As morning dawns on Day Two the sanctuary has never been more holy. For scattered throughout its pews, as in classrooms and offices around the building, Christ Church truly is a refuge this day offering both safety and community to a host of evacuees from area floods who have found their way to our building.
That has not been easy in and of itself. For not only is the street on which we are located now flooded in both directions, our parking lot is also a running stream and our basement level has standing water as well, with the torrent held back only by a pair of glass doors and some sandbags. Most of those who made it here came in the back of dump trucks as the city of Sugar Land began to pluck folks out of homes which are now in danger of flooding, or have already begun to do so. A school bus likewise showed up with a group last night and as they stumbled in, the dazed look on their faces said it all.
Some had only a few moments notice, for instance, before being told they had to get out of their houses, and so the only possessions they brought were in a garbage sack or pillow case. Others walked here, slogging through the waters, and were quickly given youth or mission trip T-shirts to change into. Two are in wheelchairs and there are at least a couple of babies as well. And a number brought their family pets which slept with them in the classrooms we tried to give to families.
Reflective of our broader community–the most diverse county in the world, so we are told– the group is also incredibly varied, speaking several languages and representing numerous cultures and religious backgrounds. Still, we have become a little oecumenical ecclesia and most have tried to find some way to help, whether it is moving furniture, cooking pasta in our kitchen, or sharing what they do have with those around them.
There are some material blessings to give thanks for indeed. Though the power went off for a while yesterday afternoon it has been back on since and so lights, air conditioning and, of course, cell phone chargers have all been able to work. We’ve kept our monitors on, tuned to a local TV station, allowing our guests to feel connected to what is happening outside of our instant island. The staff and church volunteers who are here with us have absolutely been phenomenal. And just now, we’ve learned that the staff at Berryhills, a local eatery, stayed up making 300 tamales which they somehow managed to get to us in the dark of night. In turn, the city has promised to get us more food and bedding supplies, for it appears that more of our neighbors are on the way and that we are going to be here for some time to come.
In short, God has given us a lovely laboratory to live out the theme verse of our congregation in very tangible ways: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have sent you… for in its peace you shall find your own.” (Jeremiah 29.7)
So far our water-logged community is finding how to make it work. And under the high wooden rafters of our sanctuary… even with a few leaks… we have discovered again why the church really is the Ark of Salvation.
God’s anointing is surely upon His home at Christ Church and all the bodies within it! Blessings, Blessings, and more Blessings be to all of you! The Hope of Jesus is shining brightly through your endeavors and you all are reminding us all how to be joyful in your hardships by relying upon Christ! XOXOXOXO!!!
Dear Chap, I looked up your name as the only person we know of associated with Houston area. And so, here you are in the midst of the tumult. Had a chance to read a few of your blog posts too to get reacquainted with who you are and have become. We were your YWAM neighbors in Lindale across the street, Dave and I, along with our six children at that time (now seven). We remember your family fondly, if a little vaguely, due to the passage of time. Thanks for sharing as profoundly as you do. May the Lord bless your congregation and neighbors sheltering there and elsewhere. Sometimes it seems as though these disasters draw the best from the Lord’s people and provide marvelous opportunities to engage folks who are facing calamity without the knowledge of the Lord’s love for them. I trust Y’all will make good use of these opportunities as I would certainly wish to be doing. Remember us to your wife and family, and we shall be praying on behalf of the Lord’s plans for Houston, Texas. PS. We are in California at an ECO Presbyterian Church serving and loving it. Blessings. Patti & Dave Strout
Hello Pastor Temple, I am a church member. Do the flood victims need anything? Please let us know by em or posting on the church website
Jim kenney 832-260-6167
Thankyou for sharing. I know what a blessing to the community Christ`s Church must be now more than ever!
This is the story Houston is creating. So many blessings in the midst of the tragedy.
Dear friends inside the ark, I am sending care from California. Our congregation will be taking a special offering this Sunday for UMCOR’s flood relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey. Thank you for your work, and for your witness to God’s sheltering love.