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Sunday, September 3

Happy Sunday Everyone:

We will gather today at our First Colony campus at 8:30 and 11:00 for worship. We need a time together to worship, receive communion, reflect on our Christian faith, and pray over our collective experiences. I’m sorry that our Foster Creek campus is closed today but, if possible, I hope you can join us at First Colony. By the way, today has been declared as a national and statewide Day of Prayer by President Trump and Governor Abbott.

I hope you will sign up and participate in our First Colony Hurricane Help Network. It’s a simple way to connect needs and solutions. Get the word out, please.

A most helpful PDF booklet called Repairing Your Flooded Home has been produced by The Red Cross and FEMA.

My friends, I do not rejoice in the hardship Harvey brought to our state, but I do rejoice in the steadfast faith, unquenchable hope and genuine love I have seen displayed in countless ways, large and small, over the past week. We’ll see more of that grit and serving spirit in the days, weeks and months to come.

The Lord is good and I pray for God’s very best to you,

Ronnie

Saturday, September 2

Hello friends:

We have established the First Colony Hurricane Help Network and you can sign up for it HERE. This is an email network designed to communicate both needs and solutions related to Harvey. Some of you need help and some of you are eager to provide help. This network is designed to broker information. Get the word out and let’s connect needs and solutions.

Our First Colony Church building is open today (Saturday) from 10:00am-5:00pm and if you know anyone who needs anything (tools, food, water, diapers, etc.) we have plenty at our building. Tell them to come by and we are glad to assist. We will also continue to receive donations (see my previous emails for suggested items) and we also need baby bottles, baby formula and deodorant. You and our community at large have been incredibly generous.

I have asked the following people to serve on our Harvey Response Leadership Team: Caryn Wolfe, Greg Stirman, Rocky Hudson, Brady Burgett and Bret Gowens. They are all eager to serve. This team brings together leadership, insurance, construction, finance and compassion experience. They will pay close attention to our church-wide responsiveness and distribution of resources. Their working mission is Galatians 6:10 – Let us do good to all, and especially to those who are fellow believers.

Do you know someone who wants to donate money to Harvey relief? They can do so easily on our website at http://www.firstcolonychurch.org. 100% of those donated funds go for hurricane relief.

HERE is the absolute best information I know for those who need to do some quick flood repair.

All of these initiatives are part of our plan to do the following four things well:

1. Faithfully receive in the name of Jesus donations for hurricane relief.

2. Faithfully and wisely distribute in the name of Jesus donated funds, goods and services.

3. Humbly partner with others for maximum effectiveness.

4. Be a broker of helpful communication and information for intermediate and long-term hurricane relief.

Remember, only 8:30am & 11:00am worship services at First Colony campus this Sunday. Nothing else. No services at Foster Creek tomorrow, September 3.

Blessings everyone, Ronnie

Everyone:

The First Colony Church of Christ will be open from 10am to 5pm Thursday through Saturday to receive donations for Harvey victims.   You can also bring these items when you come for Sunday worship.

We specifically are asking for the following items:

No clothes

Clorox

Shovels

Pine Sol

Sponges

Mops

Brooms

Trash Bags

Disposable diapers (any brand or size)

Children’s socks and underwear (new)

Soap

Shampoo

Toothbrushes and toothpaste

Small toys (the size of a shoebox or smaller) for infants, boys, or girls

Get the word out. Thanks, Ronnie

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 taral@firstcolonychurch.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.

Ronnie

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