The Rev. Chris Singer knew he had lost his home when he saw photographs of his living room floor floating in about 5 feet of flood water.
Singer, 47, who served 16 years as pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Orange, moved to Klein, Texas, just north of Houston, in 2013 to head up the 3,600-strong congregation at Trinity Klein Lutheran Church.
On Sunday afternoon, Aug. 27, Singer, his wife and twin boys — both juniors in high school — were evacuated from their home. It had been flooded with water from swollen creeks after incessant rain powered by Harvey pounded the area for days. He has three older children who are away from home in college.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Singer said Wednesday. “But I’m very thankful that we — my family — is safe.”
The Singers have taken shelter with other members of his congregation in the 20-acre church, most of which has been unaffected by the rain.
Trinity Klein Lutheran is now ground zero for the Klein community at large, with about 250 volunteers preparing hot meals and helping others who have been affected.
Meanwhile, St. John’s in Orange is raising money for their former pastor and the hundreds of others he and his congregation are helping in the flood-ravaged area, including 100 residents of an assisted-living facility. Church buses helped provide transportation for the residents to a safer location.
The church is raising money to send several thousand gallons of fuel, which is much needed in the Houston area, said the Rev. Tim Klinkenberg, senior pastor.
“Fuel is helping power generators, boats,” he said. “We don’t think about these things. People wait in line to get fuel. It can be a very, very helpful thing.”
The church has raised nearly $30,000 to render aid to flood victims, and volunteer crews plan to head to Texas after the water recedes and cleanup and rebuilding work begins, Klinkenberg said.
Singer said he and his family had little time to get out of their home Sunday afternoon as the water began flooding the first floor.
“We taped up doors and windows, put plastic coverings over things and moved cars,” he said. “The water was coming up from under the floor.”
As water rushed in faster than expected, they had just minutes to get out.
“We threw clothes in…