Editor’s note: This article was written prior to the most recent ice storm that impacted large portions of Texas at the end of January and beginning of February.
Texas winters are no joke, and our church found out just how challenging and demanding a Central Texas ice storm can be on Feb. 17, 2021. On that day, I entered our church on day three of a freeze that left our campus with no power to make sure our children’s education building did not have any water issues.
As I opened the church door, I stepped into ankle-deep water. The frigid waters shocked my system into action. I began calling the staff and building a team. I sloshed through the offices into the main foyer and found what seemed like Niagara Falls. I could see water running into our sanctuary and, on the other side of the foyer, running into our adult wing, as well.
We soon identified two more water lines that had burst. All total, we found five burst pipes, including those in our Family Life Center. Our children’s building—that I had initially ventured out in the ice and snow to check on—was not harmed at all.
When we finally got the water turned off, those in the building took a collective breath. I was stunned at the damage—and this on the heels of recently reopening our campus following the COVID shutdown. As I observed the men who responded to my call for help, I was encouraged by their general mood. There was no hand-wringing or despair in their voices. Instead, there was a calm in the midst of this storm that was still delivering its icy blast outside.
The following Sunday, we met in our Family Life Center—which, in and of itself, was a monumental project of moving sound equipment from the worship center, creating staging, and moving from recorded events to live-streaming. Once again, I was taken aback by the people surrounding me. I never heard a critical or derogatory word from anyone. It certainly was not business as usual, but it wasn’t an insurmountable obstacle, either. There was hope—hope declared through our congregation.
Once we contacted our insurance company, we placed fans in all the rooms and hallways affected by the flood. We chose a team from our congregation to administer the clean-up and work with contractors and the insurance company. Once the water had subsided and the building was declared safe, we announced a work night to remove the drywall from the affected areas and to remove all the carpet and padding. We prayed we would have enough help. One of our staff members recalled that while he was driving to the church, he was praying that no one would be injured and that our church family would show up to help. He remembers tearing up as he turned into the property and saw 20-30 vehicles filled with equipment.
Inside the campus, the mood was electrifying. Among the mix of our members were non-members who had come from the community to help. Lake Belton High School brought sponsors and teens from its National Honor Society, cheerleaders, and members of the football team. I didn’t even know how they knew, but they responded to the call. Members we had not seen in over a year due to COVID were busy tearing out drywall, taking off faceplates, and moving pews. There was such camaraderie that I can only describe the response as the “Miracle for LBC.” Doom and gloom were absent, and in its place was laughter and stories filling the damaged halls, classrooms, and worship center. We had a common foe, and the Lord supplied the warriors.
Through all the adversity we had faced over the past several years, we did not close our doors or diminish in size. All our financial needs were met. We could have folded our tent. We could have focused on how horrible the situation was. However, out of this disaster, the Lord brought many new families. In the place of what could have been a dying church, God turned graves into gardens.
The Lord accomplished great things and saw His name glorified at Lakeview Baptist Church in the early months of 2021, and we are still feeling the effects today.