Splintered trees and broken branches still line some Greater Austin neighborhoods weeks after an ice storm hit in February. For people who don’t have the finances or physical ability to do the work, clean-up is challenging, but teams from ADRN’s network of churches help to carry that burden for their neighbors. Volunteers from Life Church Leander lifted that heavy load for local resident Norman Gultz.
Norman recently had surgery and didn’t know what he would do after the storm. Debris covered his front and back yards, and a large tree branch in his backyard perched precariously over a fence.
“My neighbor across the street has a tree-removal business. He was going to give me an estimate, but I didn’t have any money to pay him,” he said.
That’s when Norman saw a social media post about ADRN network churches helping with debris cleanup. He filled out the request form and waited.
“The next day, I got a call from Life Church offering to help. I appreciate the help. It’s truly a blessing,” he said.
Life Church Leander members mobilized at the church on Saturdays throughout the month, armed with chainsaws, loppers, and work gloves, ready to deploy to the next neighbor in need.
Elaine Schlung is a member of Life Church and one of the clean-up volunteers. More than 50 church members volunteered and helped more than a dozen homeowners in the first couple of weeks.
“Our mission at Life Church is to live a bold life that honors God and serves God’s people. The church isn’t a building. It’s about loving people,” she said.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without Glenn Gibson, our church’s disaster relief coordinator and liaison with ADRN,” said Life Church’s Missions Pastor Tim Schlung. “Glenn is our buildings and grounds manager, but he’s also passionate about serving God and our community.”
Life Church is one of more than 20 network churches and partner organizations stepping up to help after ADRN received more than 2,200 requests for assistance, each a call to the Church to be God’s hands and feet to hurting people.
“One of our pastors told us about another Life Church team that helped at a family’s home,” Elaine said. “The family was outside trying to clean up the debris, and just as the team arrived at the house, they overheard one of the daughters telling her father, ‘This is what a church should be doing.’ And there was Life Church to help.
“That’s why we do this: to plant that seed of God’s love in the community,” she said.