Hope reigns in Rowlett and Garland DR
January 6th, 2016 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
ROWLETT—SBTC Disaster Relief response to the devastation left by 12 tornadoes that touched down Dec. 26 across North Texas has been swift and effective. Volunteers deployed to Ovilla, Farmersville, and Copeville and continue to minister in Rowlett and Garland, where DR assessor Debby Nichols of Texarkana met Don, a man whose house was destroyed.
“He was 75 or 80 years old, wearing a cowboy hat,” Nichols told the TEXAN. “We asked him if he was all right.”
“Yes, ma’am, I am,” Don replied. “I am too blessed to be stressed. I am healthy. I woke up this morning. God is good.”
“All the time,” Nichols responded.
“Yes, God is good all the time,” Don affirmed, gesturing to his ruined home and devastated neighborhood. “God said in the Bible that he was going to prepare for me a place in heaven. He was making me my very own mansion. My mansion will never look like this. I am ready to go there now.”
“The man had lost his house,” Nichols said. “And he was so full of hope. His needs were beyond our capability to help. We prayed with him, but he encouraged us.”
Later, Nichols and fellow assessors pulled into a Rowlett neighborhood, spotting a home with minor damage in front. Family members were salvaging what they could from house and yard.
“Do you need a tarp for the roof?” Nichols asked the homeowner who introduced himself as Jimmy and seemed astonished by the request. Jimmy asked if they had seen the back of his house and invited them to go around to do so, Nichols said. “There was no back of the house. It was gone. No walls. No roof.”
As the DR workers apologized, Jimmy reassured them, “That’s O.K. This is not a problem. Let me tell you my story.”
Jimmy explained that this wife had died three years ago from cancer. He had been diagnosed with cancer in October and had a kidney removed. Despite such challenges, Jimmy said, “This has been a great year.” Two granddaughters had trusted Christ, he explained, recalling that on Christmas day, he had been surrounded by family, feeling better and feeling blessed.
“Then the next day, all of this happened,” Jimmy continued. “People keep asking me, how are you going on? How are you making it? This is not hard. I am not sad about this. This is just stuff. It’s hard to lose family. It’s hard to be sick. But this is just stuff. I’m not sad about this. We are fine.”
Jimmy then asked a young grandson to pray for the DR workers. “Jimmy blessed us. Even in the midst of devastation, we saw hope,” Nichols recalled. “I never saw discouragement. The people here are so positive and full of hope.”
Encounters in the face of tragedy have often been good humored.
DR volunteer Glenda Watson recalled helping one Rowlett family whose mother was overjoyed that her china cabinet and prized Franciscan Desert Rose china survived. Her children hated the dishes, the woman explained with a smile as she hauled two red wagonloads of dishes from out of the rubble.
“Her house was gone, but she was happy to still have her dishes,” Watson said.
“We are all heartbroken with the loss of life and the destruction of homes in North Texas because of the December 26 tornados. We praise God for the ministry of our SBTC Disaster Relief volunteers in the wake of these deadly storms. We pray that God will continue to meet the needs of the victims,” said Scottie Stice, SBTC director of disaster relief.
Natural disasters are no respecters of human timetables. Even as volunteers continue to serve in Texas, an SBTC laundry unit from Kountze and volunteers have deployed to Missouri in response to flooding there.