In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that occurred last August, Mission Centers of Houston has been busy with disaster recovery work in northeast Houston. From housing disaster relief teams to storing and distributing food, toiletries, cleaning supplies and other donations, MCH continues to help communities that were severely damaged by the hurricane. Inspired by the network of organizations with which they worked for the first few months of disaster relief, and due to the concentration of damage done in the northeast part of Houston, Mission Centers of Houston launched a new division called Northeast Houston Disaster Recovery to help build a network of churches, organizations, and businesses engaged in disaster recovery efforts in NE Houston. In keeping with Mission Centers of Houston’s mission statement, NE Houston Disaster Recovery is committed to meeting the physical and spiritual needs of community residents with the love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.
In April of this year, Jim Ward joined our team as Network Director for the NE Houston Disaster Recovery division. After following up with several homeowners in East Houston to finalize recovery efforts that MCH was leading he met with Pastor Victor Marte of Iglesia Bautista La Tierra Prometida (Promised Land Baptist Church) and Pastor Tomas Sandoval of North Central Baptist Church in an effort to locate people in their communities who needed help after Hurricane Harvey. Both pastors knew of people who still needed help, so Jim met with the homeowners to determine their specific needs. After praying and asking the Lord to send the help needed to get the work done God provided the answer in a mighty way.
During the week of June 19-22, NE Houston Disaster Recovery coordinated with BOUNCE to effect repairs in several homes and churches in Northeast Houston. We worked worked with youth groups from Kingwood First Baptist Church as well as a group from North Texas and two groups from Oklahoma. BOUNCE is a program of the Baptist General Convention of Texas that “offers students the opportunity to assist communities in their efforts to bounce back from devastation after disaster has struck.” Participants engage in disaster recovery projects, times of worship and reflection designed to help them encounter and respond to God. Students do not have to have any prior construction experience in order to participate as BOUNCE has experienced construction personnel to lead and supervise ministry teams.
80 BOUNCE students and adult leaders worked with NEHDR in a very low-income mobile home park in NE Houston along with other homes in the area. They also worked to help do repairs at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and Casa del Rey church, both in NE Houston. The experience was especially eye-opening for students from Kingwood as they saw the needs that are in their own backyard.
As with all disaster recovery efforts, many supplies were needed to make repairs and the Lord provided those as well. World Vision donated sheet rock. Churches and individuals from Texas and other parts of the country donated financially so we could purchase the rest of the needed supplies. Repairs made by the BOUNCE teams included rebuilding bedrooms and bathrooms; replacing walls and sheet rock, repairing doors and replacing floors. The biggest impact was the rebuilding of damaged roofs in numerous mobile homes that allowed rainwater into the home, hindering any further interior work from being done.
NE Houston Disaster Recovery is working to bring more volunteers in July to work on more homes in the same mobile home park. Many homes there are still in need of repairs, especially to roofs. In addition, NE Houston Disaster Recovery continues to work in twelve zip codes in northeast Houston where over 41,000 homes were damaged from Harvey. Most recovery groups estimate less than ten percent of those homes have been restored. While much work has been done, there is still much left to do. It is going to take several years of concentrated effort to help Houston fully recover. NE Houston Disaster Recovery is committed to this ongoing work and is dedicated to providing a timely and coordinated response to future disasters. To learn more about NE Houston Disaster Recovery or to get involved through prayer, giving, or serving, please visit www.nehoustondr.org.