They survived not one but, two hurricanes; a couple who now calls Central Texas home is giving back to "Harvey" evacuees who were finding shelter in the Hill Country.
Willie Monet is the pastor for “Smoking For Jesus” Ministry, “God wanted us off the coast line, and I believe, he wanted us in Hill Country, we already experienced two hurricanes in less than three weeks.”
It was in August 2005 that Pastor Monet, his wife Claudette and about 200 members of their church headed for Lumberton, Texas. Packed with just three days of clothes like they were told to do, they were waiting out Hurricane Katrina.
But days turned into weeks, and soon they would find out they had nothing to go home to.
“One day our whole life will turn around, I mean all we had built, all we had was all gone, in one day,” Pastor Monet said. One deadly storm after another, Hurricane Rita soon crossed their path. Several stops across Texas finding shelter, they soon found themselves in the Hill Country of Central Texas. “I thank god for the State of Texas. Those people opened up their hearts, they opened their doors, they took so many of our people in, not just in shelter, they shipped them to apartment complexes and everything,” Claudette said.
Watching from afar this time, the devastation of Harvey, the now Texas transplants were helping those who once helped them in their most trying time of life. “We really feel for them because it's going to be a lot of days of uncertainty and being uncertain about where you going to go, what's going to happen, where you’re going to finally be, because some people are not ever going to be able to go back to their homes,” Claudette said. With Harvey evacuees finding shelter at Inks Lake State Park in their area, Pastor Monet and his wife are busy taking donations at their church "Smoking For Jesus."
“That helps them tremendously to know that people just are not going to forget you. I know that will lift them up to be able to able to have the needs,” Pastor Monet said.
Having lost everything one time in their lives, the Monet's are an example for Harvey victims of turning tragedy into triumph, “Although this seems so bad and a tragedy, I would tell them there’s light at the end of the tunnel because after you get through this darkness, God is still going to be there for you, to take care of you,” Pastor Money said.
The now Texans by the way of New Orleans are thriving in Hill Country with their more than 50-acres of water front property for their church and it's hundreds of members and a little piece of home shining through in their New Orleans style restaurant in Marble Falls.
Although not native they have adapted to calling another place home, “Oh yes, we are Texans, I got cowboy boots, I got a hat, I would've put it on if you'd call me, we are Texans,” they said.
They are accepting donations for Harvey evacuees in being sheltered in Hill Country.
Here's a list of locations where you can donate supplies.
- Joseph's Pantry 706 N Phillips Ranch Rd, Granite Shoals, TX 78654 (830) 220-2344
- La Care 507 Buchanan Dr, Burnet, TX 78611 (512) 756-4422
- First Baptist Burnet 108 S Vanderveer St, Burnet, TX 78611 (512) 756-4481
- First Baptist Kingsland 3435 Highway 1431, Kingsland, TX 78639 (325) 388-4507
- Smoking for Jesus 1804 FM 2342, Kingsland, TX 78639
Cash donations for Gas/Food Cards:
- Hill Country Ministries 1005 Lacy Dr, Leander, TX 78641 (512) 259-0360