As the months have passed, the city has begun to rebuild despite the constant reminders of Hurricane Harvey. However, one Harvey-ravaged neighborhood appeared to fall through the public cracks, and a local church subsequently jumped into action – heeding a scriptural call to action.
Garden Oaks-area Arise Baptist Church, originally designated as a distribution center post-Harvey, heard through the grapevine last month that the Trinity/Houston Gardens neighborhood in east Houston had seemingly been neglected in post-Harvey relief, as it was just a small swath of the neighborhood backing up to Halls Bayou that had flooded. Soon after, its members decided that could not stand.
“A member of our congregation who works with a nonprofit in the city had some people from this area come into the office and tell them nobody had been to their neighborhood,” Pastor Will Cover said.
Hearing God’s call, members of the church – armed with a full truck of supplies and able workers – trekked from just off North Shepherd Drive and Curtin Street all the way out to the boondocks, going house-to-house with truckloads of supplies.
For weeks now, a mix of congregation members and professional builders – coming from as far as Indiana – have come to the aid of Trinity Gardens, from cleanup and tearing out sheetrock to giving out food and supplies, even rebuilding homes for families who lost everything as the result of Harvey.
“Everybody we came to said ‘y’all are the first people to even come to our neighborhood.’ No federal relief agency had been able to make it out,”
Cover said. “We just felt like this was where we needed to stay, so we kept coming back. We had several churches [from Missouri and Colorado] donate some money to help, so we just jumped in and rolled with it.”
Ram in the bush
For the last several weeks, one project for Arise and a building crew from Indiana has been rebuilding the home of Larry Boyd and his wife Angela, whose home was completely gutted after more than six feet of water made its way inside during Harvey.
Step-by-step, the church walked alongside Boyd throughout the process, with as many as 19 workers – a mix of Arise congregation members and professional builders – at a time uniting to construct a new creation.
Boyd, who lived in the home for 26 years pre-Harvey, was beside himself to see the near-completed product Monday morning.
“The biggest thing I can tell you, that when God says to be still, you be still – let him take care of the rest. He can clean up a mess, because He’s the best. You can’t control the rest of it anyway,” he said. “No matter how big my brain thinks, there’s no way I could’ve gotten this done the way it came about, from the house to the Godly people [who helped build it].”
While it may seem a massive undertaking, — especially considering the distance covered – for Arise and its congregation as well as the builders, Cover says it was simply a fulfilling of the scriptural call to action.
“These people were in need, so we wanted to help,” he said.
And for that, Boyd is forever grateful.
“God told me to just be still, and He would take care of it. I know that God touched [Will’s] heart and touched my heart,” he said. “God always has a ram in the bush, and Pastor Will was my ram, because he brought it full circle for me and my family – I can never repay him enough. I can tell that God put it on his heart to do that.”