My husband’s worst nightmare was coming true. We had moved to southwest Missouri from Rockport, Texas, ten years ago, but we still owned a business there. While watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey, they began to predict that it would make landfall at Rockport. Scott’s business, our livelihood, was directly in the eye of the storm.
It was a very helpless feeling. We could only watch and wait, pray and hope for the best.
The prediction got worse – that the hurricane would stall over the coast dumping rain over the same area for days, causing widespread flooding. We knew it was bad when they were broadcasting from Rockport, and the reporters and storm chasers were staying at a hotel down the street from our business.
I found myself mindlessly cleaning our house to use up my nervous energy. The song, In the Eye of the Storm, by Ryan Stevenson, was stuck in my head and I sang as I dusted, swept, mopped, cleaned bathrooms and did laundry. It was a comforting reminder of God’s promise to be with everyone in Harvey’s path.
Then the hurricane strengthened. Our buildings were well-built and rated for 120 mph, but the wind speeds climbed over that as Harvey became a category 4 storm. My husband began making plans to head that way as soon as he could to check on his business, but was afraid there wouldn’t be anything left.
Through modern technology and storm chasers, we were able to watch live video coverage of Harvey making landfall. We saw the white-out conditions and the debris flying around. The storm chaser described parts of buildings blowing around him – could our buildings be among them?
My husband was frustrated about living so far from his business, but I reminded him that it would be worse if we still lived there. Both our home and our business would be at risk. As it was, our home and family were all safe.
After Harvey passed through, it was so frustrating trying to get information. The news stations weren’t showing Rockport. I couldn’t post or reply on Facebook, and the cell towers and internet in that area were down, preventing communication. We were concerned about people who we knew had ridden out the storm and were anxious to hear from them.
The day after landfall, my husband left to make his way to south Texas. He stayed with a relative in Dallas before continuing on to Corpus Christi. He was able to find a hotel room, but their elevator wasn’t working so he had to carry his luggage and other belongings upstairs to the fourth floor. Once settled, he was hungry, so he headed back to a Whataburger that he had seen open only to find that they had run out of food. He found a Chili’s open, so he went there and ordered a hamburger. The waitress laughed and informed him that he would be having a chicken sandwich, the only thing they had left.
It had been announced that Rockport was under Marshall Law and that people wouldn’t be allowed back in, so we didn’t know if he’d be able to get to our business or not. However, early the following morning he made his way there, reporting that he didn’t have any problem at all.
A friend who was able to get to the business had given us his assessment of StowAway’s damage, but of course, Scott was anxious to see it for his self.
Although all seven of our buildings were damaged, they were all in fairly good condition. The first day he was there he began to have customers come by to check on their possessions. He was pleased to be able to reassure them that everything was still there.
We have insurance. We won’t know the full extent of the damage until it’s inspected by experts. We don’t know how much we’ll lose financially, but we’ve invested our hope in God. No matter what, we’ll be okay. Because of that, Scott is able to help and comfort others who have lost more than we have. We don’t have to look far to see others who are much worse off than we are.
Houston was on Harvey’s “bad” side. The hurricane lingered in the region for days, dumping over 50″ of rain on some areas of Houston. They experienced catastrophic flooding, and there were thousands of water rescues.
What happened in Houston made me feel like we were blessed that Harvey hit and ran. There was a lot of damage, but at least it didn’t go on for days and days. Because of the dense population, Houston wasn’t able to order a mandatory evacuation. They had some idea of how bad it would be, but Harvey exceeded expectations, resulting in one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.
We have many friends and family in the Houston area. We lived and worked in that area for many years. To my knowledge at this writing they are all safe and I thank God for that.
Some effects of a hurricane are obvious, such as wind and flood damage, but we continue to learn of other less-anticipated problems that the victims and first-responders are facing.
- Flat tires from metal debris.
- Blistered feet from wearing wet shoes for days.
- People with serious health problems unable to get medical attention.
- Where businesses were destroyed, people are left without jobs and wondering how they’ll make repairs and pay bills without any income.
- Displaced pets, livestock, snakes, alligators, fire ants, etc.
- Looting, robbing, and scams.
- Adjusting to life without comforts such as air conditioning and refrigeration.
- What else should I add? The effects will be felt for a very long time.
Prayers from Around the World
Facebook was covered with posts from people from all over the world offering their prayers for Texas. We feel helpless as we watch our brothers and sisters in such a crisis and we feel bad that we can only pray.
But praying is the best thing that we can do.
We serve an almighty God. Only He can calm the storm and His children. Many will actually go to the area to physically serve. Many will donate money, food, and clothing to those in need. If you can’t do those things, prayer is accessible to everyone and the most powerful way to help. It’s overwhelming for me to think about all of the different needs that they will be having, but God knows what they are and how they’re best served.
My friend, Roxy Picker, who is a missionary in India with her husband, Kurt, posted this picture of children at WINGS Children’s Home in Ongole praying for Texas. Their ministry is supported by Memorial and West Houston Churches of Christ.
Our storage facility weathered the hurricane well. Even so, scripture warns us of storing our treasures on earth. Disasters such as these serve to remind us to place our trust in the eternal. We can only do so much to protect and prepare, but then it’s in God’s hands.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21, New International Version
We just observed a rare total eclipse on August 21st, and a few days later we had one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. There’s seven years until a second total eclipse will mark an “X” over the United States, and the number seven is significant. I can’t help but wonder what this seven-year period is going to be like. Harvey may serve as a reminder to turn back to God. Our culture as a whole has taken a big turn away from Him, and I pray that people will repent.
All Things for Good
Even in a historical disaster such as this, good will come from it. In the months after the Joplin tornado, we saw hordes of people flock to the area to help whereever they could. My husband and son went one day to feed victims, and everywhere they went, people tried to give them food and water. There were so many volunteers that there was an excess.
We’re already seeing the photos and videos of people helping people, using their own resources to help in whatever way they can. They aren’t stopping to ask them about their religious or political beliefs, they just help them. In times like these it puts those things back into perspective. We’re all precious children of God.
Here at home, I had to go to Cassville, Missouri, one day, and there I met a group of people taking donations for flood victims at the local grocery store. The store, Price Cutter, had made a large donation and they were busy loading it. Joe Goade, Donna Goade, and Mike Foley, were donating their own time and resources. They were in contact with a church in Conroe, Texas, which was an American Red Cross shelter, and they hoped to leave a few days later with a full trailer.
God works all things for good. It may be hard to see how right now, but He will.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
I went to church alone that Sunday, and it seemed like every song we sang involved storms and flooding. I don’t know if that was planned or Godincidence, but I couldn’t help but think of all of the people that were facing that right at that moment. Many of them would have been at church worshipping God, but instead were fearing for their lives. I sang for them and hoped that they were still able to put their hope in Him despite being in the eye of the storm.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.