Stopped in our tracks. Harvey managed to put a halt in the busy-ness of a major U.S. city that is usually bustling with traffic and people and economic activity.
Although Houston was prepared for Harvey days in advance, nothing could have prepared us for what has unfolded in these few days. Days that have seemed long and never-ending, with a rain that doesn’t want to stop and a storm that seeks destruction. But it has not destroyed us, it will not destroy us.
Harvey has left an impact for sure. It has displaced families, ruined neighborhoods, and even taken lives. But it has also impacted Houston in other ways.
There is endless praise for prayers being answered here in Houston. Prayers of water lines dropping suddenly when it was just about to enter a home, prayers of safety that have been answered for so many, and prayers of comfort and hope being given to displaced families and those in need.
Harvey has brought Houston together as one common thread. It has torn down boundaries of race, background, and financial status. In just a few short hours, walking around the neighborhoods in the storm, I saw more people interacting with each other than ever before. We are equals here, after one common goal, to help those in the greatest need.
The phrase I have heard the most throughout these days has been “How can I help?” I am encouraged by communities and churches coming together to find ways to serve, give, and offer hope.
In the darkness, light finds its way to shine even brighter. The skies may be gray outside, but do not be deceived, the light is shining bright here in Houston. People are doing anything they can to help, from bringing boats, to volunteering at shelters, to offering up their homes for people to stay. At some shelters, they are having to turn away volunteers because they have so many! Isn’t that amazing? This makes me proud of the city I call home. Local businesses are opening up their doors, not for business as usual, but for hubs to drop off supplies for the many shelters in the area.
For such a time as this. I am reminded of God’s timing and sovereignty, His control over all things, and most of all Christ whom he has placed in us for such a time as this, to offer true relief and deliverance for those in need. I have seen many prayer requests since this storm began, and there will be many more to come. I have been encouraged by the nation’s response to prayers for Texas. And let me tell you, your prayers are heard.
There is endless praise for prayers being answered left and right here in Houston. Prayers of water lines dropping suddenly when it was just about to enter a home, prayers of safety that have been answered for so many, and prayers of comfort and hope being given to displaced families and those in need.
A friend's note about a family staying with them for three days: “Thank you for praying, they made it! Praise God that we got to spend the last three days talking to them about God’s goodness and provision and the power of prayer. It was sweet to be able to show them this thread and talk about how our church was coming together to care for each other and our city.”
If anything, Harvey has created a great opportunity for the city of Houston. Opportunities for service and love to spread to those whom may not have felt a need for it otherwise. Opportunities to reach out to neighbors and even complete strangers who may have never crossed our path before.
I have a feeling these opportunities will only become more frequent as the rain lets up and the waters recede. The remnant of Harvey will pass. Life will start to normalize. It may take weeks or even months to feel normal for some. I have high hopes for Houston beyond this though. Houston will be changed by Harvey. Changed for good. There was a faint heartbeat that was waning before Harvey hit, the city seemed lost in motion and busy-ness.
Houston’s heartbeat is strong now. You can hear it beyond the rain when you listen closely. It’s getting stronger as the days go on.
If you are seeking ways to help, here is a concise list of places to be able to give for hurricane relief:
Red Cross: www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make an instant $10 donation
City of Houston:
· Checks/Money Orders: Mail to Greater Houston Community Foundation, 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000, Houston,TX.
· Transfer Cash by Wire To: JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. Houston, TX ABA# 021000021
· Credit: Greater Houston Community Foundation A/C# 849170287
· For further credit to Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund - firstname.lastname@example.org