When Hurricane Katrina threatened the Gulf Coast, hundreds of evacuees made their way to Little Rock. The city and FEMA found a residence for many of them at Parris Towers, formerly a retirement home where a limited fire last summer revealed the ineptitude of its management. Shut down by the state, repaired and refurbished – but not refurnished – it was a temporary solution.
Calls for help went out. The people of my church committed to furnishing 40 of the apartments. But the generosity did not stop there. New and good used furniture and appliances and consumable necessities flowed in to take care of more than 80 apartments. Still the giving did not stop.
As of last week, 135 apartments and homes had been furnished and supplied by the family of Christ at my home church. And last Sunday night, many of the folks who have taken up residence at Parris Towers were invited to church and attended, brought in cars from downtown by our members.
Midway through this week, one of them asked our involvement minister if they could come back. Within an hour, we sent 200 flyers to Parris Towers promising an available church van to bring them to 10:30 services and back home.
The people of Parris Towers are the mission field that came to us. The local media took note of our response. No one prayed aloud on a street corner to attract attention to it; no one sent out a press release about it. (Given the humility of my church family, I don’t think they’d have let me if I had suggested it.)
They just opened their hearts and arms and wallets.
Thank you, God, for the openness; the generosity of my city and my church to the people displaced by ravages of nature. Thank you for the opportunity You sent and the empowerment to serve those good people – and You – through it. Now, as we’re called upon to help again with the needs of people moving from hotels to apartments, open our eyes and hearts even wider to the opportunities You provide to live sacrificial lives like our Savior, Your Son.