Atheists-Turned-Christians Among Volunteers Serving in Rockport, Texas

September 4, 2017 • United States
Samaritan's Purse volunteers are helping Texas homeowners from our Rockport/Portland base and four other locations.

God is bringing Samaritan's Purse volunteers from across the country to serve homeowners in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Relief

Adri wrestled with suicidal thoughts as early as middle school. She got pregnant at 16 and eventually found herself homeless. Adri didn’t care who she hurt along the way as long as she got her way. She was an atheist who made fun of people who love Jesus.

But the Adri who came to Texas to serve homeowners struggling in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is completely different. She shows no signs of a past marked by hatred toward God. Adri recently stopped running from God, surrendered her life to Him, and committed herself to obedience—and that’s what led her to Rockport to serve with Samaritan’s Purse.

Adri is a new Christian and was eager to serve in Texas through Samaritan's Purse.

Adri (at left) is a new Christian and was eager to serve in Texas through Samaritan’s Purse.

“I’ll never forget this first deployment with Samaritan’s Purse,” she said as tears streamed down her face. “To show people there is hope and there is a God who cares about them—this is the most humbling experience.”

Adri is one of hundreds of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers who are spreading out across southeastern Texas to work from five different bases: Rockport/Portland, Victoria, Santa Fe, Houston, and Pearland.

We praise God for the many volunteers who have already served in Jesus’ Name in Texas. We still need many more volunteers—a thousand a day—to join in assisting families who are desperate for a glimpse of hope after the storm. The work will continue for months to come.

A New Creation in Christ

Adri is working from our Portland/Rockport base to serve homeowners in Jesus' Name.

Adri is working from our Portland/Rockport base to serve homeowners in Jesus’ Name.

Adri’s mom came to faith in Jesus about two years ago and invited her daughter to church, but time and time again Adri refused. Adri finally agreed, and that day when a church member asked if she wanted to know Jesus, she said yes.

“If God can pull me out of my darkness, sin, and mess, and pick me up and make me a new Christian, He can do it for anyone. No one is unreachable,” Adri said.

Adri’s brother, who was near death due to a marijuana addiction, has also come to faith in Jesus. “There’s nothing in this world that can change a person’s heart other than Jesus,” Adri said. “My family and I are living proof.”


God is using Adri’s newfound passion to serve Him and to share His love. In Rockport, an area directly in Hurricane Harvey’s deadly, destructive path, Adri met a single mom who chose to ride out the hurricane with her father and three young boys.

Adri, who lives near Corpus Christi, and other volunteers removed waterlogged belongings from the home and piles of storm debris from the yard. Adri and the team also prayed with her.

“I could tell the relief in her heart,” Adri said.

Hurricane Harvey Leaves a Homestead in Ruins

Across the street from where Adri’s group worked another team of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers helped Teresa Peoples. Teresa has graciously assumed responsibility for the cleanup and repair of Bill’s home, who is a lifelong family friend and “uncle” as Teresa likes to call him.

Teresa is working with Samaritan's Purse volunteers on her friend's home.

Teresa is working with Samaritan’s Purse volunteers on her friend’s home.

“He evacuated at the very last minute,” Teresa explained. “He’s oxygen dependent, with 17 percent lung capacity. His wife has a heart illness. Neither is able to deal with this.”

The home, which Bill was born and raised in, suffered major damage. Floodwaters destroyed nearly all of the couple’s personal belongings and trees were completely uprooted.

“You couldn’t see from here to the street over there,” Teresa said. “The piles of debris were higher than the house. The debris in the backyard was three to four feet deep.”

Teresa tried to do what she could to clean up because she knows how much Bill wants to return home. She’s also anxious for him to return because she grew up in Rockport and has fond memories of visiting his home.

Yet, the work proved too much for Teresa. She was overwhelmed by the willingness of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers to serve her—someone they had never met.

“This has far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. It is amazing. I’m so grateful.”

Jesus Is the Answer

Vanessa, once an atheist, is now a follower of Christ and is helping Texas homeowners in His Name.

Vanessa, once an atheist, is now a follower of Christ and is helping Texas homeowners in His Name.

Vanessa Millard came from Florida to volunteer in Rockport/Portland with Samaritan’s Purse. One of the first homes she worked on was for a 90-year-old pastor who evacuated several hours away to stay with one of his daughters. The home is in such a mess that he hasn’t yet returned to Rockport.

“When I first drove up it made me cry to see all the damage,” said José Gutierrez, one of the pastor’s sons.

Although it will take a while before the house is livable again, José knows his dad wants to come home. “There’s a lot of memories of mom in there—she died a few years ago. That’s why he doesn’t want to leave.”

José is working at his pastor's home in the Rockport area.

José is working at his father’s home in the Rockport area. Our Rockport/Portland base is located at First Baptist Church in Portland.

Vanessa, who’s only been a Christian for a few years, came to our Rockport/Portland base so she could encourage families such as José’s. Like Adri, Vanessa too was an atheist before God saved her.

“I felt empty. I began to reach for an answer,” she said. “You think you’re satisfied but you’re not.”

Vanessa’s life hasn’t been the same since she committed her life to Jesus. “I felt a peace that you don’t have words to explain. It’s something you cannot produce. I surrendered.”

Vanessa wants Hurricane Harvey victims across southeastern Texas to know that in the midst of devastation, the Gospel brings hope.

“The only answer to your life is in the person of Jesus,” she said. “There is a hope and a future.”

Samaritan's Purse volunteers pray at José's father's home.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers pray at José’s father’s home.

Bahamas destruction-Hurricane Dorian
Hurricane Relief Samaritan's Purse responds to the urgent needs of families devastated by the wind, rain, and storm surge of catastrophic hurricanes. We come alongside hurting people to bring emergency relief and practical help in the Name of Jesus Christ.

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