By Silvi Pirn
Christian service is not simply an item on the checklist of neverending to-do’s, but a way of responding to the world of suffering with life, hope, and joy regardless of to-do’s. It is also a profound way to deepen faith. Those who serve choose to become available and vulnerable. They experience the grace of humility and gain a sense of what it might begin to mean to bear unconditional good news and hope to people the world may seem to have forgotten, people who would never otherwise find a place on our “to-do” list. Those who are served also experience the grace of humility and can be inspired to deeper devotion through the gift they have received. They also experience a degree of relief and even joy from receiving help they were not certain would come.
A place where people still need help is Southeast Texas. In late August, toxic floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey did damage to innumerable homes where no flood was expected and no flood insurance recommended or required. Those who need help are often single mothers, elderly residents, sick or disabled individuals, or those in the working class who must continue to pay the bills on a home they cannot live in, leaving no time or resources for repairs. FEMA and other sources of emergency relief barely cover the cost of temporary housing, which, in many cases are unheated tents and trailers next to the damaged homes. The relief is not nearly enough to pay for the tear-out of flood-damaged personal items, flooring, walls, appliances, etc. or repairs after. Cold weather has settled in and so many families have had to face Christmas and the New Year in dire conditions.
In November, Kenilworth Union Church sent a team to Texas. Our team was dispatched and directed by The Cajun Army, who has been working nonstop since August and will stay “until the work is done.” It was quickly apparent the army needed much more help than the three days our team could provide. There are over 100 homes still on their list to “muck out” and repair.
They made it clear that their greatest need is volunteers. There are Cajun Army volunteers who have been in Texas since August, sacrificing so much to take care of the needs of strangers. They are weary and need back-up. And this is where Jesus has called us, once again, to serve. January 3–9 another team from Kenilworth Union Church, this time mostly made up of college students, will join the army and put our faith into action to help people still suffering in Texas.
Please pray for those people and all those who have faced disaster in 2017. And please pray for the servants who have dedicated their time and talents to make sure those affected receive the help they need and are not forgotten.