A Shepherd’s Story

A Shepherd’s Story – 2022 Light of Hope

Northgate Apartment Fire – Jan. 7, 2022

The call to the Austin Fire Department went out in the cold, pre-dawn hours on January 7. A three-alarm fire broke out in the Ventura Apartments in North Austin. Three alarms. More resources to fight the flames. More firefighters to do the job. More people needing help. 

When the blaze was out, more than 30 residents were left in the frigid weather with no home and few possessions.  They needed help, someone to walk them through rebuilding their homes and lives, and that’s where the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) came in. 

Hillary Brewer was one of those pillars of support – a Disaster Relief Shepherd – to a couple who lost everything in the fire. 

Hillary first met “Ms. D” and “Mr. A” after Ms. D moved into an extended hotel after the fire. They barely made it out of their apartment alive, although Mr. A had to be treated for severe burns.  “When I met them, their situation was terrible and traumatic. I introduced myself and told them I was with ADRN and was there to be their friend and connect them to resources,” Hillary said.

She did as she promised. Over the following months, she helped them find a new place to live and replace some of the possessions they lost in the fire. 

“Another aid organization helping survivors had to transition out of that role. When Ms. D found out, she asked if I was leaving, too. I told her I wasn’t going to leave until they were back on their feet,” Hillary said.

“One day when Ms. D was having a really hard time, I told her that God had a new level of faith for her in this situation,” Hillary said. She bought the couple an easy-to-read Bible and showed Ms. D some scriptures to help her walk of faith. 

“I wanted to highlight the importance of making Jesus the king of your life and leaning on God’s strength. I thank ADRN for the opportunity, training, and resources to come into this role and have a significant impact on this family,” Hillary said.

ADRN’s mission is to give survivors a safe, secure, and stable home. The network of more than 200 churches also offers individuals hope and help after a disaster strikes. Trained volunteers, like Brewer, also work with and connect survivors to local churches for vital physical, emotional, and spiritual care. Bringing hope into crisis and connecting survivors to the transforming power of Jesus Christ is the core of ADRN’s mission.

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