Live in Houston long enough and you’re likely to hear the familiar adage, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.”
Last week, Houston and the rest of Texas were in the grip of an icy winter storm. This week, we experienced the beginnings of a typical Houston spring season. But look a little deeper and you’ll see that behind the sunshine and warmer weather, families across the city and state are doing their best to recover from the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri.
Excited about a rare Houston snow day, many in the SBS community ended Sunday evening with thoughts of sleeping in the next day and wondering how much snow would actually stick. We awoke the next morning to find Houston covered in a sheer blanket of white, accompanied by the silent eeriness that snow often brings. But we’d soon learn this was not the snow day we dreamed about.
That Monday morning, 1.4 million homes in Houston woke up to no electricity, and many would lose water in the coming days. This Arctic blast settled in for a weeklong visit, bringing with it freezing temperatures and catastrophic damage in homes all over the city from frozen pipes.
Head of School Dr. Davis reflects on last week, “In true character and something I love about our community, the Second Baptist family came together to support and help one another. I heard stories throughout the week about many in our community providing shelter, food, gas, power and a helping hand to others during this challenging storm. Despite their own discomfort and need, they used Winter Storm Uri as an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
SBS alum Brian Duncan ‘06, current parent and executive chef for Second Baptist Church, recounts his experience, “We only lost power at our house for a few seconds before our generator kicked on. My wife’s sister and her family came to stay with us. Some of our neighbors stopped by when they needed to warm up or drink a cup of coffee. We sent out several messages informing friends and family that ‘Hotel Duncan’ was open.”
Brian went on to tell the rest of his story, “On Wednesday, I was asked to come in and cook for the few staff we had working on campus. I was happy to help! When I arrived Thursday, there was no power on campus and it was around 40 degrees inside. Fortunately, our walk-in cooler and freezer are connected to the church’s emergency generator and all of our food was safe. So, I opened up the kitchen and started cooking burgers. When asked if I had enough food to feed police officers and firefighters in the area, I answered with a resounding yes! These front-line workers put their lives on the line for us every day. Cooking a warm meal was the least I could do. Bethany Hardcastle and LaJuanna Tidwell joined me in the kitchen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Together, we provided meals for around 30 first responders and 20 church employees each day, using the resources we had available to us during this crisis.”
He continued, “When a storm or natural disaster hits our area, the Second Baptist facilities team shines. We all come together for a common goal and we work hard to get it done. This is the same thing that happened after Hurricane Harvey. Whether we are feeding 20 people or tearing out sheetrock, we will always come together as a team and serve.”
Dr. Davis reminded us with this encouragement, “God promises to always be with us. In times of great need, this promise is more powerful than ever. Isaiah encouraged the people of Israel with these words below from Isaiah 41:10. ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ The same God who was with Israel remains with us today, providing us with the strength and help we need. Be strong. Take courage. Together we will get through these challenges.”