Volunteer Teams Sought for Recovery Work in Houston

HOUSTON, TX (October 4, 2017) – Merge is organizing trips for Covenant churches that want to help with the massive recovery efforts in Houston.

“There is a lot of work to do,” said Dale Lusk, international director of global engagements. “Our new phase will be rebuilding and has already begun. Join us as soon as possible.”

Covenanters who already have traveled to Houston working with Merge say they have been grateful for the opportunity to help. “It has been exhausting but very satisfying work alongside an amazing number of folks who have come from Covenant churches,” said Covenant minister Dick Nystrom of Portland, Oregon.

Volunteers may sign up through Merge and Serve Globally. There is a registration fee of $10 per person for people volunteering for three days or less, or $25 per person if they are going for longer than three days.

Volunteers will stay at Ashford Community Church (2100 Eldridge Pkwy., Houston) where cots and air mattresses, pillow and showers, will be provided. Volunteers need to bring their own bedding and towels. They will be asked to make a donation to cover food, water, housing, and Merge staff expenses. Funds raised by Love Mercy Do Justice are being utilized for reconstruction purposes and are not available to cover teams.

If a team includes skilled workers, they will supervise the non-skilled workers in the reconstruction. “If teams do not have any skilled workers, we currently have funds available to hire local skilled workers to oversee the team’s efforts,” Lusk said.

Volunteers need to provide their own ground transportation either by driving to Houston or by renting vehicles when they arrive. It is necessary to transport tools from the housing site to the work site, so it is helpful to have vehicles large enough to transport construction materials.

Merge also is looking for people with disaster relief experience in caring for those who have experienced trauma. Merge provides disaster relief sensitivity training for all volunteers.

Although it’s not required, Merge asks teams to raise money to help purchase supplies and materials needed for the work they will do. If teams send the funds in advance, Merge will attempt to purchase project materials before volunteers arrive.

Covenant churches in Houston determine work sites for teams based on the greatest need at the time. Merge facilitator Jeff Sharp lives in Houston and will coordinate the process.

Lusk asks teams to recognize that the details of their location assignments may be uncertain. “Everything changes rapidly in a disaster recovery situation,” he said. “The process of homes being rebuilt depends on numerous factors. We can assign teams to a rebuilding site no more than a week in advance, so we ask that teams be flexible.”

Love Mercy Do Justice and the Midsouth Conference are overseeing the distribution of funds raised for disaster relief. Local Covenant churches are designating where those funds are sent.

Merge is a ministry of Global Engagements of Serve Globally of the ECC and has organized team trips around the world for Covenant churches for 25 years.

Covenanters interested in helping can call Lusk at (956) 458-9568 or email him.

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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