By Jessica Davila-Burnett ’05 BA, ’06 MAA, JDB Public Relations
On Friday, Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey made landfall, bringing dangerously high winds and severe flooding to the Texas Coast and Houston area. Harvey destroyed or seriously damaged several cities and towns. When I heard Harvey was coming, I prayed, “God, be with Texas, and use me how you see fit to help those in need after the storm.” God responded.
As a consultant, I was sent to Port Aransas and Port Arthur to assist a Texas-based company with their disaster relief efforts. Utilizing their food trucks, we provided almost 15,000 tacos for first responders, residents and volunteers throughout the Coastal Bend and Port Arthur.
In preparation for the task, I asked God to prepare my spirit as I knew I would be serving and meeting with residents who lost their homes, cars, keepsakes, places of worship, restaurants, schools – everything!
As I drove through Mustang Island and Port Aransas just four days after the storm hit, my heart shattered as I saw the devastation first-hand. It was worse than I imagined. I met with hundreds of people impacted by the storm. I expected to see lots of tears and broken spirits; instead, I witnessed the complete opposite.
Almost every person I spoke with had this supernatural spirit of resiliency. They were quoting scripture. “For nothing will be impossible with God”(Luke 1:37). It was their mantra, their motto, it was the glue that kept them together.
The same people that lost all their earthly possessions, mustered up this incredible strength and faith, and declared ‘The Word of God’ over this disaster.
I was surprised by their positive outlook. Not one of them felt defeated. Tired? Yes. Overwhelmed? Yes. Defeated? No! They praised God that their loved ones were safe, and they were so appreciative of the support from the first responders, volunteers and the corporate citizens that stepped forward to help. Every “thank you” they gave us ended with a “God bless you all.” My testimony: God is our first responder, and He provided that supernatural experience that only He can.
My fellow Cardinals and University of the Incarnate Word community, thank you for praying over the people of Texas impacted by the storm. Thank you for praying for those offering disaster relief and aid to the victims of Harvey. We felt your prayers. I witnessed your prayers in action.