No, thankfully, my house didn’t flood. The waters that threatened our home and Mercy House receded and other than receiving 34 inches of rain in 48 hours, the sun is shining again.
It’s the question that has made me tired. The one I can’t stop asking. The one that has kept me up late and gotten me out of bed early. It’s the question that has me wearing rubber boots to scrape mud out of someone’s house, delivering meals, collecting gift cards.
It’s the question that has been on the lips of every person I know here in Houston and in every email, text and phone message that have flooded my inboxes—What can I do today? How can I help? Who can I serve?
It’s the reason people are giving money, donating diapers, loaning boats, mailing gift cards, showing up. It’s the reason hundreds of people have stood in line for hours in the rain waiting to volunteer at Houston’s largest shelter. It’s the reason race, religion, nationality and politics aren’t a part of the conversation down here–we are all neighbors. It’s the reason it’s been difficult to find a place to serve in the city because the city has been inundated with help. The entire country has paused and has their eyes on Texas and they are asking What can we do?
It’s stunning. It’s beautiful. And to Texans, it’s not at all surprising. We take care of each other.
We are making meals for people we don’t know; watching one another’s children; grabbing each other hard-to-find groceries; raising and giving money; collecting needed items; cooking meals and delivering them; showing up at stranger’s flooded homes and hauling trash.
We are showing up. We are asking what can I do today? And even more, we are doing it.
And while all eyes have been on Texas, there have been other disastrous floods in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan where more than 14oo have been killed and 40 million affected with 18,000 schools destroyed in southeast Asia, yet the news coverage has been minimal.
It doesn’t diminish the catastrophe or lessen the beautiful response in my state to ask who is showing up for them? It just means we don’t have to wait for disaster to hit close to home to ask the question.
We are meant to ask it every single day. What can I do today (to help someone in need)?
I have seen the world’s normal and looked into the faces of hopelessness and I can tell you there is alway someone in need. There is always a chance to respond. In many cases, supplies will never arrive. Some governments won’t provide aid, the body of Christ is the world’s disaster relief plan.
We have to ask ourselves if this desperate desire to do something will fade as soon as the water dries up. I believe that this feeling–this question–should be a part of who we are, what we do. This overwhelming feeling to get involved, to give or send something–it’s called compassion and it’s very good. But it’s tempting to let our well of compassion dry up like flood waters. The problem is we are meant to feel it and show it every day in a million little ways.
If anything, I hope the chaos and the heartbreak here makes us more aware and concerned for the daily suffering in the rest of the world.
So, what do we do today? Here are a few practical ways you can help people around the globe needing compassion today:
- Send gift cards to those affected by Harvey. It’s the number one request we are hearing from evacuees. Address below.
- Host a drive and send physical donations to our friends at First Baptist Houston
- Shop the Mercy House Flash Sale on Labor Day. Every business and non-profit in Texas is feeling the affect of the storm and this is a simple way to help us move product.
- Or even better, book a fair trade home or event party. Locals aren’t shopping for obvious reasons and we’d like to ship as many boxes of product as we can out of our area and have you sell it for us. Women directly impacted by floods in Nepal and Bangladesh will be impacted. To sweeten the deal, everyone who signs up this week will get a free gift and if you’re party sells $300 or more (pretty easy to do), you will get a FREE Joyn bag!
- Get your kids involved in this movement of compassion…let them have bake sales and diaper drives. We desperately need the next generation to care about the needs of others. Ask yourself, What can I do today? Pray for people around the world suffering and jump to help someone today.