At the time I’m sitting writing this director’s message, it has been exactly one week since we evacuated the safe house, and the floodwaters from Harvey in the beginning stages of decimating the gulf coast. Miraculously the LORD provided a boat on short notice enabling us to get our ladies to safety with the help of our ministry partners into a nearby hotel. As Will, Kent Dougall and I stood there waiting for the boat to come back for us, we huddled up and prayed. I prayed for the people of Houston, our ladies in this time of chaos and for our safe house. I prayed for God to help us in this difficult time to understand all this. I prayed we would accept whatever was going to happen to our ministry home trusting whether it was bad or good; God was full of glory in his goodness and greatness.
Fast forward to Tuesday when Will, Bobbie and I decided to paddle back into the safe house to check and see what the damage we would be facing. Most days I’m an optimist, but this day was not one of them as we paddled through waters four feet deep passing other homes which had at least 12” to 20” of water in them. It was still raining, but the rain clouds darkened in my heart even more. We parked our paddleboard and kayak in our neighbor’s yard and waded in knee-deep water to the house. As we opened the garage door where the water was only ankle deep, water trapped inside flowed out along with wet debris; my heart sank a little more. We walked up the steps to the main house from the garage and opened the door. DRY! The floor immediately in the hallway leading from the garage was DRY! As we walked through the remainder of the house there was only trace evidence of where water had entered but receded. Rugs were wet, small puddles were here and there, and there was water in the floor electrical plug box. Will paddled in a kayak around the house to see where the water flood line had been and discovered the water line seemed to stop at the foundation and frame. We were overwhelmed and overjoyed.
By Wednesday afternoon, we began making a task list and arrangements for teams to be at the house for cleaning out the garage and determining where water had penetrated the house. On Thursday, we discovered that water had entered in the master bedroom, master bathroom, our single resident bedroom, the wall for the back porch area including the wall behind a built-in wall unit and of course, the garage where the waterline was at about 19”. The most amazing thing to me was the fact that our wood floors which covers most of downstairs were spared. AMAZING!
At the end of day on Saturday, 80% of the house was prepared for restoration and drying was underway. Four different people with home building experience had again confirmed that our floor appeared to be good and did not need to be touched. A sense of relief settled in and we began focusing on the work needing to be accomplished in the coming weeks.
In the days since last Wednesday, volunteers and services had poured in almost as fast as the floodwaters had done in the previous days. Professional service providers came quickly: an electrician named Franscico, David from Sun Ray Pools and Frank from Abacus Plumbing. Volunteers came quickly: they came from Church Project, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Jesus Said Love Waco, & Jesus Said Love Texas. Individuals came quickly: Jesse, Garrett and Stan who came in from Austin and Cypress. Erica Raggett with A 2nd Cup and Lori Miller with New Life Fitness provided food for our volunteers and clients. Christ Church United Methodist and two anonymous donors covered the cost of four nights in a local hotel for our clients and staff. Members of Christ Church Methodist and Woodsedge Community Church brought food and provided transportation while clients and staff were in the hotel. A precious woman from Church Project has opened her home to our clients while we work on a more permanent solution. Sister anti-trafficking organizations from around the country, previous safe house clients and countless other people have reached out with offers of help and hope.
Every need is being met. Again, we were overwhelmed. God is so faithful! We still need to replace the two vehicles we lost and are currently in communication with a local car dealership offering an incredible price on a much needed 12-passenger van. We need to get the interior of the house dried and renovated (sheetrock walls, paint, bathroom cabinetry), replace exercise equipment & refrigerator lost in the garage and rebuild or replace the chicken coops. We still have a ton of garbage to haul off and a ton of debris to clean up all over the property. Once the interior has been restored we will need help getting the furniture moved back into place and all of the décor back in place. We are still working on our 8-week plan for our clients. Through all of this we know God will provide through our partners and through the people of this fine city and state!!
Bobbie and I are so grateful for our outstanding and dedicated staff and board, some of whom have worked long hours either in the house or with the clients since the onset of Harvey’s flood waters. We had staff calling us asking how they could help even before they knew the extent of damage done to their own homes. Staff stayed with our clients through the rising flood waters, through the evacuation, through the time at the hotel. Staff attempted to get to us only to find all paths flooded. Each and every call in the midst of the unknown chaos will not go unnoticed. Two of our staff lost their personal vehicles at the safe house. One wasn’t able to get back to her beloved pets until days after the waters had begun to recede. Our staff put our clients and property on the top of their priority list, choosing to sacrifice precious family time to be with our sparrows. Blessings abound in every corner!
At this very moment with the all these memories, all the promises of God come to mind. One promise from God was reiterated during our worship time this morning at Church Project and probably reiterated in many more churches around the Houston area this morning.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We lost some, some lost everything, but God has provided and will continue to provide. He knows our needs before we ask, and he should be our only satisfaction because God is faithful. God never fails!
We want to sincerely thank all of you who are friends to Redeemed Ministries and continue to support us in the good times and in the bad. God uses you with good things to fulfill our purpose!
Thank you and blessings!