In tragedy, we sometimes find the best in people. That's precisely what happened two years ago in the Houston suburb of Friendswood, Texas.
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey barreled down on Texas. Harvey caused massive flooding, dropping more than 60 inches of rainfall, creating a 1,000-year flood event.
David Lorenz, pastor at First Baptist Friendswood, remembers the devastation.
“Our city had over a third of the homes impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” said Lorenz. “Floodwaters closed streets, businesses and schools for days. Many homes had more than four feet of water in them. Fortunately, my neighborhood was spared any flood damage, but our community was forever changed by the devastation.”
As those in Lorenz’s neighborhood were spared from the flooding as well as his church, they started helping others. In the picture, David and neighbors are on a rescue mission to help other flooded neighbors who were not as fortunate.
“We pulled the boat through a shallow section in the street so that we could rescue some families in the neighborhood behind our church,” Lorenz recalls. “Once we reached the next block, we got into the boat and rode down the middle of the street to the front yard of a family – we rescued two families on that trip. It is hard to imagine that you could drive a boat down the middle of a major road, but that's what we and so many others did to rescue neighbors from flooded homes.”
The group remembers the heroic boat rescues and the relationships with neighbors that were created during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“During the days after the storm, we gathered at one of the neighbor’s houses every evening for dinner,” says Lorenz. “Between 30-40 people gathered each night for dinner. Some were flood victims and were staying with people in our neighborhood. Others had been working in our community all day assisting those in need. It was a challenging season, but people still talk about those dinners two years later. It was a tremendous blessing.”
Those dinners and the rescues aren't just memories. They were life-changing moments that impacted their neighborhood and created a greater sense of servanthood in the community.
Lorenz’s reminder for everyone - you don’t need a hurricane to build a great neighborhood.
“I have been encouraging the people I know to get out and walk your neighborhood. Walking is good for you and so is connecting with people. Meet your neighbors, pet their dog, take them cookies, high-five their children; and if you are a person of faith, pray for your neighbors. Great neighborhoods are built when people know and love their neighbors.”