A Response to Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area and the Mississippi Gulf Coast twelve years ago yesterday. I thought I would never again see anything as devastating.

Hurricane Harvey is making everyone reassess their understanding of the word “catastrophe.” The images and the reports are beyond comprehension. Two nights ago I awakened in the middle of the night thinking of those people in flooded homes–or worse–awaiting rescue. I remembered how three days into Katrina, I began to wonder if water and food would hold out (It did because of people who went above and beyond to take care of others). Now I wonder how those in the Houston area are doing.

Yesterday I received a report from the North American Mission Board (NAMB). The mission board along with other Southern Baptists make up the third largest disaster relief organization in the country.

This is what NAMB and Southern Baptists have been asked to do. Mobilize churches and volunteers to house and feed more than 4,000 volunteers, provide facilities for 50-60,000 individuals, and serve an anticipated 343,000 meals on a daily basis. Unfortunately, relief workers may not be able to get into the flood zone for several days.

This is a daunting task.

What can we do at this point?

First, we can pray specifically for the rain to stop and the storm to move quickly. At lunch yesterday, Martha and I watched news and weather. When we saw the projected path of the storm moving toward Louisiana we felt relief and dread. Relief for the people of Texas and dread that flooding may also come to Louisiana and possibly to states in the Ohio River Valley and along the East Coast.

We can pray for first responders and the friends and neighbors who are risking their lives for the lives of others. As has often been said, this is the America we know and love.

Second, we can make contributions. The people of Texas will need help for a long time–emotional, spiritual, and financial. I suggest you give to the national agencies or to your local church. Churches know how to use money efficiently and effectively. They have a network that will help the people who most need the aid. John the Apostle called us to give and to give generously. “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17).

Third, we can do mission work with the people of Texas. Ask your church to go to Texas. People affected by this storm will be in need for years to come. Plan to be used to give your help.

Finally, we cannot forget. In a few days or weeks, our lives will move forward and we will be consumed by other thoughts and needs. Those who are suffering will only be at the beginning of a very long recovery. It will do us good to continue to pray, to call people we know who are affected, and to continue to meet the needs of those who are hurting.

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  1. Lonnie Wascom
    Aug 30, 2017

    Thank you for the post. And thank you for the reminder that of all people we on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain are most grateful for the aid and assistance of others. The Northshore Baptist Association, of which FBC, Covington is a member congregation, through our Associate Director of Missions and Ministries, is working with the Golden Triangle Baptist Association (Beaumont/Orange/Port Arthur) to gather needed supplies and get them to the affected areas. Any of your subscribers wanting to know more about the Northshore effort may contact me at lonnie@northshorebaptists.net. God bless you.

  2. Nancy Robbins
    Aug 30, 2017

    Thank you Waylon for reminding us that by giving through our church all of the funds go toward the recovery process and not to administration. Those of us who have been spared from Harvey will gather together in love and encouragement for the benefit of those who have so much to endure in the aftermath and recovery.

  3. Anonymous
    Aug 30, 2017

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

    The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
    Psalms 29:3

    I am going to call these rainbow passages. These are beautful promises from God. To a non-believer they may sound foolish. Many effected by Harvey, do not know HIM yet. However these scriptures still apply. I would encourage anyone who can pray, give, and go to do so abundantly and by that Gods people can witness the love of Christ, no strings attached.
    Father God I pray you would prepare their hearts to receive You as thier Savior. In Jesus name.

    It breaks our heart to see anyone suffer and go through such hardships. However, it’s amazing the testimonies that are born in such a way; and soon we will hear them.

    Abba Thank you in advance for what you are up to

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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[Mary’s Song] And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. — Luke 1:46-47, 49 (NIV)