Story - Heather Allen, Highpoint Church Orlando - as told to Holly Poole
Last weekend, The Harbor Church had the honor of hosting Highpoint Church Orlando's team of 46 volunteers that passionately gave their time and energy to assist the storm relief efforts going on here in Louisiana. I was blessed to witness their team, along with a team from Tuscaloosa, AL and many others from The Harbor Church, as we went out to serve, give, and pray in our community.
He wants you to know that at the end of the day, it's fully God that provides, that He is your provider and no one else. That is why He assembled this team of people to be His hands and feet so that you know it was Him, so that you know only God is your provider.
Kim Sandras, Tuscaloosa, AL team leader shared her personal testimony with the victims about losing all that she had in Hurricane Katrina while still knowing that God is good and He always provides. She often stated that there is a reason that God put people from Orlando or Tuscaloosa in their lives to help rather than receiving it from a friend or family member. He wants you to know that at the end of the day, it's fully God that provides, that He is your provider and no one else. That is why He assembled this team of people to be His hands and feet so that you know it was Him, so that you know only God is your provider.
We want to honors those that have served with their time, money, prayers, and resources. You have blessed this community in more ways than you know. Above all else, we want to give all of the glory to God. In everything we do, it is only to further His Kingdom with the love of Jesus Christ. Let us be assured, that the works of men are only the evidence of God's provision.
How did Highpoint Church end up here in Hammond, LA?
Heather: Our lead Pastor Keith Tower had seen some media footage on the flooding. As a church that believes in going out and being the hands and feet of Jesus, it was natural to respond. We do a lot of mission trips. We had done similar disaster relief in Ringwald, Georgia. There had not been a lot of media coverage in Georgia about the flood, but we were fortunate enough to learn about it. We made a connection with Jason Granger here in Hammond, LA where we would set up base for our missions trip. We had expected maybe 12 or so people to sign up to go, instead, we had 46 team members. It was really cool to have such a diverse group of people made up of all different demographics, with different backgrounds and levels of experience with serving. We had young children, parents, students, grandparents—it was a group of people that only God could assemble. We also received a great response from our members at Highpoint Church that were not able to join the team in the form of monetary support. Because of their giving, we were able to give away $2,000 in gift cards and $1,500 in drywall during our trip.
What were your expectations going into this mission’s trip?
The sights, sounds, and voices of the people give life to the situation in ways that photos and news reporters never could.
Heather: We didn’t know what to expect going into this mission field. We knew it was a disaster zone, but there is nothing like seeing it in real life. The devastation is so much more real when you see it in person. Walking down the street, we saw people’s possessions—essentially what made up their lives—sitting out on the side of the road. Until you see it in person, you can’t fully realize the impact that these disasters make. The sights, sounds, and voices of the people give life to the situation in ways that photos and news reporters never could.
What did you do while you were here?
Heather: While we were there, we were able to completely clean out 3 different homes: tearing out floors and walls, clearing out the debris and taking belongings to the street. We were able to bless people with gift-cards, encouragement and most importantly, prayer. It was such a blessing to be able to pay for the drywall to be put into the home of a single mother affected by the flood. We also had a team at The Healing Place distribution center in Denham Springs, LA where people were giving out blankets, food, and toiletries.
Tell me about moment that impacted you most while you were here—
Heather: While we were in Denham Springs on Monday, our team was going out and giving away gift cards. Literally, every house there was destroyed. A lot of people weren't home and it was just this eerie feeling of “where is everyone?” There was one lady sitting outside of her house standing over this plastic bin. I already knew that this was going to be a serious moment, I could just tell that something was about to happen. We walked up to her and asked if she was okay. She was weeping in front of this plastic bin. I looked down and realized it was a bin of her photos. I have heard of this happening, but seeing it—there is nothing like it. She began telling me her story, not only with the flood but everything that she had been going through even before she lost all of her belongings and now she is presently dealing with it all. As she was telling me her story, I was able to relate to her in many different way. I was able to minister to her out of that place of ‘I’ve been here,’ and that was powerful for me.
Tell me more about unity and the power of the Church—
We live in a self-serving, self-seeking world, but I saw Christians that were the opposite of those things.
Heather: It’s a really powerful thing when people that aren’t directly affected by a disaster, people that aren’t even near it or know much about it, will come and serve those that are affected. Most people on our team had never been on a missions trip before and it was the first time for them to see, ‘I was the hands and feet of Jesus here.’ We had several people that we talked to that said “I am going to give to the Churches now instead of organizations” because they saw that those were the people out there helping. We live in a self-serving, self-seeking world, but I saw Christians that were the opposite of those things. Our church weren’t the only ones that came from a different state, I know that there are people that have come from all over. Only God could assemble this group of people that come from all over with all different backgrounds. It’s amazing that such a diverse group of people can come together and not argue, not be concerned about their differences, but just be the Church and serve others.
It was a successful trip not only because we were able to accomplish many different things and help many people. This missions trip was also extremely successful in allowing our team members to understand what it means to really be ‘the hands and feet of Jesus’; it was an essential experience for many people to grow in their Christianity.