Nearly 200,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, nearly 100,000 in the Houston metro area alone. Something had to be done.
So three congregations took the lead in providing long-term aid and relief for those deeply affected by the hurricane and its significant flooding. The rainfall that totaled as much as 50 inches over the course of the storm in some parts of Houston. The three congregations—Gloria Dei, Nassau Bay, Salem, Tomball, and Trinity, Klein and their senior pastors Dan Schepmann, Tim Niekerk, and Chris Singer, respectively—formed “Heart for Texas.” The intent was to extend the love of Christ along with “boots on the ground” assistance with clean up and reconstruction of badly-damaged homes.
To date, almost 400 homes have received assistance with rebuilding and/or furniture replacement. Three thousand five hundred volunteers have been involved in these efforts, including 1500 from outside of the Houston area. This effort has involved professional site assessment and dispatching, along with the necessity to feed and house those coming from out of town.
But the results are not only physical. Among the many opportunities to witness to the truth of the Gospel, there have been two baptisms, and Muslim woman who became a follower of Jesus, and seven families who have begun meeting for Bible study as a result of their connection with this ministry.
Relief efforts of this extent would not have been possible without the generous contributions of people from around the Texas District and indeed, throughout The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
By Rev. Jon Braunersreuther
Mission and Ministry Facilitator, Area D