On Thursday September 8, five members of LINC Houston's staff (Edith Nino, Edward and Michelle Gil, Jair Santana and Gwen Franke) went to the Waller County Fairgrounds to assist at their emergency fire relief shelter. Several members of LifeBridge, Cypress, including Pastor Michael Meissner, also spent the day helping.
This particular shelter is a private shelter operated by the Directors of the Waller County Fair board. They shelter animals, large and small - including a 750 pound white pig - and people. Anyone who shelters their animal there is required to stay with the animal(s) and care for it themselves. We were able to talk and pray with several couples who were forced to leave their homes due to fires. One family Michelle spoke with has lost their home and has nothing except their lives (young parents and two toddlers), their truck and their dogs. Individuals at the center were all in the same position, whether they were long-term residents of 32 years or relative newcomers moving into their now threatened homes in the last few few months. With no television, radio or internet updates at the shelter, victims relied on word-of-mouth and cell phones.
As the day went on, we were able to witness the incredible blessings the community brought to the shelter. When we arrived, there were four tables with some donated clothing and a few shelves with some toiletries on them. When we left, many more tables held with clothing of all sizes, the shelves were filled with over the counter medicines, diapers, wipes, baby food and formula and lots of other great gifts. Animal feed was brought in all day, including hay. Hot meals came in courtesy of wonderfully caring community members and merchants.
Please keep everyone affected by the fires in prayer. Our own Jair Santana, also a volunteer firefighter, went straight from the shelter to the command center to work on the fire. We appreciate his tireless effort and the work of all emergency responders and shelter providers during trying times such as these.