Dear First Colony and Foster Creek Church Families:
I don’t know that I have ever cherished the sun breaking through the clouds as much as I did Tuesday afternoon! I know we are not out of the woods just yet as we watch the upcoming cresting of the Brazos River.
I want you to know I, and so many others, continue to pray for you and strive to be of help and support. Let me share just a few components of what we are doing to respond to this current crisis.
First, we opened our church building as a haven and shelter to those in need. Over 100 people have been served over the past two days with about 40 spending Monday night in our building. The incredible response of our church family in providing a welcoming presence or food has been so encouraging. I’ve been here since Monday morning and have had a front row seat watching our church serve so well. I’m writing this around 10:00pm Tuesday night. I just finished a walk through of our facility as most, but not all, of our “sleep-overs” have either gone home or gone west. But outside our front doors was an additional 10-plus bags of helpful items left to give away. Thank you for your prayers and practical support.
Second, if you know of someone still in high flood waters anywhere in our city who needs help, have them contact the Coast Guard at 202-372-2100 for help. Be ready to provide name, number of people trapped, address and telephone number. Tell them to put out a white towel or some flag that is visible. Additionally, you can call the Emergency Operations Center at 281.342.6185. Also, here are two names and cell numbers of volunteers who have airboats and are ready, willing and able: Michael Walker (361.793.1598) or Aaron Duff (956.358.2885). I met them today and they have the right stuff to help.
Third, we are establishing the First Colony/Foster Creek Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The purpose of this relief fund is to help those in our city who have experienced damage to their home or have great financial needs because of this storm, beginning with those in our church family. That help will include basic needs to living (food and clothing) and asistance with other needs in coming weeks. We will receive a special offering this Sunday, September 3. We will also make this giving opportunity available online once our office is back up and running.
Fourth, in coming days we will form a Harvey Response Team as we try to help people in very practical ways over the next several weeks. Sometimes, our urge to help gets in the way of really helping. The real help for many is often days or weeks down the line after needs are prioritized and resources, including governmental resources, are appropriately directed. Long after the cameras are gone, some needs remain and so we understand the longer term nature of our Hurricane Harvey response.
Fifth, if you know someone in need, I urge you to be the presence of Christ to that person in a very personal way. The practical ways you have served one another in recent days is heartwarming to say the least. You’ve opened your homes to one another. If our church can help with some future need, please contact Tara Le-Nguyen at 281.566.3196 or firstname.lastname@example.org and she can begin the process. Actually, feel free to contact any of us and we’ll send the word along.
Sixth, great volunteer opportunities are available simply by contacting the Red Cross ( 1-877-500-8645) or just show up at the George R. Brown Exhibit Hall E.
Seventh, we do plan to hold services this Labor Day weekend Sunday at both 8:30am and 11:00am at our First Colony campus. We will communicate with you regarding Foster Creek later in the week. At First Colony, we will not have any 9:45am classes or programming for children, students or adults, but we will gather together for worship, Lord willing.
Eighth, I hope you are doing well. Martha and I have watched our neighborhood turn into a lake with water rising to within ten feet of our front door. That’s what happens when our city gets 51.5 inches of rain in a short span of time. May the God of all grace give you peace my friends.