Hurricane Harvey wreaked history-making havoc in the greater Houston area and in our own community of Katy. The days before the storm intensified I was packing to go to Nepal. My flight was scheduled to leave Saturday evening. And then, along came Harvey and changed all my well-laid plans.
As so it was for each of us in Katy. Like an unwanted intruder, Harvey entered into our lives and turned everything upside down. The closer the storm got to the Gulf Coast the longer the lines at the grocery stores. Concerned for the welfare of our families and the possibility of damage to our homes, we were in a frenzy to prepare for the worst while we hoped for the best.
While we pushed our grocery carts between crowded aisles and topped off our gas tanks, one woman was already on a search and rescue mission. My friend Tina Hatcher, the founder of Hope Impacts, is a remarkable lady. Her heart beats for the least of these. She has given her life to do one thing — to care for the homeless in our community. She knows every homeless person in Katy and where they sleep.
I have served at Mother Teresa’s homes in Kolkata many, many times. One thing I admire about Mother Teresa is the simple charge she gave to her Missionaries of Charity. She told them to go to the narrow and filthy alleys, to the dark places, and to look for Jesus. “You will find Him in those places,” she said, “in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
Mother Teresa continued — and when you find Him, do for that person what Jesus would do. Feed them if they are hungry. Give them something to drink. Clothe them. Bind their wounds. Give them shelter. Do for the least of these what you would do for Jesus Himself. That simple charge and her small band of missionaries started an unprecedented revolution of caring in Kolkata, throughout the subcontinent, and beyond.
Tina thinks like Mother Teresa. As the first drops of rain began to fall she forgot about her own needs and drove to those dark and filthy places where Katy’s homeless seek shelter. One by one, she picked them up and brought them to an empty suite at Kingsland’s off-campus office building. The concern on Tina’s face was unmistakable. “There are some who will not come in,” she told me.
And so, like the guy in the Hacksaw Ridge WW2 movie who kept going back into harm’s way to rescue wounded soldiers, Tina went out again and again in search of her homeless friends. And one by one she carried them to safety and made provision for them to be fed and cared for. And then, within hours, our slice of Texas found itself caught in the teeth of a storm. But because of her actions, the homeless in Katy found a safe haven.
Tina’s story is just one of many that need to be told so that our divided nation can reconnect with what really makes America great. Neighbors caring for neighbors, ordinary folks who deployed their fishing boats to rescue others, people opening their homes to take in displaced families, volunteers manning supply distribution locations, and so much more. Thank you to each of you who did your part to move in the direction of people in need.
And Tina, we all thank you. You are indeed a hero to the homeless and a gift to our community. We love you.
Omar C. Garcia
Kingsland Baptist Church