How Can I Help? # Hurricane Harvey

Support Harvey Relief

Donate Now!

This can be done by mailing a check to:

Texas District Relief
c/o Mrs. Linda Hagge
7900 Highway 290 East
Austin, TX 78724

Volunteer Assistance Form

Volunteer

Assistance Request Form

Request Relief

If you are the pastor and need to make a request for personal assistance, give the completed form to your circuit visitor. The circuit visitor will submit such requests to the disaster relief coordinator.

During those times when congregations are not affected but communities are, the community support requests must be submitted by the pastor of a local congregation in that community to the disaster relief coordinator.

September 15

After a week and a half of visiting and listening to people in the storm zone, common denominators on one side are water in homes, loss of vehicles, roof damage, mold, trees down, dehumidifiers. On the other side there are heroic efforts by neighbors to assist, comfort and assure that this will come to an end. The place of recovery varies from community to community. Some have cleaned up and are ready to replace sheetrock. Others have been replacing the sheetrock. Some are still waiting for their house to dry out. Some are still removing wet contents. Some homes and neighborhoods will be standing in water for weeks yet. And we have a new disaster lurking-mold. If homes do not dry out properly, the problem of mold with arise.

In the midst of all of this, ministry must continue. Weddings, funerals, people going to the hospital for treatment and surgery unrelated to the storm. Worship services are being planned and held. Schools are working hard to open and begin conducting classes. But there are shared meals in unexpected places such as out on the street that was once flooded with water. God is using these opportunities to do amazing things through His people!

The work of the Texas District, LCMS in a disaster such as Hurricane Harvey is to assist pastors, church workers, congregations and members with property damage. The numbers who received significant damage are constantly being adjusted upwards as we learn more, but as it stands most recently from Corpus Christi to Beaumont, with Houston in-between, and as far inland as La Grange:
Pastors (12)
Church Workers (41)
Congregations with significant property damage (11)
and church members (more than 684)

Currently, $105,000 disaster relief dollars have been issued and this number will increase daily as grant requests are approved.

We are so blessed as congregations with the capacity step in and lead relief efforts in their areas. These congregations are not only helping their members but others as well. The Texas District has named a Director of Immediate Disaster Response to assist and direct the relief efforts. More information on this is coming soon.

If you would like to volunteer to assist, fill out the Volunteer Interest Form. Please be patient with this as we have been overwhelmed with offers to come from near and far. We are working tirelessly to set up places to house and feed people for days and weeks in areas that are still without electricity, gas, and other necessities. We are doing what we can.

Your dollars are still needed and the most flexible gift available. We are receiving grant requests daily. When these dollars are received people are relieved, encouraged, assured and grateful. Your gifts are making a huge difference-thank you!

Regular updates on the Harvey relief effort will appear in Minister to Minister as well as on Facebook and the district website.

Rev. Steven Misch
Texas District, LCMS
Disaster Relief Coordinator
Professional Church Worker Conference

September 8, 2017

Paul says to the Philippians, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding with guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7.

God’s people are mobilizing to cooperate, coordinate and communicate. I cannot do justification to explain the work that is being done or the work that will need to be done for months and perhaps years to come. Congregations and members have provided emergency shelter to people from within the area of the storm. People from Texas and from around the country have been asking what they can do. There are fuel shortages as far away from Houston as San Antonio. One LCMS congregation in California sent a tanker of gasoline to the Northwest side of Houston. The best contribution that can be made at this time is dollars and needed goods. Meals are being prepared with a capacity of 2,000 a day. Flood buckets are being assembled and delivered with regularity.

Here is a list of goods that are needed: Mops/Additional Mop Heads,Brooms, Large Squeegees, Shovels (wide/flat), Mud Buckets, Large Trash Cans, Heavy Duty Trash Bags, HD Dust Bins, HD Paper Towels, Regular Paper Towels, Disposable Cleaning Cloths, Clorox Wipes, Scrub Brushes, Scrubby Sponges, Bleach, Pine Sol, Window Cleaner, Multipurpose Cleaners, Bug Spray, HD rubber Gloves, Goggles, Face Masks, Hazmat Suits (Lowes/Home Depot), Diapers/Wipes (all sizes), Powder Formula (no liquid formula), Adult Diapers (men’s/women’s), Tarps.

If you would like to contribute any of the above items and to arrange delivery to a warehouse, contact Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball at 281-947-2847.

If you would like to volunteer your time in the weeks and months ahead, please go to the volunteer button and register your name and your group. You will then be on our list. When we are ready and have work for you we will let you know.

Until then, please keep this effort in your prayers knowing that we have a God who transcends the storm. Indeed, He will use even this event and His people to bring His Gospel to the heart of many who did not know Him by faith before.

Rev. Steven Misch
Texas District, LCMS
Disaster Relief Coordinator
Professional Church Worker Conference

September 4, 2017

Paul says to the Philippians, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding with guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7.

In an article by Kelsey Bradshaw and Chris Eudaily, mySA.com / San Antonio Express-News, the size of the wind/rain field of Harvey was superimposed over the state of Texas. Combining this map with our demographic tool, MissionInsite, a picture of the impact of this storm and Texas District Congregations is shown graphically in the photos included in this post.

The number of LCMS congregations that were in the wind/rain field included 204 congregations (about 50% of the churches in the Texas District). However, most of those congregations on the edges, while they received rain, did not receive damage.

About 124 congregations (30%) were in the most destructive wind/rain field. Assessing damage is on going and reports are still coming in but as of now, there are eight to eleven church buildings damaged (including Houston, Corpus Christi, and the Golden Triangle), eight pastors and twenty-seven church workers with damage to homes and vehicles. Over 650 LCMS members have had significant damage to their homes or have flooded vehicles.
This incident is still at many different stages of expression. In some places, the water is receding and in others, it is still rising. Some are gutting their homes. Some have contacted insurance agents. Some are yet being rescued from their homes.

In Rockport, Port Aransas and areas north of there, where the storm made landfall and stalled, trees have been stripped of their leaves, electric poles are lying flat on the ground, homes have lost their shingles, windows, siding, car ports and debris is scattered all around. Tarp and Pond Liner is being installed upon virtually every home in these coastal communities until insurance agents and roofers can come and make the repairs if not rebuild entirely. It is estimated that Port Aransas is 60% gone by local authorities.

The same can safely be assumed in the other small communities of the coastal bend. The last estimate for the restoration of electricity in Rockport is September 11. And the salt marsh mosquitos are thick and relentless making work all the more difficult. Finally, there was significant damage in Corpus Christi, but the damage is not as wide spread, still devastating to those whose homes were hit.

Beaumont has opened up to traffic again but the work is similar. The situation was desperate for some time regarding water. A mega-church coalition, operating out of Concordia, San Antonio and partnering with mega churches in Texas and around the country, was able to dispatch over two dozen palates of water to the area. Orange, where Grace Lutheran is located, seemed to be among those hit the hardest in this area. The church building took on feet of water and the pastor lost his residence.

And then there is the Houston area from Freeport to Tomball, from Katy to Clear Lake, Texas City, and Galveston. Expressing the size of this mess is virtually impossible. One story can generally describe many situations. That is Memorial, Katy. The church building took on water, but still usable. The parsonage, where one of the DCE’s lived is going to be torn down. The new preschool building took on only a little water but the senior pastor’s home had was flooded throughout. Most neighborhoods and many members in the area are devastated. Some Public Schools have had to close for the 2017-18 academic school year. Still, the staff is gathering members to assist those who were flooded.

A second such story is in the Klein area. The senior pastor of Trinity, Klein and his wife, were rescued by Jet Ski. His home was flooded. Still, the congregation and staff set up emergency shelters for area evacuees in their gym and then assisted uncountable numbers of people with dry goods and cleaning supplies. Salem, Tomball is warehousing goods and preparing long term volunteer staging. LCMS Disaster Relief is sending down significant equipment to Salem for the entire area to be used for cleaning and mucking homes. Resources there can be picked up location. (For more information, see below.) Orphan Grain Train is providing transportation of those items.

Trinity in downtown Houston is housing the Houston police as their building across the street was flooded. Christ the King in Kingwood has a major effort in their area and Crosspoint, Katy has become a hub for relief efforts as has Gloria Dei, Christ Memorial, Trinity, Port Arthur, as well as Peace, Rockport. I cannot list all the work, the places and the offers for assistance.

With 124 congregations in the zone, this, obviously, is just a small snapshot of the effort. The relief effort has been incredible from every congregation. God’s people are mobilizing to cooperate, coordinate and communicate. I cannot do justification to explain the work that is being done or the work that will need to be done for months and perhaps years to come. Congregations and members have provided emergency shelter to people from within the area of the storm. People from Texas and from around the country have been asking what they can do. There are fuel shortages as far away from Houston as San Antonio. One LCMS congregation in California sent a tanker of gasoline to the Northwest side of Houston. The best contribution that can be made at this time, is dollars and needed goods. Meals are being prepared with a capacity of 2,000 a day. Flood buckets are being assembled and delivered with regularity.

Here is a list of goods that are needed: Mops/Additional Mop Heads, Brooms, Large Squeegees, Shovels (wide/flat), Mud Buckets, Large Trash Cans, Heavy Duty Trash Bags, HD Dust Bins, HD Paper Towels, Regular Paper Towels, Disposable Cleaning Cloths, Clorox Wipes, Scrub Brushes, Scrubby Sponges, Bleach, Pine Sol, Window Cleaner, Multipurpose Cleaners, Bug Spray, HD rubber Gloves, Goggles, Face Masks, Hazmat Suits (Lowes/Home Depot), Diapers/Wipes (all sizes), Powder Formula (no liquid formula), Adult Diapers (men’s/women’s), Tarps.

If you would like to contribute any of the above items and to arrange delivery to a warehouse, contact Salam, Tomball at this number 281-947-2847.

Plans are underway to prepare for long-term recovery efforts. This recovery will require many volunteers. Currently, only self-contained volunteers are able to be welcomed. You need to have a place to sleep at night and you need to provide your own food and supplies. There are some chain saw and tarp placement teams working in the Rockport and Refugio area. They found their own places to stay. But this will be short-term. There are nine congregations in the Houston area and a number of others including the Rockport and Beaumont areas that are pursuing accommodations to support long-term volunteer groups as well.

If you would like to volunteer your time in the weeks and months ahead, please go to the volunteer button and register your name and your group. You will then be on our list. When we are ready and have work for you we will let you know.

Until then, please keep this effort in your prayers knowing that we have a God who transcends the storm. Indeed, He will use even this event and His people to bring His Gospel to the heart of many who did not know Him by faith before.

Rev. Steven Misch
Texas District, LCMS
Disaster Relief Coordinator

September 1, 2017

WE HAVE HOPE

The situation in Houston and along the Gulf Coast is severe but we are strong because we have hope in the LORD who promises His steady presence. “…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

The relief effort will take months if not years. We know this will be a long-term recovery for Texas and there will be many opportunities to help.

The National Guard is still making rescues and reports say that parts of Houston may remain flooded until Saturday. Volunteers are being asked to wait until flood waters recede—the time to serve will come soon.  Many volunteers will be needed for months and into the future.

Right now our congregations in the affected areas, even though trying to recover themselves, are helping others in need:

“Well, we have had more people evacuated, but on the bright side, 4 people were able to get back into their homes and they were not compromised so we thank Jesus for that!  We still have approximately 26 families thus far affected.

I made it to Christ Memorial and the immediate neighborhood Nottingham Forest today.  The neighborhood is devastated.  Approximately 650 homes are estimated to have water in them, and many of them will have water in them for up to 3 weeks while the reservoirs drain.  This could potentially compromise the structures of the home so much so that they need to be completely rebuilt… Please pray for peace and strength for those in our community.  Recovery will be a marathon and not a sprint.

We are opening up Christ Memorial tomorrow once again as a place of respite for those who are still in the community.  I held a prayer service in my neighborhood today and we had over 40 people that showed up to meet, grieve, encourage one another, hear about the mercy of Jesus, and pray.  People in other areas of town like Richmond, Missouri City are getting back to their homes to survey damage.  As a result, the recovery process begins, yet the waiting process for the water to recede in the Memorial area continues…Many however from Christ Memorial will not even get to their homes for another 10-15 days, or possibly even longer.”  – Pastor Danny Anderson

What we currently know about Area D (Houston):

  • Our Shepherd, Crosby, received significant water and may be completely lost.
  • 5 congregations have damage.
  • 9 pastors and 16 church workers have flooded homes.
  • 574 church members from the area have flooded properties.
  • Lutheran South Academy and Pilgrim Houston were hit hard by flooding, and many staff affected.

These are preliminary numbers and they will go up. Area C is still being assessed and reports of damage are coming in. District staff is visiting the area this week.

Donations and offers of support have been coming in from across the nation. Your generosity will have a deep and direct effect on the lives of our brothers and sisters affected by Hurricane Harvey—thank you.

Again, this is still a time of rescue, but response and recovery is right around the corner. We are continuing to collect updates on congregations and schools, and a disaster relief plan to provide funds, supplies and volunteers is being developed. Regular updates on the relief effort can be found on the website and Facebook page.

Helpful Links:

Volunteer Interest Form

Assistance Request

Donate

Half-Page Bulletin Insert

Full-Page Bulletin Insert

August 30, 2017

Below is an email I received on the evening of August 29th from Rev. Danny Anderson, pastor at Christ Memorial, Houston, Texas. Christ Memorial is located on the west side of Houston just south of I10.

“As of now we have 26 families who are affiliated with our church/school who have been displaced with 14 of those being evacuated. That is sure to increase as Buffalo Bayou is in serious trouble as we speak at Dairy Ashford. It is literally raging through the neighborhood. Please continue to pray for our city!

Sarah and I are fine. We will have water from the Addicks Reservoir about half a mile from our house, but it will not get to our house according to Army Corps of Engineers.

I have heard that Josh Duffy, John Davis, and Memorial Katy’s DCE have had damage as well as the senior pastor of Trinity Klein. Our music director, Sue Early (Total Loss), and Business Manager Terry Ford (potential Total Loss) both had no flood insurance and will have very serious needs that I can share with you and another time.

We opened our gym up to the community yesterday and today and served 75 people just looking for some respite.

Tomorrow, I am leading a prayer service at our community swimming pool. I have been in contact nonstop with people all over the country and in our church but can’t get to the church to serve, so we are going to serve that way! Thanks for all of your leadership on this large project. Looking forward to serving alongside of you once again! Have a great evening!”

I received yet another email from a pastor in the Kingwood area whose home received water into the second floor.

This gives an idea of the ongoing and dynamic efforts and concerns.

We need your continued prayers and monetary donations.

Some have inquired about contributing by check, in addition to on-line giving. This can be done by mailing a check to:

Texas District Relief
c/o Mrs. Linda Hagge
7900 Highway 290 East
Austin, TX 78724

**100 percent of the funds Texas District receives from your donations will be used to assist the disaster relief efforts.

August 28 Update

We are very grateful for the concern and willingness of people from the district and around the nation to help out the congregations of the Texas District, LCMS who have been flooded and blown apart by Hurricane Harvey. Your assistance is highly valued. There are immediate needs and long-term needs:

Immediate

1) Pray. We need the fervent prayers of God’s people. Pray for patience, wisdom, safety and courage. Pray that Jesus be seen in the response of God’s people.

2) Financial resources. As assessments are being made, and greatest needs are being determined, financial assistance will allow the district to resource people whose property has been damaged as well as provide supplies for future volunteers who will come to clean-up or even re-build homes, schools and churches.

Support Harvey Relief

Donate Now!

Long-Term

3) Volunteer work. Consider developing a small volunteer group of general and specialty skilled people. With tens of thousands of homes being damaged, there are a wide-variety of tasks that will need to be attended to.  

4) Bath the process in prayer. Peoples lives have been turned upside down. Some have lost everything they owned.That is why your prayer is essential. Pray that people would turn to Jesus for comfort, assurance and hope. And may those who are serving on the ground bring Jesus to them.

As of this posting, relief organizations are not encouraged to enter the areas of impact. Assessment has been pursued but spotty and with greater flooding expected in the next few days, such assessment may be premature.

We will continue to post updates and opportunities as they are made available.

August 26 Update

Hurricane Harvey is unprecedented as a weather event. This storm system is not predicted to move out of the area (Texas) until next Wednesday or Thursday. We are praying that this is not the case but if it is, there will be historic rain totals with the attendant flooding in many communities.

The number of LCMS congregations that are under this weather warning number from 127 to 171 depending on which forecast and weather model one chooses. In the most optimistic scenario, there is a lot of work to be done. People from around the state and even the nation are wondering how they can help. As the Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Texas District, I am asking three things at this time:

1) Please continue to pray for those being affected by this weather. Pray for their safety and for peace. Some people with whom I have spoken have family who did not evacuate. They have not heard from them and are worried. Also, include this in your prayers at worship. Include the first responders as well and they will be entering dangerous environments. We thank God that there have been no reports, as yet, of the loss of life.

2) Pray for effective strategies for all relief agencies including the Texas District Disaster Relief and LCMS Disaster Relief. Texas District and LCMS Disaster Relief are partnering to work with congregations and communities that are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We have to wait for the “all clear” from First Responders and Government agencies before assessments for need can be made.

3) Even though damage assessments are pending, it is certain that dollars will be needed to assist church workers, church members, and communities in the lengthy recovery process that is ahead. Please consider donating as an individual and/or as a congregation to the Texas District Disaster Relief Fund. 100 percent of your gift will be used to assist those affected by the storm in the recovery process.

It has been 12 years since a storm of this magnitude (Cat 3+) crossed the Texas Coast. The district rose to the challenge magnificently then. Now we are challenged to meet needs once again, as we have in past, reflecting Christ in all that we say and do. God Bless you!

Rev. Steven Misch
Disaster Relief Coordinator
Texas District, LCMS

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