Seminarian Roger Hungerford reports on Bastrop recovery project
On Saturday, members of Southwest's Episcopal Peace Fellowship and I joined with a team from St Julian of Norwich to go help with the recovery efforts in Bastrop. We worked on the home of the Clemmons family. They had only lived in their home a few months when the wild fires ravaged the area. They had less than 20 minutes notice to evacuate. They lost all their family photos, mementos and important records with all of their other belongings. What they gathered as a family history and source of memories is all gone. Think about that as you look around your place. They are truly starting over.
To get to their place we passed numerous slabs, a few still had the remainder of ash on them. Right around 1600 homes were destroyed and only 220 have been applied for permits to rebuild.
Our group exercised some hammer and screwdriver theology to help them out. (This is a branch of practical theology that involves copious amounts of sweat and Gatorade and a little blood) We worked on the back deck, put in a drainage pipe, put up fencing, and moved cut up trees from the back of the house to the brush pile. We were sore, tired and grimy by the end of the day. And we were blessed, joy filled and thankful too. We lived out James 2:14-22. From that passage I especially like verse 22 "You see that faith was active along with (Abraham's) works, and faith was brought to completion by the works." We did a little "Diagonal Advance" as described in Tony Baker's book.
The Clemmons said that despite all of their losses, they have received blessing upon blessing from friends, neighbors and strangers helping them rebuild. They were a wonderful couple who shared many stories from their lives. They guided our efforts and worked along side us when we put up the fence and pointed out the pine sprouts that have come up since the fire. They have a number of trees ringed with stones to protect them so they will grow up and replace the trees that were lost. The family is inspirational.
We worked through an organization called Adopt a Family. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer.