As Major Jamie Pennington travels from neighborhood to neighborhood throughout the city of Houston and its suburbs, he knows his mission is about more than delivering food and fresh water. Major Pennington traveled from The Salvation Army’s New Albany Corps to the Gulf Coast as part of a specially trained EDS (Emergency Disaster Services) team that offers Emotional & Spiritual Care to victims in times of crisis and disaster. Since arriving several days ago, he has taken to Facebook to share the stories, hopes, and prayers of the people he is helping every day in Texas. Here are just a few of his reflections, giving us a glimpse down the long road to recovery that Texans now face.
September 1: “When your whole house sits on the curb. Pray for Ed who two months ago lost his wife.”
September 2: “A few stories: We were walking a neighborhood and I mentioned to Jennifer that we were checking on her. She says, ‘You aren’t the people going around and praying for people are you?’ We said yes. She almost cried and said, ‘I was just thinking this morning I wish my church would come pray for me.’ I said, ‘We are here.’ She gathered her family and her neighbors and about 10 of us stand in the midst of rubble and we pray. Better days are coming Houston.”
September 2: “So we were doing some Emotional and Spiritual Care this afternoon in Dickinson and I asked a man what his coping mechanism is. Without hesitation he responds, ‘It’s Jesus.’ That will preach.”
September 3: “Praying through the neighborhood. Brenda says, ‘No one else is doing what you all are doing. If I want prayer I have to go to my church. You all come to me.'”
September 3: “Say a prayer for Lilly, who had a cry on my shoulder for about three minutes. Today is her first day back to her home, which had seven feet of water in it. First shoulder she has taken the time to cry on. A prayer and a smile when I gave her some chocolate.”
September 3: “Pray for Gloria. Lost everything. We prayed for her. She mentioned she has only had a hot meal once in four days. At that moment, Jill, a perfect stranger, pulls up and says, ‘I don’t know why, but the Lord lead me to your house with two hot pizzas.’ Gotta love God’s timing – a prevenient grace. Then Paul handed her a bible. Sobbing, she says it’s the first time she has ever had a bible. Just when she was frustrated, God speaks loud and clear.”
If you want to be part of The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana, please visit HelpSalvationArmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or text the word STORM to 51555 to make a donation. We are also working with many community partners, including Midwest Food Bank, to collect and ship needed food, hygiene products, and baby supplies to the Gulf Coast. Visit disaster.salvationarmyusa.org to learn more.