Rockport, Texas, USA by Sherry Braden

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Although two years have passed since Hurricane Harvey's eye ripped through the small, quaint fisherman's paradise town of Rockport, on the Texas Gulf Coast, the damage is far from full restoration. A group of young people have come for many months, staying to sacrificially give of themselves and meet the needs of so many who were hurt by the devastation that fateful night. They are rebuilding homes, hauling away debris, replanting downed trees, and landscaping barren ground that was merely shattered glass and mangled metal not so long ago. The elderly are a priority, and many are now finally living in a home, not a shelter; have air conditioning, not just the salty sea breeze of the sweltering summer heat. There is a new Senior Citizens’ Center, and these young people have tirelessly helped to organize meals that are served to those who have been scrambling for two years to find good nourishment.

What is inside the souls of these folks, that take them far beyond their own indulgences? They endure back-breaking work, amid oppressing heat, swarms of mosquitos, with dangerous glass shards and sharp, twisted strips of tin. I talked with some of them. Their words were impressive, but even more were challenging, to a woman over twice their age. They said things such as: "See others' needs as more important than your own." And "I think if it were my family, what might I wish people would do for them?" Also said was "it is in giving that I feel joy!" It made me wish to join their team!

In their off-hours, this team would gather to relax, trade stories and encourage each other. They often met outside to enjoy the town growing more beautiful daily, to sing together with the guitar-playing young man at the helm, and to watch the sun set on yet another gratifying day.

On this particular evening of singing, as they watched a Texas Coastal sunset, the skies lit most beautifully! It must have been a special gift meant just for this team, thanking them all for their sacrificial spirit.

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