JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The biggest need for Texas residents right now? Water, water and more water, but volunteers with New Life Disaster Relief know that’s not going to be enough.
“We’re merchants of hope,” said Tom Bechtel, a volunteer from Pennsylvania. “We can come and tear things apart; put drywall up; paint; deliver food and water. But, really what we’re doing is hope to those people that are really suffering and hurting.”
The Lone Star State is slowly crawling out from under the ice to find broken water pipes, power outages and empty stores for food. New Life Disaster Relief is used to bringing aid to nearly every kind of disaster, but this one is a first for director Ken Wetzel.
“We don’t typically have ice storms and so forth,” said Wetzel. “This is a whole different puppy for us - a whole different, I’m going to say, opportunity. Because, again, we just want to be help wherever it’s needed.”
But, relief is hard to come by because of the pandemic.
“The folks that are experiencing disaster at this point are really struggling to get help because the volunteer base we in any given year is really diminished,” Wetzel said.
But timing, courage and divine guidance have brought Tom Bechtel and Phillip Tomb all the way from Pennsylvania to pitch in, as they have done for 15 years.
“We decided just to hop in the truck and go,” Bechtel said. “We had to get away for a week and do what we normally do and come work with New Life Disaster Relief. We were planning to do hurricane relief in Louisiana, but it became a slightly different mission with the need in Texas.”
Tomb added “I see this more as a ministry for me. I don’t mind going. I know that when Jesus sent out, the people who obeyed him went. So, for me, it’s just going out, obeying and we actually look forward to coming.”
They plan to take the water to Orange County, Texas. From there, they will use this as a scouting trip to help plan for future relief efforts for his group as well as others.
“We’re not trying to impact hundreds. If we change one family’s outlook on life right now, then, that’s a success.”
If you would like to help New Life Disaster Relief, you may contact Wetzel at 228-596-0390.