Texas Churches, World Renew Provide Aid after Record Flooding

New Life Christian Reformed Church in Spring, Texas, and Peace Community CRC in Houston are stepping up to help those affected by record flooding that occurred in mid-April.

Peace Community is located in the Bear Creek area where nearly 20 inches of rain fell in 12 hours, sustaining the most severe damage in the region. Pastor Dave Hornor said three of the church’s families were under water.

“The congregation organized a work party on Saturday,” Hornor said. “The congregation is rallying around them.”

The church is also connecting with the local public elementary school. “Most of the school’s students come from the Bear Creek neighborhood,” Hornor said.

New Life CRC sustained minor damage, according to pastor Andy Sytsma. Church members Dan and Jeanne Rodriguez lost everything at a time when Dan is in the hospital recovering from heart transplant surgery. Friends have set up a fund to provide financial aid for them.

The New Life congregation is helping its neighbors by running a clinic to provide legal advice for people displaced by flooding and needing legal assistance.

World Renew is also involved. Art Opperwall, program manager for World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS), said that regional managers Len and Carrie Blauwkamp are active in five southern states affected by floods and tornadoes, including Texas. “They maintain relationships with FEMA, Emergency Management, and other disaster response partners so that when a disaster strikes, the response is well-coordinated and effective,” Opperwall said.

While congregations help with local clean-up, Opperwall said DRS specializes in long-term recovery, assessing the needs of the most vulnerable and coordinating 3,000 volunteers who serve in the rebuilding process, which can take years in some cases. “Long after the media has moved on to other things and the clean-up teams have left, DRS volunteers (known as the Greenshirts) continue to serve those with the fewest resources, helping them get back in their homes and providing emotional and spiritual support as they do so.”

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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