While I was still in seminary I, along with other seminarians from the US Orthodox seminaries, was able to participate in a rebuilding effort in New Orleans with the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). It was an incredible time, and I learned an awful lot about drywall from the Habitat For Humanity guys. Leading our group was Dan Christopulos, the US representative for the IOCC, and he told us all about the great work the IOCC does around the world, and their US-based emergency response group called Frontline. These folks are incredible, going into disaster areas and providing emotional and spiritual support as well as helping with muck out / clean up. I wanted to join up but wasn’t able to get in until 2015. So far I’ve only represented IOCC here in WV during the floods of 2016, and even then it was 10 or 12 days after the actually event.
Well, IOCC has been called on once again to assist down in Houston, and we’re assembling a large Alpha team to work alongside a Presbyterian response crew. We’re all meeting up in Dallas tomorrow afternoon and driving down to Houston together. It’s a mixture of excitement and nervousness; I’ve never done anything quite like this before so I don’t know how to plan. I’m trying to pack for all contingencies, also bring some of my own PPE and work clothes in case I need to go do some labor. I also tried to think about what would be helpful to me, as a dad, if I were to be in such a tough situation, so I’ve thrown a ton of comics and cartoons (Thanks, Plex!) onto my Surface tablet just in case. From there I guess we’ll just sort it out and see what happens.
I learned a phrase back as a teenager participating in a young men’s retreat which is Don’t anticipate, just participate. There isn’t a more appropriate adage for a mission like this. Pray for the people down there, pray for our team, and I especially covet your prayers for me. if you feel inclined to support, you can donate to the cause of this wonderful organization or you can take action locally to help (building emergency kits, clean up buckets, etc).
Below is a little fade comparison of Buffalo Bayou pre and post flooding.