Houston Mission Trip - 2017
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall and was relentless with wind and rain for the next several days. The Houston area received over 40 inches of rain in a three to four day period. The flooding that followed was catastrophic.
The response to the relief efforts in Houston and the surrounding area has been swift and effective. However, there is much to do. It will be years before this region fully recovers from this devastating storm.
As part of those relief efforts, St. Paul’s has partnered with a specific congregation; Pilgrim Lutheran Church and Schools. Over $30,000 has been raised and sent to the congregation and school of Pilgrim. The students of St. Paul’s have raised over $1,500 in chapel offerings during this first quarter. In addition, St. Paul’s created a mission team to travel to Houston and work alongside the people of Pilgrim in helping them to continue in their recovery.
Pilgrim has suffered damages of well over $800,000. Nearly the entire lower level of the school, parish hall, and atrium had two to four inches of water. As a result of this flooding, the drywall and insulation had to be removed at least two feet up throughout these spaces. This demolition included the pantries,classrooms, gymnasium, faculty workspace, etc. In addition, the roof of the sanctuary leaked in several places causing great damage.
The St. Paul’s mission team arrived in Houston in two parts: 1) Tim Kaufmann, Darren Malchow, Deryl Maxwell, and Jessica McFadden drove a van that was loaded with tools and donations of gifts for children of Pilgrim Lutheran School. They left on October 11. The rest of the team arrived by plane late on Thursday or early Friday (Mar Degner, Jeff Nakamatsu, and Matt Wingert - Matt is an alumni of our school and currently serves as a DCE in Christ Lutheran in Norfolk, Nebraska.) The team was housed at Salem Lutheran Church and School in Tomball.
After touring the facilities and learning of all of the issues on the first day, the team made some decisions on priorities of tasks and began to work. During the four days of work, the team was able to drywall and mud the Parish Hall, the pantries adjacent to the Parish Hall kitchen, and a faculty workroom. In addition, the team completely cleaned the gym and reorganized the storage closets in the gym so that it could be usable. Also, the team completed a plethora of maintenance tasks in order to help the maintenance person to get on top of his work. Jessica heard about the desire to have the church and schools logo painted on the newly surfaced Atrium floor. She was able to accomplish this in three of the four days we were on site.
While the work had very little glamour, it was quite rewarding. Team members were able to take time out to listen to the stories of the people. Each staff member, student, parent, etc. has a story. Taking the time to hear those stories as well as help to bring some relief to this congregation was a joy for the Houston Mission Team. On Sunday night, Lakewood Church of Houston hosted a Hurricane Relief concert that featured many contemporary Christian artists such as Bethel Music, Chris Quill, Cody Carnes, Hillsong Worship, Kari Jobe, Passion, Pat Barrett, and Tasha Cobbs Leonard.
A huge thank you goes out to all of the stakeholders of St. Paul’s. Your prayers and gifts are greatly appreciated by the Pilgrim community. Thank you also for your prayers for the mission team as they went about their work in this place at this time. Continue to watch for additional opportunities to serve on future mission teams.