Six hurricanes; Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Maria, and Franklin, devastated the globe in August and September. According to Business Insider, that Mexico is still suffering damage and loss of power due to Katia and Franklin. Hurricane Harvey took 82 lives in Texas and left thousands homeless. Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and Bahamas, killing 61 and leaving thousands unemployed. Jose followed Irma closely to Georgia and Massachusetts, but never made landfall.
Hurricane Maria still lingers over Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. Puerto Rico’s electrical grid has been destroyed, plunging the island into darkness. Over half of the island lacks clean water, and 25 are confirmed dead.
In response to the destruction, people from across the globe are stepping up to assist those in need.
Dr. Andrew Baker, professor of Bible and director for the Mitchell Center, is waiting on the next call from the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. When duty calls, the Mitchell Center will send students and community members into the areas in need.
“I wish everyone knew that they could do something,” Baker said. “You can pray and send your support; and if you cannot go you can support someone else who is.”
The Mitchell Center will respond to disasters within driving distance from the school. Baker said the Mitchell Center provides feasible opportunities for students to be the servants God has called them to be in real world situations.
“The students’ service to those in need shows what is right with humanity, what is right with people,” Baker said. “That’s what makes Harding students so special: they have a willingness to do whatever they can.”
Students and faculty have also taken initiative to support the victims of these hurricanes in other ways. Members from men’s social club Delta Chi Delta had a “Change War” between social clubs to raise money.
“I was moved during chapel when Dr. McLarty had prayed for the students affected by the hurricane,” senior Bradley Marques, service project director of Delta Chi Delta said. “With the help of the student body, we raised a total of $270 for the Hurricane Harvey relief.”
A group of students also returned this past week from a mission trip to Houston, Texas. Lucretia Davis, Aramark employee, is a member of the Arkansas National Guard and was called to serve in the wake of Hurricane Harvey where she was able to help rebuild the lives of those in Houston after the flood.
College Church of Christ is organizing further efforts to send their members into these areas. Christopher Adams, director of College Church Disaster Relief Ministry, has been coordinating and placing volunteers in the Houston area.
“Serving is a real application of when scripture tells us what good is it if you see someone in need and tell them that you will pray for them and go and be well but do not pray. You must take action,” Adams said. “Anybody can do this work. I had an 80-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman on the last trip. If you can sweep with a broom, pray with a traumatized homeowner or hand out sandwiches you can go on a disaster relief trip.”
The church is on their third of an expected 20 trips to Houston between now and Thanksgiving. Team members are wrapping up the first phase of construction: gutting houses. The next phase will consist of replacing the dry wall on the homes they have been assigned to by the church.
College church will be working with the Westgate Church of Christ in Beaumont, Texas to assist those in the Houston area. College Church of Christ will need volunteers in the coming weeks during their trips to Houston. Visit the Mitchell Center for more information. The Mitchell Center is located in McInteer 168