The two hardest things for me associated with the aftermath of a flooded home are the ruined kids art work still on the refrigerator sitting aside the debris pile, and then the soggy, stuck together photos and sopping wet photo albums. We take pictures and make albums to remember and to share those memories with others. But what about when after they are ruined.
My first soaked memories exposure came in 1993, cleaning out homes from a huge Mississippi River flood. Like it was yesterday, I see the family with all their albums and photos spread out in the sun on the driveway, trying to fruitlessly to dry them. They stood around a 55 gallon drum with a fire in it, peeling to photos apart, making out the faded and soaked image, sharing a memory, then tearfully throwing the photos into the fire. We cried with them and prayed.
Harvey too has hit in this way. Members of Redemption Church Houston ( pictured above) took the time to patiently bless one home owner they served by trying to separate and dry out photos. Pastor Jason from Galveston Bible Church also had to help a family who had lost their photos. “It was so sad,” he reflected. It can be tedious, but to care enough for the home owner to spend the time trying is a gift.
My experience from responding to all sorts of crises around the world has taught me to always focus on the person, the individual, the family, not the project. Responding can involve physical work like gutting and sheet rock, but the real response ministry builds relationships, puts the tools down and patiently listens, and empathetically cares, hugs, cries and prays. Transforming Gospel outreach focuses on people.
Mark Lewis, Director
ReachGlobal Crisis Response
Jn4:35b “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
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