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What can a local church do for their community when floodwaters devastate 1,500 homes and the families who live there?

This was the question facing Foursquare Pastors Alex Montealegre and Cere Muscarella in Angleton, Texas, and their respective congregations, La Vida (Angleton Hispanic Foursquare Church) and Life Church (Angleton Foursquare Church), this summer when torrential rains brought destructive flooding to South Texas that destroyed 1,500 homes in the nearby Holiday Lakes area.

Alex and Cere say the congregations, which share one facility, “put their hands to the plow.” In one month’s time, they commissioned 373 volunteers who logged some 7,636 volunteer hours. The volunteers served primarily in Holiday Lakes, where 80 percent of the homes were damaged and nearly all were unsafe to occupy following the flooding.

“I worked in one house that was bare to the exterior walls,” says Cere. “I cleared some of the damaged flooring and wondered if it wouldn’t be easier to bring in a new mobile home. What stands ahead of these homeowners is daunting.”

Prioritizing homeowners without FEMA aid or private insurance, volunteers from La Vida and Life Church partnered with Habitat for Humanity, working alongside homeowners who put in “sweat equity” to see their homes gutted and cleaned so they could rebuild.

In addition, Alex says the two congregations took on work orders from the Brazoria County Emergency Management Team for 108 homes that were cleaned out in partnership with homeowners, other churches and Samaritan’s Purse.

Gutting flooded homes was only part of what these congregations did for their neighbors. Cere says they paired up with generous owners of a local home supply store that provided building materials at cost to stretch every dollar on behalf of fully vetted homeowners. Further, La Vida and Life Church partnered with another local church to host a “free market” for affected families to help replenish home goods, such as linens and clothing.

From the beginning of the flooding crisis in South Texas, La Vida and Life Church volunteers have served 5,400 meals in 41 days to displaced people in a Red Cross shelter and also to people living on the streets hoping to return to their homes.

The Foursquare Church’s MidSouth District churches rallied to help their brothers and sisters in Angleton reach out. Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) also helped financially as the congregations purchased, prepared and delivered some 150 meals a day to the local shelter.

Then, to provide a degree of normalcy to the neighborhood, La Vida and Life Church volunteers walked through the streets in front of a fully loaded ice cream truck, giving families free frozen treats and offering a supportive embrace.

“We’re committed to the long haul,” affirms Cere. “We really want to be here for these folks, not only offering them physical help with their houses, but also making sure that emotionally they’re stabilized and spiritually opened up to hearing the gospel.”

So, what can a local church do when their community is in crisis? The La Vida and Life Church congregations chose to dig in and make a real difference in the lives of more than 1,500 families. As a result of their efforts, 108 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ, and hundreds of others know that Christians go out of their way to demonstrate the love of God.

Donate Now to FDR Efforts

Donate now to Foursquare Disaster Relief so funds are available to assist congregations such as La Vida and Life Church when crises strike unexpectedly in their neighborhoods.

Watch Pastor Say Thank You

Watch a video of Cere Muscarella on site in Angleton, Texas, as he says thank you for the support of the Foursquare family.

was an ordained Foursquare minister, Life Pacific University instructor and freelance writer.