Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is urging everyone to put their faith in God as the world continues to struggle with the challenges of COVID-19.
Pastor Jack Graham with Prestonwood Baptist Church interviewed Gov. Abbott during the church's Saturday night online service.
We’re honored to welcome @GregAbbott_TX this weekend for a special interview with Pastor @jackngraham about his faith and the next steps for our state during this pandemic. Join us online at https://t.co/anYHr9XRIu for an encouraging message and a powerful time of worship! pic.twitter.com/YVw5OMyQqR
— Prestonwood Baptist (@Prestonwood) April 18, 2020
The two talked about how Texas is moving forward to safely reopen while taking preventative measures so the virus does not spread.
"One thing we know is that people really want to get engaged in the world again...it could be going to church, going to work, play activities," Abbott said. "People are tired of being stuck at home and they want to get back out. Texas wants to lead the way in opening our state back up."
The governor described a plan to expand medical care services for the sick —beginning next week.
"We've expanded the types of surgical procedures and medical diagnosis that can take place beginning next week to make sure that those who really need access to healthcare and special treatment will be able to get that," he said. It's a phase-in plan that will be fully developed for phase one in May and I will make an announcement about it on April 27."
And, Abbott plans to make "retail-to-go" available for Texans, which will include all retail items like food, services, and goods.
3 Executive Orders released today will begin the process to Open TX.
Select activities & services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading #COVID19 can reopen using a Retail-To-Go model & schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. https://t.co/xunPDOiwFN pic.twitter.com/knzdocu90b
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) April 17, 2020
"Many people have used this to order food from a restaurant...you can't go inside but you can either pick it up to go or deliver it to your home," he said. "We've been able to do that while containing the coronavirus so our thought process is to do it for all retail."
"Say you’re selling clothes, jewelry —whatever you may be a retailer of, we want to make sure you're able to provide the service or goods that your company is involved in and that customers have access to it in a safe way that does not transmit the Coronavirus," Abbott continued.
The governor stressed that protecting the health and safety of Texans is vital throughout this process.
"First, we must put the health, safety, and lives foremost and protect your health. Second, we want to begin the process of advancing your livelihoods,” he said. “People have been going without paychecks, without money to pay rent...our food banks are overflowing with people who desperately need food. That is a clear signal that the livelihoods of too many Texans have been compromised. We need to get those people back to work and earning a paycheck."
Graham praised the governor for his strong leadership during the COVID-19 crisis.
"It is so very important that we have the support. I don't know how you get prepared for a crisis like this...you are leading us through a crisis like we've never seen before," Graham said.
Abbott talked about going through his own personal crisis and how his faith in God grew from that — enabling him to lead others.
"When I was just 26-years-old, I suffered an injury that broke my back, fractured my vertebrae and my spinal cord leaving me paralyzed and forever using a wheelchair," he said. "When you face something like that, it tests your faith...wondering why God would allow something like this to happen."
"But, more importantly in the aftermath of that, as I continued to reach out to God, I found God reached right back out to me," Abbott said. "My relationship with God and Jesus Christ grew even closer after the accident and it empowered me to go on and become the governor of the great state of Texas."
The governor said our faith in God will be tested and challenged, but He provides a pathway that leads us through the storms.
"We are all tested, we are all challenged. There is a solution that will support you and will always be there for you and that's Jesus Christ, it's God Almighty," he said. "If you lean on Jesus and God, you'll be taken care of, you'll be able to weather this storm. God never promises us a life free of storms. What God promised was a pathway through those storms. That's what I've seen in my whole life and that's what I'm seeing in Texas."
Abbott said prayers are being answered and the spread of COVID-19 is slowing down.
"The growth of the coronavirus in Texas is slowing by people staying at home and by people reducing their interaction with others — we are bending the curve and that is putting Texas into a position where we are going to open up in safe ways to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus," he said. "God's hand is working through the scientists across this great nation by coming up with fast innovative drugs that will lead to therapeutic remedies that people will be able to take and eventually immunizations that will get us beyond this episode in our lives."
"Put your faith in God. God will bring you through this and Texas will once again rise up to be the number one economy in the United States of America," Abbott concluded.
Watch the full interview with Pastor Graham and Gov. Abbott below:
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