Renewed Hope Amid an Historic Hurricane Season
You never get used to disaster sites. Scenes of twisted, destroyed property and sorrow written all over people’s faces do sadly become familiar, but never routine. Walking into each new disaster situation is jarring, like a punch to the gut. And every time someone shares their story of loss, it is heart-wrenching.
We at Hand of Hope, Joyce Meyer Ministries World Missions, have responded to many disasters over the years including Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, Earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal, many floods and tornadoes, as well as the tsunami in southeast Asia.
2017 was a year overwhelmed by various natural disasters, but because of your faithful support, we were poised and ready to go when and wherever needed. And each time, we approach an area with an attitude of hopefulness—even in the middle of chaos—sincere gratitude poured from them because they knew we were there to help. We took this responsibility to heart: to be living examples of God’s love.
The following story is a beautiful example of the precious people we encounter.
Restoring Hope in Harvey’s Path of Destruction
Driving through the neighborhoods of Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey brought yet another difficult blow. The streets were lined with each household’s contents piled as high as the rooftops, including photos and family heirlooms—just things, yet many irreplaceable. But it’s the stories of fear, loss and heroism that we remember most.
When we pulled up to Phil and Sheila’s home, volunteers were carrying out the ruined contents and ripping up flooring and drywall. Phil and Sheila sat in shock, watching silently as volunteers moved in and out. The pile of rubble in their yard grew larger and larger until their home of more than 30 years was completely obscured.
Life was difficult enough for the couple before the storm. Sheila is on oxygen and has faced many physical challenges. Phil cares for Sheila, though he has health difficulties of his own, and it is obvious that the couple shares a sweet bond. But the destruction of their home left Phil feeling particularly hopeless.
That’s when Hand of Hope showed up with the help of our disaster relief partner, Eight Days of Hope. As the energetic crew of smiling volunteers from all across the country did the work that would have taken a couple weeks and a great deal of money to accomplish, Phil’s hope was renewed with the knowledge that God had truly provided for them. When we met Caron, the first words out of her mouth were, “If you’re looking for someone who is going to cry over what’s happened, you’ve got the wrong house.” Caron’s home was completely flooded and would have to be gutted and rebuilt, but she was determined that God’s grace would get her through. It’s something she says she learned from Joyce’s teachings—and it’s something she saw in action when help knocked on her door.
Rescued by Her Son
Perhaps the most harrowing story we heard was of a son who was determined to keep his elderly mother safe. Chris’s mother Alicia is a beautiful 87-year-old with diabetes. As the water began to unexpectedly rise in her neighborhood, Chris picked her up from her bed and carried her to his pick-up truck to keep her safe from electrocution. The water was moving faster than they could escape and they were trapped in the truck for 12 hours.
Hours spent riding out the storm, the water rising and Alicia without her medication could have resulted in the worst. Thankfully a family member was eventually able to rescue them, taking Alicia and Chris to safety through the neighborhood streets in a boat.
Alicia and her family have lost many irreplaceable family mementos, but with tears in their eyes they shared their gratitude that God spared what mattered most—their lives. And on top of that, He sent a special group of people to help them begin the rebuilding process with the help of Hand of Hope.
Real life stories like these are the reasons we are dedicated to doing all we can to help more families rebuild after Hurricane Harvey in Texas. And it doesn’t stop there. We’re also providing critical support for those affected by Hurricane Irma in Florida and the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Nate in Costa Rica. With your financial support, we are encouraging, praying for and helping people rebuild as they face the future.
We never get used to disasters like these, but we do love to see God’s people come together to reach out in times of need. Together, we are restoring hope, rebuilding lives and helping share the love of Christ in a beautiful way!