HOUSTON (AP) — Joel Osteen opened his Houston megachurch to these in search of shelter from floodwaters Tuesday after social media critics slammed the televangelist for not providing to deal with individuals in want whereas Harvey swamps the town.
Amongst those that got here to Lakewood Church — a sixteen,000-seat former area that was the longtime residence of the NBA’s Houston Rockets — was Jack Bullman. The fifty six-yr-previous Lengthy Pine resident sat with a child blue towel hanging round his neck, making an attempt to dry off and get heat.
“Often a hurricane comes by and also you get hit with the surge and the rain, however right here it’s lingered so lengthy there’s little question that will probably be catastrophic,” Bullman stated, including that he had simply rebuilt final yr after one other flood. “All that tough work, proper down the tubes.”
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Bullman was evacuated from West Houston Medical Middle, the place his mom was in intensive care after having a stroke. With floodwaters coming, the hospital spent two hours discovering a spot for him to remain, then gave him a journey to the church.
The church had introduced on Twitter late Tuesday morning that it was receiving individuals who want shelter. Osteen introduced the transfer himself shortly after, including in a tweet that he and spouse Victoria Osteen “care deeply about our fellow Houstonians.”
The transfer adopted a day of on-line criticism from those that claimed the church closed its doorways whereas different locations of worship, together with a number of mosques, opened theirs to individuals who wanted assist.
A fleet of panel vans, Mercedes coupes, SUVs and pickups descended on the church. Out got here luggage of donations – jackets, strollers, bottled water, pants, clothes, stuffed dolls, sheets, pillows – that volunteers piled in a mountain within the church’s foyer.
Eugene Rideaux, forty two, is a mechanic and member of Osteen’s church who confirmed as much as assist type donations. The lifelong Houston resident has not been capable of work or do a lot because the storm first hit, so he was desperate to get out of his darkish home and assist.
“When is it going to finish? As quickly as you assume it’s clear it comes proper again,” he stated. “Entire neighborhoods underneath water, I’ve by no means seen something like this. It’s virtually like life stops.”
Throughout the church foyer, volunteers have been beginning…