Christian Chronicle

After Harvey, ‘churches have done far more than the government’

Two months after the storm, Texas minister reflects on disaster relief and lessons learned.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

BEAUMONT, Texas — Tony Williams is tired.

However, he insists he’s not burned out.

Two months after Hurricane Harvey, the Westgate Church of Christ — where Williams serves as the preaching minister — remains active with disaster relief in this southeast Texas city of 120,000.

“It’s tiring, but I think it’s something we can continue to do because the need is great,” Williams said. “And I think the cause of the kingdom is blessed through being able to reach out in this way.”

Technically, Harvey was a tropical storm, not a hurricane, when it reached Beaumont. Nonetheless, the rain — 26 inches in 24 hours — proved devastating as thousands of structures flooded.

At first, the 150-member Westgate church focused on distributing food and emergency supplies, including tractor-trailer loads full of items provided by Nashville, Tenn.-based Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort.

Later, the congregation shifted to housing and feeding Christians who came from across the nation to help gut, clean and restore deluged homes. To coordinate the volunteer teams, the church turned to the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team, known as DRT.

Read the full interview.

First published online, this story appears in the December 2017 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.


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