Two years ago Hurricane Rita slammed into the Texas Coast and decimated people's homes and lives living there. I have taken three separate mission trips into the area to help rebuild homes and clear the massive amount of trees that had fallen on homes. Two of the places that we visited were Port Arthur and Beaumont. Two of the cities that were hit again last night by Hurricane Humberto.
The people still haven't recovered from Rita and now will be struggling with this new storm damage. This is a critical problem. One of the ladies whose home was in the absolute worst area of Port Arthur, we helped put a new roof on her home. I pray to God that it has held up. We did follow all of the new building codes but you just never know for sure. Before we could put the new one on, we had to remove the old one. And it was definitely NOT UP TO CODE. There were seven layers of shingles. It's a wonder that the house hadn't collapsed. We also shifted the house back onto its foundation and fixed the dry rot areas.
I believe that one of the latest reports from the area still had over 700 people still waiting for help in rebuilding their roofs, homes, lives. The ones that still haven't been fixed from Rita will be in even worse shape and, now, new ones will be added to the list.
If any of you are contemplating a mission trip, consider coming to the Texas/Louisiana coast. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you the contact information for the PIM/VIM team leaders working in the area. Or visit the Texas Annual Conference web-site http://www.txcumc.org/ for more ways to help. And pray for the people.
On a selfish note, I will be in Houston week after next. And this Hurricane came up fast, very, very fast. I'm a little nervous especially after being in Louisiana when Rita came on shore and seeing the destruction first hand, immediately after the storm. When power lines are still snaking across the road, and trees are impaled in a local McDonalds, no power, no water, entire forests with all the trees snapped off like matchsticks.
Book recommendation: Transforming the Stone: Preaching Through Resistance to Change by Barbara K. Lundblad. Just finished it and it is really good especially if you are dealing with change resistant congregations. She really forces you to tackle the tough subjects: homosexuality, poverty, domestic violence.
I finished my sermon and I really want a nap before going to the football game tonight. I haven't spoken with another person today at all since I took Ryss to school (unless you count the salesperson). Hopefully, everyone is still recovering from yesterday and it isn't the calm before the storm.