Hurricane Harvey was deemed the worst disaster in Texas history by William Long, an administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flooding brought by the hurricane destroyed many homes and caused damage costing an estimated billions of dollars.
Yet in the midst of all the chaos and destruction, the American people rose to the occasion. Numerous organizations and volunteers offered their help and services to the people that were affected. One of the teams that helped with hurricane relief was a group from ORU.
Director of ORU Missions Augustine Mendoza, team leader Caleb Carter and assistant team leader Bree McFee led a group of ORU students in a missions trip to Port Arthur, Texas. A group of 13 students dedicated their Fall Break to helping clean up the damage.
Though Houston’s flood damage received the largest amount of media coverage, many surrounding cities and areas were also badly affected.
“The hurricane hit more than Houston…[and] towns like Beaumont or Port Arthur were hit with even more water damage and even more flooding than Houston,” said Carter.
The team partnered with Convoy of Hope, a faith-based, humanitarian organization, and ministered to the people through physical labor. They stayed in a church called “The Rock” and helped clear out damaged houses.
“We’d go in the morning and talk to the owner and ask what they want to keep and throw out. It’s a hard process for them because it’s their belongings. The houses were generally untouched from the hurricane. [There was] black mold four to five feet high on the walls. Cockroaches everywhere, it was bad,” said Carter.
When Convoy of Hope found damaged houses, the ORU team went to work clearing them out.
“We would rip the flooring out, take the cabinets out, and take apart everything including the walling except to the point where the mold didn’t reach. So we would take it all out, remove everything and get someone who could come in and help them rebuild or sell the house,” said Carter. “The main ministry we had was through our hands and feet.”
After each house had been cleared, the team prayed over the families for encouragement and for God to keep them through the process of recovery.