I want to thank everyone for their continued prayers, support, and encouragement. FBC Rockport has been extremely blessed and we are trying to be good stewards of the resources and opportunities God has sent our way.
As a church we are still focused primarily on gathering for worship and Bible Study on Sundays and then scattering to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the community for the rest of the week. In January we will look at beginning some of our weekly ministries again.
People from all over the world have contributed to our Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. We are in the process of putting together a detailed report for our church members. I think we have received about $380,000. Some of that money was designated for our repairs. Some was not designated, and we have set that aside, asking God to show us how to use it. Other funds were designated to be used for relief efforts, and I have given out over $150,000 to families and individuals affected by the storm. I continue to hear of needs and attempt to find ways to help. We are still accepting donations to help in the relief efforts. Funds can be sent to the church and designated Harvey Relief.
Repair work on our building has begun with the roof. After completing the roof they will restore the inside of the building, including new flooring and paint, and end by rebuilding our destroyed choir room. We have factored into the rebuild a few things I believe will help our church to prepare for ministry in the years to come, such as a welcome center and upgraded restrooms. We are also considering adding parking space on our property. The overall cost of the remediation and rebuild is difficult to pin down because we haven’t gotten all the costs yet from our contractor. But, the cost will be well over $1 million. Most of this is covered by our insurance settlement and savings set aside by our church over the past several years. God has provided for all our needs.
The Volunteer Reception Center for Aransas County is located at our church. Area homeowners can come in and seek help with the cleanup of their properties and homes. Volunteers come in and register and receive work orders. We are slowly making progress addressing the needs we know of and getting people the help they need. Texas Baptist Men and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief groups are based on our church property and they have been a blessing to us and our community. Various churches from around the state continue to come and serve.
Eventually our focus will shift from crisis cleanup to rebuilding. One of the problems our community faces is lack of housing for large groups to come and stay while working in the community. FBC Rockport has made its property available for this effort. Over the next two to three years we hope to be a base of operations for Texas Baptist Men/SBC Disaster Relief, Samaritan’s Purse, and various church groups. They will be in our community to rebuild and repair the homes of those who may not be able to get help from any other source.
In the coming months and years we will work with other Baptist churches in the area, with sister churches from other denominations, and organizations like the Harvey Relief Camp, and Habitat for Humanity, to rebuild and restore our community. It will be a slow process, but we are committed to seeing it done.
Those looking to help or volunteer should contact Jordan Mims at 706-399-2772, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, our community is experiencing all the fear, anxiety, and angst one would expect after a disaster of this magnitude. I think it is understandable that people would look to the federal, state, and local governments to provide expedient and sufficient help. I believe they have provided help in many ways. But these government entities are not designed to help in all the ways people need right now. Instead, I encourage the people in our community to look to the local churches and helping organizations (Rockport Relief Camp, Good Samaritans). Food, clothes, toiletries, and financial help is available in our community for those who need it.
What we are desperately lacking is temporary housing. My heart breaks over this situation and I am at a loss for how to help. I have yet to hear a good solution or plan. Please join with me in asking God to have mercy on those who remain displaced and homeless due to the storm. There are also those whose FEMA or insurance payouts are woefully inadequate to cover the loss. We want to help these folks as well.
The folks who operate the Rockport Relief Camp are on the front lines of helping the homeless in our community. They continue to accept physical donations at their location, but not clothes or water. They are a 501c3 and can accept tax-deductible monetary gifts as well. Those who would like to contribute to a toy-give away at Christmas should contact the Relief Camp as they are organizing a unified effort community-wide. Most importantly, they are attempting to restore used RVs to get families out of tents and into temporary housing. I have funds available to help them transition families into temporary housing once housing comes available. If you would like to donate your RV as a tax-deductible gift, I would encourage you to contact the Relief Camp. They can be reached at (432) 634-8370 or on Facebook.
Once again, thank you for all the prayers and support. We are not finished yet. God is at work among us, and I am continually astounded and encouraged by how God reveals Himself in the midst of our broken and battered community.