DOWN IN FRONT
By David W Roach
Harvey has moved on by now and we turn our attention from rescue to recovery. The flood water will recede. The land will dry out. People will return home to find out whether or not they have a home to return to. Those with intact homes will start the arduous work of repairing. Those without homes will start the equally arduous work of rebuilding or relocating. Everyone will need help regardless of their condition.
Here in San Antonio we dodged the bullet. Had Harvey turned a few more miles to the west, we would be worrying about the flooding in San Antonio instead of Houston and points east.
After Katrina, San Antonio absorbed thousands of refugees from New Orleans. Those refugees made their homes in San Antonio and have made contributions to our multicultural community.
Soon we will receive refugees from Houston and from the Coastal Bend. Some of them will make their homes in San Antonio. This is the future of San Antonio. San Antonio is becoming a city of refuge.
I felt woefully unprepared for Harvey. I bought water and filled my gas tank. I also brought in patio furniture and pinned my trash cans against the garage with my car. I felt prepared. But as the scope of the disaster sank in I realized that there was so much more I could have done if only my perspective was wider.
That’s what organizations like the Red Cross and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance do. They anticipate the needs of the many effected by storms.
When I was a Boy Scout, I was told to be prepared. I learned how to use a knife, how to build a fire, how to stay dry, lots of stuff. I felt confident I could take care of myself.
When it came to taking care of others, I was equally confident. I knew how to bandage cuts, how to put out fires, how to swim and lots of other stuff.
When I became an active Christian—I was baptized as a baby, but didn’t start practicing until much later—I learned that the Lord Jesus also commanded me to be prepared. While I learned how to be ready for the Second Coming, I learned very little about how to be ready for a hurricane. I learned how to save souls from Hellfire, but nothing about saving people from flood waters. I learned that I should trust God tp provide, although money was always welcome.
If I’m right about San Antonio, then it is incumbent upon every Christian community in San Antonio to think like the Red Cross and PDA. We must ask ourselves how we can prepare for the next flood of refugees.
Could Pilgrim stockpile emergency food and water in our empty rooms? Could we fit twenty or thirty cots in the fellowship hall? Could we partner with the Red Cross to put up tents on the lawn or with FEMA to park mobile homes on our parking lot?
I confess that I’ve seldom thought that way. I think I should start.