During the week of September 23-30, St. Philip’s Lutheran Church’s Disaster Relief Team from Fridley, MN ventured to the Gulf Coast to participate in long-term hurricane recovery work in Galveston County. This was their 72nd disaster relief trip since forming in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Mike Anderson and Renee Johnson, the co-coordinators, work diligently with community partners throughout the US in determining where they will focus relief efforts next. And, the need for volunteers continues to be great as disasters become more common. This particular journey was St. Phillip’s 2nd visit to Galveston and neighboring towns due to Hurricane Harvey. With the assistance of the Galveston County Long Term Recovery Committee and Galveston County Food Bank, 3-5 projects were determined for the week. The 24 wildly talented volunteers poured their hearts and hands into a variety of ways of serving, including: building steel walls, sheetrocking, floating/taping/painting, insulating walls, tearing out carpet and installing new laminate flooring throughout a home. Each evening the work teams would return to Zion Retreat Center in Galveston for a hearty meal and to debrief about the day’s activities. I had the great honor of joining the team one evening to share in devotions and to extend a warm, Texas-sized thank you for their commitment to heeding the call to “love thy neighbor.” As the evening unfolded, stories were told of previous disaster relief adventures, skills-based trainings required prior to the trip, multiple experiences with worn out homeowners who are living in only 1 room of their homes due to the exceeding amount of repairs that remain. We concluded with prayer (and cookies, of course!). This is a very organized, fine-tuned, outgoing, vivacious group who truly know what serving the world really means. If you have family, friends or neighbors in need of help/support post Hurricane Harvey, please call 512.539.7987 or email harveyassistance@ upbring.org.