Sometimes it takes more than a few weeks or months for disaster survivors to recover from the storms they’ve endured – a lot more. Mark Burkeen’s story has been years in the making. So this week, we were overjoyed for the opportunity to pray over and bless Mark’s new home, celebrating the ways God has provided for him and his family.
When Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, Mark sat inside his mobile home with his dog to weather the storms that swept through Central Texas. High winds tore at the structure, and soon water leaked through his roof, around the windows, in the walls, and even seeping up from the floors. Winds whipped through the barely standing structure, and when it was all over, Mark’s home was a disaster (watch this video for more).
Sadly, Mark had nowhere else to go, so he made the best of his bad situation, sleeping on his couch when rodents overtook the bedroom. He also couldn’t heat his home, and when winter weather came, the chill drove him to live in the space closest to his stove, the only source of warmth he had.
“It’s basically been nothing but suffering,” Mark said after living in these conditions for months. “It’s been hard to live here, hard to breathe here.”
When ADRN finally heard about Mark’s situation, volunteers and staff stepped in with replacement clothes, supplies, and emergency funding to alleviate his distress.
But that was just the beginning of Mark’s long road to recovery.
Illness soon crept in on Mark due to his poor living conditions and other factors. He needed help not only caring for himself but for his aging mother and his brother as well. For many months, complications threw obstacles between him and rebuilding or replacing his mobile home. He eventually found temporary housing on a neighbor’s property while praying for a permanent solution.
ADRN Shepherding Team never left Mark’s side. They counseled him, prayed with him, connected him with resources, and searched with him for new solutions. Today, Mark lives in a much better place in a new-to-him mobile home. Meanwhile, Roger, a DRS from Creedmoor Community Church, continues to walk alongside Mark and his family. Roger is working to connect Mark and his family with network member Creedmoor Community Church as they seek to surround him with a faith community and walk with him in the next stage of his journey.
Mark says God gets the credit for seeing him through this disaster. “He just strengthened us,” he said. “You know, just strengthened us through this hurricane of time and trouble and destruction…but He’s the One who’s kept us safe, and He’s the One who’s kept us moving along and wrapped His arms around us with all His love.”
ADRN commits to walking alongside survivors long-term through our Disaster Relief Shepherding Program and skilled volunteers like Roger. We long to see survivors like Mark have safe and clean homes and find church families to connect and grow with for their futures. We’re delighted and honored to have walked with Mark this far and look forward to brighter days for him and his family.
ADRN always needs groups and individuals to serve as Disaster Relief Shepherds for survivors like Mark. You can get the training you need online at your convenience or email our Shepherd Support Team for more information.