What happens when a mission team meets a hurricane:

“Life is full of unexpected occurrences. Nowhere was this more evident than the week I spent at the Hilton Garden Inn in Houston, Texas.” – Matt O’Brien, team member

A mission team of 12 people representing several different Portland churches was headed down to Nicaragua to serve the residents and community of the Villa Esperanza program. 

God had a different plan for them.

As their flight touched down in Houston, Hurricane Harvey hit. Their connecting flight to Nicaragua was canceled and the team ended up at the Hilton Garden Inn in the heart of Houston. They thought it would just be an overnight stay, but they ended up trapped in the hotel for over a week.

While many mission teams would have quit at this point, flexibility became key, and the team decided to change their mission field from Nicaragua to the very hotel they were staying in.

“We were originally planning on going to Nicaragua, but we don’t have to be there to be goodness and light.” – Jessica Skinner, team member

Families fleeing the flood came to the hotel and were gladly met by the team. They had packed soccer balls, craft supplies and T-shirts to give to kids in Nicaragua, but were instead able to bless children in Houston and their families with them. Team members were able to engage the children in fun activities while at the same time provide a listening ear and comforting presence to the adults.

Some families had experienced traumatic rescues; one had been rescued by a helicopter from their home.

“We asked one woman how she was feeling and she said, ‘I feel like we’re in Heaven. It’s dry, it’s clean, I know I’m safe; this is like Heaven.’ She was so grateful.” – Christine Swanson, team member

And those are just a couple of the stories that came from this dramatic turn of events. We’re so thankful for this team’s ability to adapt and make the best of where God truly wanted them to be. 

Now that the hurricane has passed…

It’s time to rebuild, and many families just don’t have the resources to restore their homes. Would you like to take a Phase II disaster relief team to help families in Texas?

Join or take a team to Texas