Hurricane Ike, a terribly dangerous hurricane, is rapidly approaching the coast of Texas. It is expected to make landfall just south of Galveston a little after midnight tonight as a Category 2, quite possibly 3, hurricane. This hurricane is so hugh that it is affecting 400 miles of Texas coastline as well as much of southwest Louisiana. An estimated one million people have evacuated the coastal areas of Texas and many more need to leave their homes and seek refuge inland. The hurricane is expected to affect as many as 13 million people as it hits the coast and moves into and across Texas and points northeast.
The community in which my family and I live, Bryan, is located 90 miles northwest of Houston. This places us approximately 150 miles northwest of Galveston. Ike will pass just to the east of us as he moves in a northly direction though the state. We expect to begin receiving rain and increasing winds as the evening progresses. Winds may reach as high as 74 miles per hour in our area by early Saturday morning.
Our community already has over 3,500 evacuees in our church and school shelters and local hotels and motels. Several schools are opening now to take in local residents who live in manufactured homes or homes that are considered unsafe.
The church which my family and I are members of is serving as a Red Cross shelter for the second time in two weeks (last week for Gustav). Two hundred evacuees are staying in our multi-use room. One wheelchair-bound lady is 98 years old!
My teenage daughters and I spent about four hours at the church this afternoon visiting with the folks who are there. I was so proud of my girls as they played with the children, sitting on the floor playing cards and taking kids outside to play in the church’s playground areas. It was such a joy to see my girls playing with, hugging and loving the kids. My prayer was that the Lord would use this experience to mature my believing daughters and give them a deeper love for Him, a growing compassion for people (especially “the least of these” ) and an increasing burden for what is important in life – loving and serving God by loving and serving others.
Please pray for those who have evacuated, those who have chosen to ride the storm out and all of those who are serving the victims of the storm – for safety, strength and protection.
May the LORD use this natural disaster to bring glory to His Name.
To learn more about and follow the storm, check out the Weather Channel and our local television channel’s coverage of the storm’s impact on our community.