In the face of a horrific natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, it can be hard to find a ray of hope that safety is assured or that things will get better.
Rather than falling into despair, however, the faith communities of the Crossroads have done a stellar job of pulling together to shelter and serve those affected by the hurricane. The congregations that have played such a vital role in the rebuilding of our community are truly living the call to help thy neighbor.
When Harvey began to bear down on the Coastal Bend, a lack of resources left many scrambling for shelter. Fortunately for those in Refugio, which would go on to suffer severe damage during the storm, Joy Ministries opened its doors so residents would not have to ride out the storm on their own. Churches may be known best as places to weather life's spiritual storms, but they can be used for other purposes under the direction of faith leaders with giving hearts.
In the days and weeks following the storm, when thousands remained without power and water, faith communities stepped up again to meet a critical need for food, water and ice. Faith Family Church, the Victoria Islamic Center, St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Bloomington and many others distributed donated supplies to struggling residents. People who've attended these places of worship and people who've never set foot in their doors showed up and were not sent away empty-handed.
In addition to hosting locally coordinated relief efforts, some churches provided sites for out-of-town faith-based groups such as Samaritan's Purse and Texas Baptist Men. These groups come into areas that have been affected by disasters to provide service and ministry to the victims, and they're typically aided by local churches that serve as bases of operation. Without local churches like Faith Family Church and Northside Baptist Church, these out-of-town groups wouldn't have been able to provide their needed services.
St. Teresa of Avila once said, "Christ has no body now on Earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours . Yours are the hands with which he is to bless his people." What a comfort it is to know our faith communities have been working so hard to be the answer to the prayers of the people around them.
This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.