An Update from Houston

Date Posted: 
Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017

Last week, my colleague Ricardo Velazquez and I traveled to Texas to support the work of our two RCA church planters on your behalf. We were able to tour some of the areas affected by flooding from Hurricane Harvey. We met some of the people that your support has already helped. We prayed with people whose lives have completely changed in the past two weeks. We experienced the amazing love and care that pastors Christian Sebastia and Prince Couisnard and their families are showing their communities. 

As disaster response coordinator for the RCA, I’ve seen scenes like this before. I was in New Jersey and Staten Island just a few days after Hurricane Sandy destroyed so many homes there five years ago. But no matter how much of it I remember personally, or how I think I’m getting the full picture on TV, I was still surprised by seeing, smelling, and walking through a house that had been flooded with four feet of water. 

It was heartbreaking

Lizeth, a woman we met, showed us the broken second-floor window where the Coast Guard rescued her and her three-year-old twins, taking them to safety in a helicopter. And then I watched her emotions change as she pointed to the pile of garbage on the curb. A pile that included that perfect couch that she shopped for at a dozen furniture stores until she found just the right one. A pile that included her kids’ high chairs and every one of their toys that was on the first floor of the only home they have ever known. All of it was ruined. Literally everything that was on the first floor of her house was sitting by the curb, next to her and her husband’s cars—cars that had been completely submerged in water. 

We were able to bring groceries for Lizeth and her family and cleaning supplies to help start to clean her house. It felt trivial to me, but it meant so much to her. We can’t just snap our fingers and have it all go back to the way it was. But we can help to put the pieces back together over time. 

People in Texas need our prayers, and they need our financial and personal help to reclaim the lives they had just two short weeks ago. It will take years to repair and rebuild all the houses that have been damaged, but we will be there to help. 

We will be there to support our RCA churches, Carismah Church and Christ the Redeemer Community Church, as they meet needs in their communities. 

Our disaster relief partner, World Renew Disaster Response Services, has a team in Texas this week to determine next steps for a long-term recovery that will help those in the most need. The rebuilding effort will take years, and we’ll be there.

Please join me in praying for Lizeth and her family. Join me in praying for the thousands of people like Lizeth who have had their lives turned upside down by storms in the past few weeks. Texans and Floridians are strong and will work hard, but they will need our help. We’ll be there to give it.

Thank you for all you have already done to help people in need. 


Scott Engelsman
Coordinator and facilitator for Global Mission development and engagement

RCA Today

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