Texas is currently facing an unprecedented snow storm that is battering the state with heavy snow and ice that caused freezing temperatures and power outages all over, affecting more than 4 million residents.
BBC reported that parts of Texas' temperature dropped as low as 0F (-18C) on Sunday. This weather phenomena, according to the US National Weather Service (NWS), is caused by an "Arctic outbreak" right above the border of the U.S. and Canada, which caused a winter snow storm that brought freezing temperatures and power outages.
President Biden had already declared an emergency in Texas, prompting U.S. agencies to coordinate disaster relief in the area. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson each have called upon National Guard units to provide assistance to state agencies to rescue stranded drivers, USA Today reported.
Meanwhile, locals in Texas are helping out one another in the midst of the winter snow storm. Christian Post reported that Texas churches have opened their doors amid freezing temperatures and power outages to help out those who are seeking shelter.
Houston's Lakewood Church, which is led by Joel Osteen, has temporarily converted their facilities into a designated Warming Center for those severely affected by the devastating snow storm. Osteen said that the church will stay open for those in need as long as they need it, with no requirement of sign ups or appointments beforehand.
A spokesperson for Lakewood Church shared that they are working with the Harris County Sheriff's department and local homeless organizations to ensure that those who were affected by freezing temperatures and power outages and sought shelter with them would have access to beds, blankets and other supplies. About a dozen people arrived at Lakewood Church Sunday night to seek shelter and more are expected to arrive in the following days. The representative assured the public, "No one will be turned away."
Another one of several Texas churches that opened its doors to those in need in the middle of the snow storm is St. Luke Episcopal in Denison, which offers beds and a hot meal to those in need.
People who seek refuge in St. Luke Episcopal will be allowed to stay overnight until 7 a.m. the following day, during which they can enjoy breakfast at the soup kitchen operated by the Center Cross Ministry. Father Don Perschell assured that the church is observing Covid-19 precautions and will provide face masks for those who don't have any. He added that those who seek shelter won't have to worry about crowding or the supply of hot coffee, as "the coffee pot will be on all night long."
Aside from the Texas churches mentioned above, several organizations and ministries in San Antonio are also banding together to help those who were affected by the freezing temperatures and power outages in the state.
Church Under the Bridge, which was founded to address the spiritual needs of the homeless, as well as Life Restored Church, also opened their doors to lend a hand and serve those who have been severely affected by the freezing temperatures and power outages caused by the snowstorm. As per 12News, Victory Temple Church in Beaumont is currently open now through Friday, February 19 for those who need supplies and shelter.
For more information on local Texas warming centers, visit WFAA. Believers are urged to pray for the safety and protection of the people in Texas.