It has been one of the great honors of my life to watch our church respond to the recent flood disaster in our area. Our church members responded with immediacy, passion, and perseverance. Many of them served even though their own home was damaged. I will not attempt to give statistics about where our area is in total of homes affected because these numbers change so rapidly. But this I know, we opened our church and our lives to others as we became a shelter day one. We immediately followed that up by creating a grassroots volunteer system that helped to mud out 144 homes. Also, for two and a half weeks we fed volunteers and homeowners sometimes three meals a day.
I believe that we have been practicing for this kind of work for a long time. God has been preparing us. All of our local mission outreach events have trained us to serve others. Our communications systems and infrastructure has improved dramatically in the last few years. These things helped us communicate so that we were able to mobilize quickly. We have a very talented membership base and ministry staff who work exceedingly well together. That is a true blessing from God. Our generosity to our budget helped create the funding to quickly purchase what we needed. We have a healthy 2.3 million dollar budget with outreach and missions line items that funded our response. Also, we are involved in a fantastic ministerial alliance. Our good working relationship with our sister churches in the area gave us the opportunity to pull our resources and labor together. This flows out of our belief that we are not the only Christians out here, we are a part of a greater and wonderful group of churches. Last, every time we study God’s word and sing our songs of worship, we are rehearsing our theology that God has called us to be a light to his creation and to exemplify the kingdom of God. Our theology propels us to sacrifice for others that they might know the love of God.
So what happens now? We are moving into the next phase of disaster work, the rebuilding phase. As you might have guessed, it is the longest phase where homeowners without insurance will need help. This is not all on our shoulders. There are a lot of things that are currently falling into place to help homeowners. If FEMA declares Burnet county a disaster area that is one very helpful thing, and if our county’s fundraisers go well, that is another wonderful help. We will be developing our long-term strategy alongside these and other groups. One part of our strategy is that a percentage of our Global Missions Offering will go to help flood victims, and on November 29, we will host a Highland Lakes Flood Victim benefit night with the Skit Guys and musical guest Coffey Anderson. I suppose that our long-term strategy might also involve adopting some homes to help rebuild. Our ministerial Alliance has formed a disaster arm called, Highland Lakes Crisis Network. We will be working with this group as we move forward.
I believe that the Lord will sustain us and provide all we need for the work he has called us to do. Our determination will be tested, but Paul wrote, “Do not become fatigued at doing well, because at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). And Romans 8:31 declares “Greater is He that is in us, than he who is in the world.” May the Lord be with our church, and our state and nation as we vote next week, and with our world. And may He be with you!