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The Southwestern Union Responds to Hurricane Harvey
September 1, 2017 » The Southwestern Union, Southwest Region Conference, Texas Conference, and North American Division are working closely with pastors, teachers, volunteers, and members who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. We are humbled and grateful for the prayers, words of encouragement, and offers of help that have been coming from across the country. Although Harvey made its initial landfall one week ago, the scope of the damage caused by 100+ mph winds and nearly 50 inches of continuous rain and dangerous flood conditions have made it difficult to assess damages to homes, churches, and schools. Life-saving activities continue to be ongoing and we pray for the safety, peace, and comfort of all who have been affected.
What We Know
Approximately 60 counties in Texas were affected to varying degrees by flooding, wind damage, and tornadoes caused by Hurricane Harvey. The area, which spans a distance of approximately 300 miles along the Gulf Coast, includes 6 Seventh-day Adventist schools and 90 Seventh-day Adventist churches and companies with a total Adventist membership of 17,838. We are monitoring the effects of the storm in Louisiana and the extent of damage is not yet clear. While details are still coming in, the following schools and churches have reported damages:
Southwest Region Conference:
- Excel Adventist Academy in Missouri City, Texas
- World Harvest Outreach Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Houston, Texas
- Sugar Land Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Hebron Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church in Port Arthur, Texas
- Emmanuel Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in Beaumont, Texas
- One pastor was affected by property loss caused by the storm.
- Triangle Adventist Christian School in Groves, Texas
- The Oaks Adventist Christian School in Cypress, Texas
- Baytown Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Baytown, Texas
- Huntsville Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Company in Huntsville, Texas
- Houston International Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Houston Spanish Alief Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Houston Spanish Southaven Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Houston Spanish West Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Houston West Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Houston Gulfhaven Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas
- Seven pastors and three teachers were affected by property loss caused by the storm.
If You Want To Help
- Donations: Right now, the best way to help is with a monetary donation. Consider making a donation to the following:
- Groups: Many groups have expressed a desire to come to the affected area to assist in cleanup and rebuilding efforts. Currently the best place for groups to volunteer is with Adventist Community Services. Contact Southwest Region Adventist Community Services at 469.987.5366, and Texas Adventist Community Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Individuals: Many volunteers who have access to flat-bottom boats and amphibious vehicles have participated in search and rescue operations. Anyone interested in these activities should thoughtfully consider the needs and resources available in the affected area and should contact the city and/or county officials of the desired area of service prior to travel.
- Southwestern Union Offering: On September 2, 2017, churches across the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference, Oklahoma Conference, Southwest Region Conference, Texas Conference, and Texico Conference will take up a special offering to support ongoing relief efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey that includes joint endeavors of Adventist Community Services and resources designated to the relief and recovery work of affected churches and schools. Please remember to mark your offering “Hurricane Harvey.”
- North American Division Offering: On September 9, 2017, churches across the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will collect a special offering to support the relief efforts of Adventist Community Services (ACS) after millions in Texas and Louisiana were impacted by the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey. On September 9, please remember to mark your offering “ACS - Hurricane Relief.”
Many churches and schools have asked what they can do to help. The Southwestern Union is creating church and school partnerships, adopt-a-classroom opportunities, and other fundraising projects. If you would like to partner with an affected school or church, or hold a fundraiser, please email Southwestern Union Communication Director Jessica Lozano at email@example.com.
Adventist Community Services Activities:
Adventist Community Services personnel and volunteers are prepared to mobilize to the affected area once the situation stabilizes and state officials authorize entrance.
Southwest Region Conference ACS Activities
- Distribution Center: The World Harvest Church in Houston, Texas, is an 1,800-member church led by Pastor Keith Goodman, which is open as an a ACS distribution center. Approximately 120 volunteers have been assisting with setting up the center, and student volunteers from Southwestern Adventist University and Oakwood University, along with many other volunteers, will be assisting with this continuing effort.
- Lone Star Camp: Approximately 160 people are currently sheltered at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Texas, which is operated by the Southwest Region Conference. The Texas Adventist Book Center in Keene, Texas, has committed to providing food and resources as needed.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Call the Southwest Region Adventist Community Services Department at 469.987.53661 to determine current needs and opportunities. Visit www.MySouthwestRegion.org for the latest updates.
Texas Conference ACS Activities
- Mobile Distribution Unit: Texas Adventist Community Services’ Mobile Distribution Unit (MDU) was dispatched to San Antonio on Tuesday, August 29, where volunteers distributed care items to survivors in shelters. The MDU then made its way south to Rockport, Texas, and is currently in Victoria, Texas.
- Donations Center: Volunteers at the Texas ACS donations center in Keene, Texas, are actively preparing cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, complete clothing outfits, and other donations.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Email the Texas Adventist Community Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine current needs and opportunities. Visit www.TexasAdventist.org for the latest updates.
Southwestern Adventist University Response
- Disaster Relief Kits: Southwestern Adventist University is partnering with Adventist Community Services to raise funds and assemble disaster relief kits. Monetary donations are most needed to fund this project. SWAU is fundraising with a goal of $10,000 for the kits.
- Distribution Center: Students and faculty are volunteering at the Keene, Texas, distribution center. On August 30, more than 50 students and faculty helped load an ACS semi-truck headed for the Houston area with supplies. They, along with other volunteers, will continue to assist with sorting and packing donations.
- The Oaks Adventist Christian School Cleanup: A group of students and faculty is traveling to The Oaks Adventist Christian School on September 2 to help begin repairs. The school sustained damage due to flooding. James Friesen is a principal at The Oaks and is leading the organization from there.
- Sock and Underwear Drive: The Southwestern Enactus team has partnered with a local charity to provide supplies for displaced families relocating near the university. The Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church choir is helping to collect donations, and boxes for collections are being placed in the community.
Who To Contact
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