Texans Move Back Home After Hurricane Harvey

February 23, 2018 • United States
Pearl and Carlos Escamilla recently moved back into their home thanks to help from Samaritan's Purse volunteers.

Samaritan's Purse is helping families get back into their homes just six months after that monster storm rocked the Lone Star State.

Pearl and Carlos moved back home six months after Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast.

In one night everything was gone. Personal belongings that held nearly 50 years’ worth of tender family memories floated in three feet of water.

“I was so certain there was no hope,” said Pearl Escamilla, whose Houston neighborhood was trapped in Hurricane Harvey’s terrorizing path across southeastern Texas.

Pearl and her husband Carlos fled the floodwaters late one night last August. They returned a few days later, after the water had finally receded, and Pearl was distraught to see her childhood home in total disarray.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers have been doing major repair work on the Escamilla’s house for the past few months. We painted, replaced sheetrock and insulation, repaired siding, and installed new floors and kitchen cabinets.

Their new home was dedicated on Friday, Feb. 16, about six months after Hurricane Harvey made its first landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Aug. 25, 2017.

Volunteers came from across the country to help rebuild homes for hurricane victims.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we’re so grateful,” Pearl said. “I’m overwhelmed and so appreciate this blessing.”

During the next few years, Samaritan’s Purse will be helping to bring home 1,000 families in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

We are rebuilding and repairing homes for those who are unable to do the work on their own, such as widows, the elderly, and the uninsured.

We’re also providing building materials and manufactured home replacements and assisting damaged churches that need to rebuild.

An Answered Prayer

Samaritan’s Purse is rebuilding in areas such as Brazoria County, where John Swango has called home for more than 40 years. His house sustained major damage during the catastrophic Category 4 storm.

Volunteers wrote encouraging words and prayers on this sign made by John and his wife.

Every day after work John labored on house repairs until nearly midnight, yet he still “couldn’t see an end” and his despair deepened with every passing day. “I prayed every day,” he said. “I prayed, ‘Lord, help me get our house back together.'”

That prayer was answered when a phone call came from Samaritan’s Purse-help was on the way. Our volunteers painted, replaced floors and windows, and installed new appliances.

“I could feel the pressure lifted off my shoulders,” John said, struggling to squeeze out words among his tears. “I’m so humbled. God has blessed us beyond what we deserve.”

“I could feel the pressure lifted off my shoulders.”

John serves as Operation Christmas Child project leader at Grace Baptist, a congregation of about 30 that has packed more than 16,000 shoebox gifts over the past four years. The loss and frustration John experienced as a result of Hurricane Harvey hasn’t weakened his resolve to serve God.

“I’ve learned a lot about loving and caring for people during this hurricane,” he said. “I want to serve Him even more.”

Serving for God’s Glory

Shirley Shifflett is one of thousands of volunteers from across the country who have come to the aid of hurting hurricane victims in Texas. Shirley, 69, recently served in a Houston neighborhood where we’re doing major repair work on several homes.

Come Volunteer in Texas!

Shirley has volunteered on more than 25 Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief and rebuild deployments, her first in 2012 when we rebuilt homes for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“I retired in order to be able to volunteer on short notice,” she said. “I asked myself, ‘Do I need more money or do I need more time?’ I wanted more time to serve.”

Shirley said she volunteers in Jesus’ Name and for God’s glory. “I’m happiest when I’m on deployment. God put it in my heart to serve.”

Wonderfully Blessed

Ann Lamont is another homeowner being helped by Samaritan’s Purse. The water in her home was up to her waist when she evacuated about 2 a.m. last August.

Ann and several of her neighbors were rescued by the fire department and brought to a nearby church, where they stayed for several days until floodwaters receded.

Volunteers install cabinets in Ann’s house.

Ann is 70 years old and has lived in her Houston home for 44 years. The hurricane destroyed nearly everything she owned.

“Everything had to come out of my house,” she said. “It’s like building from the ground up.”

Ann couldn’t believe that Samaritan’s Purse would do major home repairs at no cost to her. Our volunteers worked hard installing new windows, carpet, floors, and cabinets. We replaced the kitchen appliances, hot water heater, furnace, and bathroom fixtures. We also repaired the roof.

“Harvey came through and rearranged everything in my life,” she said. “But I could hear the voice of Jesus saying that better days are coming.”

Ann was overwhelmed with gratitude to Samaritan’s Purse for helping in her time of desperate need.

“I have been truly, wonderfully blessed,” she said. “I’m grateful and thankful. God has given me a brand-new house.”

Volunteers and staff pray for the Escamilla family during the dedication.

Volunteers and staff pray for the Escamilla family during the dedication. Please continue praying for Texas families affected by Hurricane Harvey.

U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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