It is just a drop in the bucket for chronic challenges, but that is really the only way buckets get filled…one drop at a time.
In midtown, we had a beehive of activity unloading, sorting, & repackaging items donated from Labor of Love people to benefit several organizations that serve people in the midst of their own personal hurricane…and on day two, we headed south of Houston to a community still recovering from the huge storm months before.
- Dozens of Houston’s homeless attending a downtown early morning worship service received large ‘blessing bags’ with clothing, hygiene, and food items.
- Women seeking assistance with severe gender violence situations received ‘fresh start’ kits with white blankets, makeup, toiletries, and other items
- Juveniles rescued from trafficking situations will receive one of dozens of handmade comfort fleece blankets.
Our work location south of Houston was in Rosharon – a village of about 200 Cambodian immigrants – whose livelihood is the water spinach they grow in hoop greenhouses badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey. They are a hardworking and proud people, whose streets lay damaged months after the storm, hurricane debris still piled to the sides, and many still living in homes or portions of homes damaged by Harvey. We felt as though we had entered a Twilight Zone.
We had two dozen people, one and a half days, and the needs were acutely seen everywhere. There was so much we could not do in the time we had with the people and skills we had. We toured 4 homes, and chose 2 whose needs match what we could do. We talked with homeowners, each gracious and welcoming, grateful for whatever assistance we could add to their own efforts.
So for an afternoon, our crew pulled hundreds of nails and screws from timber studs of one home. The sheetrock and insulation we hoped to do had to wait – if we were to install it before the water was pumped from beneath the house, and the needed exterior repairs are made, it would simply get wet again. So, one nail at a time, we contribute to progress for a new friend.
The Texas teamwork on Day 2 was incredible! While a small crew tackled subfloor repairs for two homeowners, two other teams delivered items prepared on Day 1, and a larger crew made quick work of a greenhouse cleanup before lunch. The elders of the Cambodian village came to thank us for our efforts in their community of 200 families, and asked if they could show us the rectory of the monks who live behind the Buddhist Temple. Also storm damaged, and stripped to the studs, awaiting materials and labor for repairs, we noticed that hundreds of screws and nails that once held up drywall needed to be removed from the rectory and perhaps we could also pry up a damaged vinyl tile floor. 3 hours later both were complete, ready for the next step.
The expected heavy rain that pounded the area overnight also took a break for the morning – and then reappeared when we were all inside working on the rectory. We’re counted it all as answers to prayers – theirs and ours.
It was a wonderful multicultural weekend, where drop by drop, nail by nail, we’ve come to understand how little things do make a difference, even if we are just a cog in a long effort, and especially when we serve one another, perhaps we’re not all so different after all.