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Posted on 09/16/2008 12:48 AM EST
Former Delawarean finds shelter from Hurricanes Gustav & Ike

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Nancy Joseph
Our Refuge
A lighthouse in the storm.
A place to lay our weary heads.
Reaching out to us in love.
They worked with servant hearts,
Willing hands, and beautiful smiles.
Who counts the hours they prepared,
...and pre-prayered?
Who can place a price on what was given?
All because of Jesus and the compassion He provides.
Thank you for letting that glorious light shine!!!

This poem was written by my sister, Cathy Stenger (Besche) Shomo, formerly from Georgetown, DE, who now lives in Mauriceville, TX—in the hurricane-plagued Beaumont/Port Author/Orange "triangle".

She and her husband, Darren, were twice forced to leave their home this month in advance of hurricanes which slammed the Texas coast. Lucky for them, but quite by accident, during Hurricane Gustav they found shelter within a little United Methodist Church located in Center, TX, a small town two-and-a-half hours inland.

When Hurricane Ike advanced a week later they were relieved knowing they'd be welcomed into the same church shelter as would their frightened friends who were also being forced to evacuate.

The First United Methodist, she says, is very similar in size to Bethel United Methodist here in Lewes. Its forward-thinking church members have equipped their facility and trained themselves to minister to disaster victims.

As you can tell from Cathy's poem, one little church's small acts of kindness can make a huge difference during a disaster. A priceless gift has been given to my sister and 34 other refugees who are temporarily living there. She says the shelter is now being called "The Lighthouse" from the tribute she wrote.

We here in the DE beach area have not yet fallen victim to a large natural disaster. Nonetheless we can be moved by reading this poem of gratitude. And like the members of that one little church in Texas, let us also be motivated to equip our own facilities and prepare ourselves to help others in need.

For alas, I'm sad to say, it's likely our turn, too, will eventually come.

If you would like to donate to the shelter, please send checks to:
First United Methodist Church, (The "Lighthouse" Shelter Fund),
211 Porter Street, Center, TX 75935.

For more information, visit the church's website www.fumccenter.org or call them at 936-598-2707.

Nancy Stenger Joseph

Lewes, DE

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