In Jefferson County, life has not yet returned to normal for many families affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Some have been unable to gather the necessary supplies to rebuild as lumber prices have skyrocketed, others have been hit by subsequent hurricanes, adding to the already existing damage. To help aid in the ongoing recovery efforts, BOUNCE Student Disaster Relief has sent groups of middle and high school students to the area for the past four years.
Over spring break, BOUNCE sent 270 students and leaders to the county to partner with Jefferson County Long Term Recovery Group. The students served primarily in Beaumont and Port Neches, doing repairs and recovery work. Students came from all over Texas, including Fort Worth, San Angelo and Longview, and a group from Louisiana also came.
For BJ Foster, student minister at First Baptist Church in Lewisville, BOUNCE was an opportunity to teach his students about missions and expand their worldview.
“Missions help students to understand the importance of loving others through service and both verbally and nonverbally sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Taking students on mission also helps them form a healthy world vision,” Foster explained. “Many of the students that I work with do not recognize the world outside of where they live. Missions help students have a better understanding of God’s love for the world.”
Foster’s group helped families install new flooring in their homes and also helped with other service projects such as picking up trash, mowing lawns, painting and power washing.
As his students installed new floors in one of the homes they worked on, they had to move carefully around the matriarch of the home, who was bedridden after a recent stay in the hospital. They paused their work regularly to allow nurses to take care of the woman, and they gingerly moved around the bed to put in the new floors. Foster expressed his joy at watching his students show love, patience and understanding throughout the process.
“It never ceases to amaze me what students can accomplish when challenged to overcome…Bounce placed my students in situations where they could show Christ’s love to others in a multitude of ways,” Foster shared.
To learn more about BOUNCE, visit txb.org/bounce.