Hurricane Harvey: A Call to Respond
By Kent J. Ingle, D.Min.
Over the weekend, the city of Houston and the communities of the Southeastern portion of Texas were hit by Hurricane Harvey, which brought over 130 mph winds and more than 56 inches of rain. This rainfall is the largest recorded total in the history of the state of Texas, and the Colorado River, which surrounds the city of Houston, is already at 27 feet above the flood stage. Estimations are that thousands upon thousands of people will be displaced from their homes, and already there have been five reported deaths directly related to the hurricane’s impact.
As a Christ-centered community, I believe we should respond to this situation with compassionate action. That means, first and foremost, we must pray. In every situation, prayer must be our first response. We need to be interceding for the emergency response teams and locally elected officials, that God would give them strength as they step into this dangerous situation. We need to be praying for Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, that God would give them wisdom and direction as they coordinate the relief efforts.
Most importantly, we need to be lifting up the needs of the people of Houston and the surrounding area caught in the destructive aftermath of the storm. While destruction knows no socio-economic lines, it is often those who are the most disadvantaged who suffer the most during these catastrophes. For them, we must pray that God would move supernaturally on their behalf and that the Spirit of God would bring hope in the midst of this suffering.
Additionally, we have several extension sites and educational partnerships in the area that have been affected by this disaster. We have extension sites in Red Oak, Frisco, Carrollton, and Georgetown, and thankfully they were not in the direct path of the storm. However, Hope City Church, whose lead pastor, Jeremy Foster, is one of the members of our Pastoral Advisory Board for the Barnett College of Ministry & Theology, was hit directly by the storm. As part of the SEU community, I believe we need to lift them up in prayer as well as be willing to step up to give to the relief effort.
Compassionate action requires that we must be prepared to put our money where our prayers are. Already, Hope City Church has begun to mobilize resources to provide relief to the people caught in the path of Hurricane Harvey. They have set up a donation portal for us to contribute directly to the Harvey relief effort. I believe that we, as the SEU community, need to support their efforts with whatever resources we each have available to us. As a Christ-centered community, we need to engage in these moments of catastrophe with compassionate action, and we must stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ with prayer and generosity.