Eight Days of Hope by Jessica Barrett

I had the privilege of traveling to Houston, Texas in October with the Eight Days of Hope rapid response team. That trip was so impactful to my life and many other volunteer’s lives from around the country and even the world. It has been seven months since Hurricane Harvey and families have still not been able to live in their homes. Luckily, I had another opportunity to go back to Houston over spring break with 8DOH to help even more families experience the love of Christ. I want to share with you the story of the Sears family.

The Sears family lives right outside of Houston in Dickinson, Texas. Their neighborhood received significant flooding and damage; so much, that their family has not been able to live in their house since August.

The homeowner told us their story: “That night the water was just rising so quickly. We have bunk beds in the boys room so we put the boys on the top bunk. One of us (her and her husband) would hold on to the side of the bunk bed while the other one went to flag down a rescue boat. We swapped out until 10 AM when we were rescued.”

For most people, it is hard to comprehend being in a situation like that, but it was a reality for the Sears family. The water was so deep that they had to be rescued by a boat leaving their home behind to be destroyed by the water.  Since the house damage was so bad, FEMA provided them with a small camping trailer that they set in their front yard to live in. They were running out of time that they could have the trailer, so their house absolutely needed to be ready for them to move back in soon.

Their house had all different teams from all different places from all different denominations, but we were all their to be the hands and feet of Jesus. From Baptists to the Amish, this house had just about everybody helping on it. The TLC show “Outdaughtered” was even at our house and filmed for a couple episodes.  The people on the TLC film crew were not Christians but were really engaged in what we were doing and thought it was so cool how we gave up our spring breaks to help people we had never met before.

Overall, this spring break has been my favorite yet.  My family and I were going to take a “senior trip” for me over spring break, but once I found out that 8DOH was going back to Houston, it was a no brainer.  I can’t think of a better way to spend my spring break than showing God’s love to people who have been living in a nightmare. Eight Days of Hope brings followers of Christ together and it’s all for His glory!

  1. I got to see Anna Costantino who was a foreign exchange student at Nettleton at the beginning of this year!

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  1. Jude doing his part to help the Sears family!

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  1. The Sears family. L-R: Justice, Brandi, Gatlin, and Virgil

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  1. A group of our team painting the children’s play set.

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  1. We jackhammered their old porch to replace it.

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  1. Their new porch after our team re-paved and got furniture and plants.

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  1. Getting ready to head off to work for the day

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  1. Our team took down their old fence because it was damaged and put up a brand new one.  Never thought I could build a fence, but turned out I could!

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  1. The TLC film crew getting ready to film “Outdaughtered”.

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  1. Sam was eager to learn how to use a drill

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  1. Matthew working so hard to get the backyard looking good!

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  1. Telling Brandi, the homeowner, goodbye before we left.

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13.The finished front view of the house.  The backyard and interior were completely redone as well, but our team mainly worked on the outside.

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