LDS missionaries in Houston are aiding in massive cleanup efforts from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding.
In a Facebook post by the Texas Houston South Mission, President Hall described these missionaries' efforts and the lasting impact they've had on those they serve.
All missionaries are in safe and accounted for this evening. Today we entered the clean up phase of our relief efforts. Rest assured that we do not have missionaries go into any homes that have standing water. Remarkably, as fast as the floods came, the water has retreated just as quickly.
I wanted to give you a feel for the work the missionaries will be involved in going forward. It is referred to as "muck" work and it is as glamorous as it sounds. Imagine moving, but with everything soaking wet and with very little packed. The missionaries help with the following: they remove all furniture and household goods. They then remove the carpet, cut the dry wall approximately 1-2 inches above the flood line, remove the insulation, and prepare the home to be restored. It is hot, smelly, arduous work, but the missionaries are happy to do it and do it with energy.
Today we worked a street where the water had risen to almost 8 feet. The local bishop's home had flooded, and he along with the members, had organized to serve all in his neighborhood. The first home we went to was Rosemary's, a widow, who lost all she had. She was somewhat reluctant to have strangers in her home, but the missionaries quickly won her over and she let us do a lot of work. She had stacks and stacks of belongings and there were two rooms she wouldn't let us enter. Sister Hall came to learn that these rooms were full of clothing she wanted to keep and didn't want thrown out. The local relief society sisters have volunteered to wash any quantity of clothes needed, and when Rosemary learned that the sisters would do this, it made her day. She was visibly distraught and the elders volunteered to give her a blessing, for which this sweet woman couldn't have been more grateful. The missionaries will be back tomorrow and they, with the members, will go house to house blessing all that will open their doors.
In another part of the city, an elderly woman saw the yellow shirts coming and exclaimed, "I knew the Mormon's would come!" The organization of the Church, the members, and the missionaries are simply best in class. There is no challenge too great for the members of the Lord's Church!
Not all areas of the mission have the same needs. The stake presidents and bishops have identified the number of member homes that need to be addressed and these are being served first (already underway). This Sunday most of the stakes and wards in the Houston area will meet for sacrament meeting and then go and serve. As we serve in those areas we are assisting any and all that need help, and the efforts will broaden from there. There are some missionaries that are getting their hands dirty each day, and there are others who will have fewer daily opportunities. Regardless, missionaries will continue to bless all they interact with both spiritually and temporally.
We love and are grateful for our valiant missionaries. We continue to emphasize safety and have a goal of zero accidents or injuries. We are in the mission home, we had no flooding, and the Hall family is very blessed. Thanks for the continued faith and prayers. The missionaries are already blessing many and will do so for months to come. - President Hall