Pray For Houston

Today, Rebecca Walls from Unite Greater Dallas reached out to church networks around the country who work with leaders to transform cities (many call them City Gospel Movements) and Seattle's Light up the City was invited to jump on the call. She updated us on her conversation with the Houston network leaders who declared that, "The Church is shining like a light, in this dark situation." Mission Houston and Loving Houston (a church-school partnership network) are two of the networks Rebecca mentioned. Rebecca challenged local city networks by asking how they might prepare for 5,000 to 50,000 people coming to their city from a disaster area? (Up to 450,000 may seek outside shelter from Harvey.) Here is what she had to say about responding to Hurricane Harvey.:

Right now, the effort is in the "Rescue and Relief" stage. Getting people safe, getting people basic needs. This is being done by people with expertise, the Red Cross etc. It is best not to show up at all, but to help by supporting these organizations. AirBnB has an emergency response service that allows you to open your home to a person or family that has been displaced!

Over the coming weeks and months, as the waters recede, a cleanup effort will ensue... no one can grasp the enormity of this task, but www.awakenmycity.com/harvey will have all of the related volunteer needs for the whole church to be able to access. You can start making connections here NOW for the effort to come. This site will have viable churches, non-profits and government agencies who are working and able to receive outside help. The local church network leaders are managing this site and will keep things updated daily to the best of their knowledge and abilities. Please make yourself familiar with this site, as we think it will prove to be very valuable for anyone who wants to serve the city of Houston.

After and alongside the cleanup effort by working with local experts we can help Houston in its development process by getting behind their initiatives, their businesses and their organizations. She reminded us that just heading down to help may not help despite great intentions. In many of these cases, however, boots on the ground may be needed, but we must figure out who we are helping, and what skills and resources are needed. (Texas CCDN is a network out of the CCDA (Christian Community Development Association), and I am waiting to see how their network will respond on the development side.) Impact Investing may be a way to go. This is not charity per-se, but it is investing in a business that needs to get back on its feet... I encourage you to consider this!

Katrina was the worst natural disaster in US. History (14 years ago) and our nation learned a lot through that terrible experience. I am happy to say that there was some organization ahead of time, and the network of relationships that have been built in Houston over decades is serving the city very well during this time of crisis.

In closing, Rebecca also challenged the networks to identify all of the services available in your city in a time of crisis, and ask Is your congregation in a position to be a leader in a time of crisis here at home? Or, due to unpreparedness, among those who need help? That big earthquake?! This is an important question for us to ponder locally,

Join us in praying for Houston, and for serving those in need as we are able. If you have additional suggestions please comment below!

- Chris Gough

Photo credits to Houston Chronicle FB Page

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