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Harvey Update #25

Bob’s Harvey Update #25
September 6, 2017 2000

Executive summary: Partnering with the EFCA for awesome ministry

Over the last week we have had tremendous opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we have helped each other to escape Harvey’s floods and begin the recovery process. We’ve done well with the sprint that follows such a disaster. But now we’re into what I call ‘the 5K.’ People have gone back to work, but the work on our homes (and on our church) is barely started. We need to make sure that our homes are dry and treated for mold and ready to be rebuilt. This will take some significant manpower. Then we need to rebuild. Those who have good flood insurance may be able to hire a contractor for most of that. But many will have only FEMA funds, and that may not be much. Those people will need help to rebuild – friends with skills who can come alongside and put up sheet rock, apply flooring, restore electrical circuits, install cabinets and so much more.

EFCA Crisis Response has been providing just these kinds of services in disaster areas around the world for twelve years. A typical scenario would be a house that did not have flood insurance but did receive FEMA funds. Those funds might be adequate to buy materials like sheet rock and flooring. An EFCA crisis relief team, often with both skilled and semi-skilled volunteers, would come into the home and provide free labor and skilled supervision for all the reconstruction, from sheet rock to painting, from electrical restoration to flooring and kitchens.

But where would the team stay, eat, shower? That’s where Trinity has been asked to provide a vital ministry as the team base for our area. Here’s the plan as I currently understand it:
– EFCA staff will have offices in the building for four or so staff members.
– We will provide housing (in the upstairs classrooms and ultimately in the L.I.F.E. room for teams of from 20 to 40 who would typically arrive late on Sunday and leave early on Saturday
– We will work with the teams, and maybe with other local churches to provide two a day (breakfast and dinner. Teams will normally be responsible for their own lunch.)
– We will allowing the EFCA to set up a shower trailer in our back parking lot.

– The extensive use of our facility would significantly reduce our ability to host outside building users (the EFCA has said that they would keep us even financially, however)
– There will, inevitably, be some stresses and weariness. This is a major new commitment, and while the EFCA’s goal is to help us recover from the flood,, it will mean a lot of changes, adjustments and rising to the occasion.

– This would greatly multiply and extend our ministry reach and staying power. We would be showing the compassion of Jesus in a practical way. Every home that was helped by this ministry would have a relationship with Trinity and with the individuals who come to serve.
– Trinity’s facility and the homes of our leaders and people would be a priority for EFCA rebuilding help. They are committed to helping the church, and especially the host church first.
– The presence of EFCA staff and teams brings a lot of energy and great lifelong relationships.

It may be that the Lord has prepared us for such a time as this, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, while also still preaching his word and caring for his people. This may, in fact, lead to the revival we’ve been praying for. But even if not, I’m excited that we are being given this opportunity to show God’s love.

Other Updates:

Some folks have already started organizing, as the first (small) team will be here next week. Here’s the update from Sherry Early: Trinity Fellowship will be hosting teams of volunteers from all over the country who are coming to Houston to be part of the recovery effort in Friendswood and the surrounding areas. We need your help to support the volunteers with good home cooking. For more information for how to sign up please email Sherry Early. We need teams to cover Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings next week, September 11-14 with meals for about 20 people each night. And we will be needing teams or families to cook and deliver meals to the church for many weeks to come. Please let us know right away if you can be part of this effort.

Today we moved our desks and such to the Library, which we hope will be a semi-permanent location (3 moves in 7 days). EFCA Crisis response personnel (Mike, Roberto) along with a few Trinity folks worked in the Sunday School building and gutted many of the remaining walls to four feet. Still a lot left to do. If you’ve got time tomorrow, it will be well spent.