houston, we have lift-off! [a note from pastor john]
i’ll be in houston, tx, for two weeks (10/14-10/29). i welcome your prayers as i will be in houston, tx, volunteering with the ca. southern baptist convention’s (and namb) disaster relief ministry to provide clean-up services to those affected by hurricane harvey. (yes, even though texas was hit back in aug/sep, there are still many homes/businesses still trying to clean up and recover.) i don’t know exactly what clean-up tasks i’ll be doing but the general duties are removing mud from homes, removing soiled/damaged furniture and appliances, removing damaged drywall, and ministering to and praying for/with homeowners/business owners.
i’ve never done anything like this, so i’m kinda excited. (though, i was nervous when i was applying to volunteer.) but this type of disaster relief service is nothing new to the flood-prone parts of the country, so i trust i’m in good hands with the people who typically respond to relief work. the Church has been providing disaster relief for two thousand years. i’m just finally getting involved.
even prior to the all the recent disasters that have occurred in the states and mexico (this has been a brutal september and october, no?), God’s been placing on my heart to express the love of Jesus Christ in very tangible ways. something was stirring within me but I didn’t know what. as you know, i love the house-building projects i do every year but the next trips are still many months away. similarly, as all these disasters were occurring, i couldn’t help but feel despair for people and wonder how i could help in some way (than just giving money). i came across an email (that was in my “clutter/junk”) from the csbc asking for volunteers. typically, the organization only sends trained disaster relief volunteers but because the need is so great, they were asking for additional help. i just found this to be a divine calling. i got the support of doris, the pastoral staff, and our church mission’s director.
pray that i will be a good ambassador for Christ to those who need hope and restoration. pray that i will have samson-like strength in this methuselah body. pray that God will care for doris. pray that mosquitos will hate my b.o. and avoid me.
on sunday (10/5), while praying for victims of the las vegas mass shooting, and recovery and rebuilding efforts from hurricane, earthquake, and fires, pastor chris charged us to get involved now to prepare for events later. you can volunteer now as a food service person at a homeless shelter so when a disaster occurs later you’re familiar with what to do and you have less reservation about being involved. you can donate blood now so when there’s a call for blood later you’re familiar with what to do and you have less reservation about being involved. you can join habitat for humanity or the amor house-building trips now so when homes need to be cleaned or built you’re familiar with what to do and you have less reservation about being involved. you get the idea.
when disasters or crises occur, you should pray. no question. but at the same time, you have to ask yourself what you can do. when you ask God to provide relief, care, and hope, are you the answer? be the hands, feet, and voice of the gospel of Jesus Christ.