Franklin Graham and Vice President Mike Pence Help in Texas After Hurricane Harvey

August 31, 2017 • United States

Graham, Pence, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott went to our work site in Rockport. A Day of Prayer for Texas has been declared for Sunday, Sept. 3.

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Update: New video posted above on 9/7.

Franklin Graham traveled to Rockport, Texas, today to view firsthand the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen, and Governor Greg Abbott accompanied Graham to one of our work sites to help Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers as they assist homeowners in need.

Vice President Mike Pence greets Samaritan's Purse volunteers in Texas.

Vice President Mike Pence greets Samaritan’s Purse volunteers in Texas.

The Vice President, his wife, Governor Abbott, and Graham prayed at First Baptist in Rockport earlier in the day. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry—a former Texas governor—and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao were also present.

“After difficult days, the President sent us here,” Pence said, “to say the American people are with you. We will be here every day until this region rebuilds bigger and better than ever before.”

Governor Abbott declared Sunday, September 3, to be a day of prayer for Texas.

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The need for volunteers to help Texas recover is great. “We need Christian men and women willing to come to south Texas to help us,” Graham said. “There’s so much need down here. We’ve got two locations up and we’ll have three more by the end of next week. We’ll be able to receive 1,000 volunteers a day.”

Such an Encouragement

Governor Abbott and Vice President Pence rolled up their sleeves and joined our volunteers working at Joanna’s home. Joanna is the mother of Toni Naro, who has been volunteering with our U.S. Disaster Relief project for three years. Naro, a resident of Jacksonville, North Carolina, was very surprised and encouraged by the visit.

Toni Naro is hard at work with Samaritan's Purse in Texas. We're helping her mom recover after her home was damaged in the storm.

Toni Naro is hard at work with Samaritan’s Purse in Texas. We’re helping her mom recover after her home was damaged in the storm.

Naro has deployed with us on about a dozen responses and was eager to help in Texas. “When I’ve gone out to help other people I could always see the Holy Spirit at work,” she said. “Their faith has been changed forever. They see us and they know Jesus is with them. It means everything in those desperate moments.

“Today, the volunteers did that for my mom. She’s a Christian woman but this took the wind out of her. This was such an encouragement to her faith. I believe she’ll be closer to the Lord than ever before.”

Naro’s mom’s home had major damage to the roof, downed trees in her yard, and a flooded out interior.

Graham told Naro that he was thankful for her volunteer service and that we need more like her. “Tell your friends,” he told her. He also said that we’re standing with her mom and her neighbors “for the long haul.”

Multiple Relief Locations in Texas

Rockport took the initial blow when Hurricane Harvey roared ashore August 25 as a Category 4 storm with 130-mph winds. One of our disaster relief units—a tractor trailer stocked with equipment and supplies—arrived on Monday. Our volunteer teams started work on Wednesday, fanning out from our host church, First Baptist in Portland.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott assists in cleanup at one of our Samaritan's Purse work sites.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott assists in cleanup at one of our Samaritan’s Purse work sites near Rockport today.

Samaritan’s Purse has another site operating in Victoria, Texas, as well. Volunteers there have been hard at work in Jesus’ Name since Tuesday. More than 250 families have contacted us for assistance. We praise God that 18 individuals have made decisions for Christ. Our host church in Victoria is Faith Family Church.

In total, five disaster relief units will be deployed to Texas. Two are en route, with another to follow soon. A third base of operations will be opened in Santa Fe/Galveston and two more in Houston. We plan to enter the hardest hit areas just as soon as the proper authorities have given permission to do so.

UPDATE as of Sept 2: We will have the five disaster relief units in place and volunteers out serving at all five work sites on Monday, Sept. 4. The fourth site will be within Houston city limits and the fifth will be in Pearland, just south of Houston.

As with every Samaritan’s Purse deployment, crisis-trained Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are coming alongside our teams to provide spiritual and emotional care to distressed homeowners and others throughout each respective community.

Harvey Takes a Terrible Toll

Though the rains have stopped and the floodwaters are very slowly receding, the situation in Texas remains dangerous.

Areas around Rockport, Texas, were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Areas around Rockport, Texas, were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey is the strongest storm to make U.S. landfall in over a decade. Some parts of Texas received more than 51 inches of rain between Friday and Tuesday, the highest rainfall total ever for a tropical cyclone in the continental United States.

Much of Houston and surrounding areas remain under water due to catastrophic flooding. Beaumont and Port Arthur, about 100 miles east of downtown Houston, experienced torrential rain and flooding as Harvey, still a tropical storm at the time, made a second landfall yesterday.

Reports indicate 100,000 Texas homes have been affected by this storm. Over 42,000 people are staying in shelters right now.

In addition to the 12,000-member Texas National Guard, the U.S. Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard have been called in to assist with the deadly event. Many thousands of rescues have been undertaken. More than three dozen deaths have been reported so far.

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Hurricane Relief Samaritan's Purse responds to the urgent needs of families devastated by the wind, rain, and storm surge of catastrophic hurricanes. Whether in the United States or abroad, we come alongside hurting people to bring emergency relief and practical help in the Name of Jesus Christ.

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