The homes of three families from Berean Baptist Church, Humble, Texas, are under water and another has suffered extensive damage in the midst of Hurricane Harvey. Pastor Albert Armitage reports that three families evacuated their homes and are staying with other church members or their family members. Another family has reported damage to their roof, floor, and plumbing.
The Howard family, who had to evacuate Sunday morning, received 22 inches of rain inside their home. In conversation with the family, Pastor Armitage’s wife, Patricia, learned that the bayou near their home has drained. They are back into their house and starting the cleanup.
Armitage, who has not been able to check on his church, says the rainfall total at his house is 29 inches. On Tuesday, rain continued to fall, and the flooded Spring Creek behind the Armitage property was encroaching upon his home. Early in the day, Armitage reported, “The water level is getting very close to our home. It looks like it is about 100 yards away.” Later on Tuesday, he called the Regular Baptist Ministries Resource Center to say that the river that had been rising behind his home had just crested and that it would either remain at that level or start going down. “My wife and I had been packing in case we had to move out, and now we no longer have to. That’s a praise,” he said.
Unfortunately, for the church families who had to be evacuated, it might be two weeks before they are able to get back in their homes. “For one of the families who lost their home, we do not have an estimate on when they can return,” Armitage says. He and his wife spoke by phone to the displaced families. “They are in tears, but they are okay. One did not know their house was under water until we called.”
Patricia Armitage spoke to Julie Hawk, wife of Pastor Gerald Hawk of Good News Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, on Monday, and she said the family is okay. Photos posted on the Hawks’ Facebook page show the family taking shelter while a tornado came through Katy over the weekend. Another photo shows that floodwaters had reached the front steps but did not come in the house.
At the moment, Pastor Armitage says he and Patricia feel a sense of relief since the surge seems to have passed. “Right now we just have to sit and wait until the waters recede on the roads so we can go check out the church. Everybody is in same situation with floodwater all around us. We’re supposed to stay put,” he says.
Since the Armitages moved to Humble in November 1996, Harvey is the fourth major storm they have experienced. “All of those are small compared both in duration and the amount of water,” Armitage says. He notes a Washington Post article explaining that the nine trillion gallons of water the area had received as of Sunday morning is like the Mississippi River pouring into the city of Houston for nine days straight. “And we have had 20 trillion gallons so far.”
Realizing that the effects of the disaster won’t be cleaned up anytime soon, Armitage is thinking about how churches might find help. “Where are crews going to get building materials? Those are going to be in heavy demand.”
Regular Baptist Builders Club is assisting Regular Baptist churches in ministering to their communities during Hurricane Harvey. Due to the catastrophic nature of this storm and the thousands of lives that have been affected, the Regular Baptist Builders Club is mobilizing resources to help these church members recover from the disaster. If your church would like to partner with us in this effort, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or donate to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief (select from pull down menu.) Excess funds, if any, will be used to help in disaster relief for churches and church families in similar situations.