.
Life Bridge has sent teams out to clear debris, tear out damaged flooring and sheetrock, and deliver supplies purchased from local stores using money donated by people near and far. Part of their work is simply getting to pray for people as they serve. “Most of these people didn’t have flood insurance because flooding never seemed like a problem they’d have to deal with.”
“They haven’t just lost things. They’ve lost memories and all that they’ve worked for over a lifetime,” he continued. “It’s a blessing just to be able to pray with them and give them some hope.”
Rather than relaying exhaustion, Pastor Charlie shared elation over the opportunities that had arisen unexpectedly from tragedy. In particular, Charlie had observed a renewed sense of unity among peers and residents. Life Bridge has come together as a church family. The leaders of towns and communities across Texas and Louisiana have worked hand-in-hand.
The whole nation has gotten involved. He recounted receiving one check for $10 from a dear elderly lady somewhere in Arkansas who, living on her fixed income, wanted to do something to be part of the clean up effort.
Life Bridge and many other local churches have been supported in their ministry by outside organizations such as the American Red Cross, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Convoy of Hope.
Pastor Charlie’s biggest word of encouragement from the middle of the damage was intended to remind people that “God can take a mess and make a mighty message out of it!”
How do you find joy in the middle of devastating loss?
You get involved. You serve. You show love. You take care of the hurting, offer to pray, and give to those in need.
And in the end, you receive, even out of tremendous brokenness, the blessing of seeing God at work in the middle of it all.
If you’d like to learn more about the work Life Bridge is doing, visit their website!