It's been extremely sobering this week to hear about Hurricane Katrina and all the aftermath. It's such a huge tragedy with extremely far-reaching effects. Because so many people have come here to Houston, I feel like I'm closer to this sort of crisis than anything I've ever experienced before. I was at a nearby church today that has been set up as a shelter. They actually couldn't take any more volunteers because they already had so many, but we got to spend a little bit of time talking with a few of the people. My mother and several of my siblings were there yesterday also. We met families who had lost absolutely everything. It was especially heartbreaking to hear their experiences of literally fearing for their lives. After spending nights on bridges and going through unspeakable things, they were thankful to finally be in a safe place. Now, they are faced with the reality of needing to start over from scratch. Several of the people we met doubt that they'll ever be able to return to their homes.
I also met a young woman who was in a considerably different situation because she was able to stay with family and is pretty well off financially. But even she doesn't know when or if she'll be able to return. Even if her home can be salvaged, she doesn't know if she'll have a job. She said it's strange to think of herself as a refugee, and she's the cleanest homeless and jobless person she's ever heard of!
It's hard for me to even fathom the overnight and nearly complete destruction of an entire city. We take so many things for granted, and we really never know when the things we depend on may be taken away. I keep thinking, "It could have happened here."
It will be interesting to see what an impact there will be on our city. Of all places, Houston is probably one of the most capable of absorbing that many people. We have the space, the infrastructure, and probably the job market to handle it, but it will still have a big impact.
I've been thinking also that we have suddenly had a huge mission field arrive right on our doorstep. Thousands upon thousands of people with huge needs are right here, and there are so many opportunities to show the love of Christ to them. It's overwhelming in a way, but if each of us does what we can, we can make a huge difference. I know God has a purpose in it all, and He is in control.