By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ORANGE, Texas – A Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer recently was reminded how ministering on the field can lead to changed lives for Christ.
Sharon Luke and her husband, Charles, were assessing a house damaged by Hurricane Harvey when they encountered a homeowner named Angel, whose home in Orange, Texas, took in nearly five feet of water. Not knowing what the future held, Angel was comforted by Sharon Luke’s invitation to receive hope in the person of Jesus Christ – and she accepted.
“There was a peace I felt came over her,” Sharon Luke, a member of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, said. “It was a great joy to be able to bring the reminder of the peace Christ can give us and the hope He offers. When I returned to the command center, I told everyone this made all we worked on worth it.”
The Lukes were in the Texas communities of Vidor and Orange, Sept. 11-14. While there, they shared Christ’s love at each of the 10 homes and one church they assessed.
At each site, they prayed with the homeowner and handed out a New Testament Bible, an experience Sharon Luke described as humbling – and much needed for those impacted by Harvey.
Because of these efforts, she said many are having the chance to hear the Gospel and turn to Christ after the storm.
“These people are in shock,” she said. “To be able to pray with them and help them go beyond the heartache brought them comfort and peace.”
In addition to surveying homes, the Lukes assessed Rose City Baptist Church in Vidor, which took in several feet of water a year after the church had already experienced disaster.
Just days before Harvey made landfall, the church had just finished rebuilding its worship center, which was destroyed by a fire in August 2016. Although Harvey washed away what had been rebuilt, and, the natural disaster left its many of its members homeless, the congregation is committed to helping their community move forward, according to the Lukes.
“These people told me their rescue stories and it just breaks your heart for them,” Sharon Luke said. “They’re loving, caring people — who are doing what they can to help their neighbors despite having hardships themselves.”
The mission trip to Vidor is over, but Sharon Luke expects to help whenever the Holy Spirit spurs her to take another disaster relief trip.
“The needs of the hurricane-affected population are great,” she said. “These families have experienced losses that we, who are on this side of this tragedy, cannot even imagine. We are unable to do everything necessary to get beyond the hurricane, but each of us can do something. I ask that you pray the Lord will reveal to you ‘your something.’”