By Jennifer Blanck, MiCAFE Network Coordinator
We are a wonderful nation that comes together by pouring out love, time, talent, support, food, clothing and more to help others who are going through natural disasters and other tragedies. Churches, large companies, and non-profit organizations are crucial in the recovery process to rebuild and help communities recover, which can take weeks, months or even years.
I have the honor and privilege of being an assistant high school youth group leader at my church, which has allowed me to go on life changing mission trips over the years. This past July, we went to Beaumont/Port Author, Texas to help with the continuing recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey that hit in early September 2017.
Our group stayed at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Beaumont, Texas, where we were greeted with open arms and learned the true meaning of Southern hospitality (they seriously spoiled us). The church inadvertently became a relief center because of the overwhelming amount of donations of food, supplies, diapers, clothing, etc., coming in from people everywhere, even from some very unexpected sources.
However, because of the lingering flood waters from the hurricane, about one-third of their congregation has been displaced and not yet able to return to their homes or the church. Many other members are still living in hotels and/or repairing their homes.
One of those members is the wonderful Ms. Beulah. She is an amazing woman of faith who was beyond grateful to have us in her home, working to get it back to normal. She had only returned to her home a few months prior to our arrival. Through dedication and hard work, groups prior to ours had already restored her kitchen, bathroom, one bedroom, and living room walls.
During our time with Ms. Beulah, we were able to paint the walls and lay flooring in a second bedroom, the living room floor, demo walls, and lay plywood for the floors in a third bedroom. By the time we left, she was feeling like she was getting her home back.
While the repairs we did on her home were important, I think what was even more important was the friendships that were created and the lasting impact we had on each other’s lives.
Ms. Beulah shared with us that she raised a child with special needs which led her to go into teaching children with special needs. She never lost faith, no matter what obstacles may have come her way. When Hurricane Harvey came through destroying homes and uprooting families, she wasn’t worried because she knew that everything would be okay. She is the perfect example that with faith, hope, and love, you can persevere and overcome anything.
Ms. Beulah has a special notebook that she keeps all our names in, so she can specifically pray for each of us who have come into her home and helped her. She was just as interested in learning about us and hearing our stories as we were hers. She is truly an inspirational woman and I hope she continues to bless everyone who meets her as much as she blessed me. I keep in touch with her from time to time via text and always continue to keep her in my prayers.