I came across this note from Forree Grove who is the minister of the A&M Church of Christ in College Station Texas. This came via Edward Fudge's GracEmail:
Friday morning a member of St Thomas Catholic Church called to say they were over-flowing with evacuees from the south due to Rita. We opened our building at 8:30 a.m. and by noon we had 500 people sleeping in our building -- all over it. We had two showers for them. We put out an email to our membership and by noon we had fed them hamburgers cooked on the grill and all the meals went just like that. The good part is that we had a spiritual feast with our 500. There was no complaining by anyone -- just thanksgiving. We all gathered on Friday and Saturday night for devotionals where we sang in Spanish and English and prayed together. We stood in a huge circle in our auditorium and sang 'We love you with the love of the Lord' to one another. The evacuees vacuumed, cleaned rest rooms and showers, mopped floors, served food and hauled trash. They sang with us and prayed with us and embraced us when they left. The even gathered up a contribution of $380.00 dollars for 'the church.'' They made it clear they were not trying to pay for anything but that they were praising God with their contribution. Every person in the group was kind, considerate, compassionate and open to God's use of the intemperate weather. We were all moved to tears as we said goodbye on Sunday morning. It was just not a weekend of helping others it was a weekend of our holding hands with others with our Father. It was wonderful."
I suspect this kind of story could be repeated by churches of all denominations in a variety of places. I think I mentioned in a recent post that our church kept 125 people last weekend. All of these people had come from Houston. What was especially incredible and encouraging was the number of people from our church who gave and gave. Towels, food, toothbrushes, pet carriers, sleeping bags, air mattresses etc.
One important part of this story is how good this was for the churches. I have heard that from a number of people this week. One woman told me that caring for those evacuees was her most exciting experience in the life of the church. Thank God for this time of ministry and encouragement.