It's been a year since Harvey left its footprint across the gulf coast and our great city. With 47 inches of rain, Houston was covered like a giant lake of water.
With 1/3 of Houston covered in flood waters, the damages and impact were the worst our community has ever experienced. As a church, we haven't forgotten.
Since the storm, we have mobilized over 2.500 volunteers to help clean out 1,000 homes. We have fully completed rebuilding twenty-seven homes and have fifteen homes currently in the rebuild process.
We are not just rebuilding homes, we are restoring lives and families just like Maria Mejia's home, which we just completed.
Maria never imaged that this type of devastation would happen to her, she told our team.
Maria took her three dogs for a walk on Sunday, August 27th and noticed the water was rising, but nothing could have prepared her for the rushing floodgates from the bayou into her condo. With Maria's complex right by the bayou, the waters rushed like rapids into her home.
Within ten minutes, the water went from the door to into her kitchen. She and her daughter rushed to save as much of their belongings as they could.
When she left, she was wading in water up to her knee.
She, her daughter, and five pets were water rescued by kayak. She returned twelve days later to discover everything she owned was completely destroyed. She also received the very sad news that one of her elderly neighbors was unable to be rescued and passed away. Despair surrounded all around her like a giant blanket but her Lakewood family rushed to her aid and provided hope and support for her in her time of need.
"Lakewood has been so good to me and my faith. God led me to the right church." Retells Maria.
We gave her money to help her with rent, food and utilities. Like all of our rebuilds, we completely renovated her home from top to bottom with new sheetrock, fresh paint on all walls new doors, all new flooring everywhere, porcelain tile in the bathroom, new cabinets in the kitchen, granite countertops and a nice backsplash. We also provided her with all new appliances such as a new refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher, and a dryer.
"I feel like they did more than I deserve. The house looks beautiful. It is out of this world. They put tiles in bathrooms. They changed the windows, put brick on the big windows, new doors, new light fixtures- everything! I looked in the dictionary to find a meaningful word to express my deepest gratitude to Pastor Joel, his family and all the congregation. But the only word that actually fits right there is thank you. Regardless if it's in French, Spanish, Portuguese, it is the same. Thank you. Thank you each congregant that attends Lakewood that faithfully puts their tithe in. That is what helped us come home. Not just me."
So many families have faced deep trauma and as a Church, we are very blessed and fortunate to help those whose lives have been displaced and turned upside down by this disaster.
Like Maria told our team, "To lose everything within 24 hours hurts."
Because of your generosity, we are able to help those hurting, like Maria. We were able to rush to her aid and be a blanket of love for her in her time of great need.
Since Harvey, $5 million dollars have been donated in aid, supplies and resources and the work continues.
There is still a great need in our community even a year later. (In fact, many of Maria's neighbors in the same complex, are still without walls as they await help).
We are committed to the process of doing all that we can until completion is found in our city. If you would like to be a part of this rebuild effort, please email: [email protected] and we can give you additional information, such as when our next Saturday service day is where we help beautify homeowners yards and plant trees of hope. Many are in need of furniture, as well. One of our Lakewood members has so graciously offered her time and resources to help style and furnish a few of our homes and we are so thankful to these rich displays of generosity.
In a very dark time, God has allowed Lakewood to be a beacon of light to the Houston community. We are committed to being the brightest light possible! Thank you for standing with us!