The hurricane that broke records and hearts in Texas has moved on, and the Church is now getting to work.
Hurricane Harvey dumped an estimated 19 trillion gallons of water on the Texas coast, breaking a continental U.S. record when Cedar Bayou measured 51.9 inches of water, USA Today reported.
The Category 4 hurricane also smashed the Gulf Coast with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and now an estimated 100,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.
The recovery is expected to cost $190 billion, the costliest in U.S. history.
So what can the Church do after all that?
Pastor Robert Jeffress, who leads First Baptist Church in Dallas, says his congregation was eager to help Harvey's storm victims but it seemed, at least at first, like an overwhelming task.
"We felt like the most effective thing we could do," he tells OneNewsNow, "would be to partner with proven experts in disaster relief."
First Baptist, he says, has written a $50,000 check to the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief.
According to its online updates, the volunteer Southern Baptist group is feeding Harvey's first reponders, setting up showers and laundry units, deploying chainsaw crews and heavy equipment operators, and sending chaplains to minister at shelters, among other projects.
Onec the waters recede, Jeffress says First Baptist will partner with Samaritan's Purse to send teams to the Gulf Coast to help rebuild.
Disaster relief ministry Eight Days of Hope is preparing to go to work in Texas, too, beginning September 5. The ministry that began after Hurricane Katrina, known for its all-volunteer workers, has remodeled or rebuilt more than 1,900 homes in disaster-hit neighborhoods.
American Family Association is teaming up with Eight Days of Hope next week, using AFA's radio ministry to encourage listeners to donate to Hope's relief work in Texas.
"While families are experiencing tremendous devastation and sadness," says Tim Wildmon, AFA's president, "our prayer is that this partnership will shine the love and hope of Jesus Christ to those affected by the disaster."
"The most frequent term used the describe the Church in the New Testament is the Body of Christ," says Jeffress. "Unbelievers determine what they think about Jesus by what they think about his physical representation, the Church."
Much like Jesus' earthly ministry, says Jeffress, the Church often meets hurting people's physical needs before explaining the spiritual purpose that propels it to take action.
American Family Association is the parent organization of American Family News and news website OneNewsNow.
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