Pastor Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston, Texas was preparing to help potential evacuees even before Hurricane Ida came calling on the Gulf Coast.
The Christian Post (CP) reports the Lakewood Church has sheltered more than 100 people who evacuated or were displaced by the category 4 storm. When it made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday, Ida was one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever strike the U.S. with 150 mph winds, according to meteorologists.
The church also held a collection drive for much-needed relief supplies. In a 50-second video message released to social media on Aug. 28, Osteen and Matt Osteen, executive director of relief efforts at the church, extended an invitation.
"Hello to all of our friends in New Orleans and the Louisiana area. I know you are evacuating because of the hurricane, but know that you have friends here in Houston," Osteen said. "If you don't have anywhere to go, Lakewood is open. We'll accommodate as many as we can safely. But know that we're praying for you."
"For those in the Houston area, if you want to help those in need, we're going to be collecting supplies over the next few days," he added.
For those who become displaced from Hurricane Ida, Lakewood is open and prepared to accommodate as many as we can safely. We will also hold a collection drive Mon & Tues 8 am – 6 pm for those who can donate supplies: bottled water, cleaning supplies, diapers & baby wipes. pic.twitter.com/lutOOe0q9o
— Lakewood Church (@lakewoodchurch) August 28, 2021
"When the magnitude of the storm began to increase on Friday, we wanted to give people a place to go who were fleeing from Louisiana and New Orleans. And we allowed people to know that we were available to take refuge and shelter," Matt Osteen, told the CP.
"The Lakewood Church's shelter is designed to be a short-term shelter," he explained. "But we plan to house and feed people impacted by Ida for a while. Our church also hopes to continue to partner with neighboring churches to aid in various response efforts."
Church members have served more than 500 meals since the storm struck and no one has been turned away due to the lack of space, according to the CP. In addition, water and other relief supplies have been given to more than 1,000 people who have come to Lakewood for help.
Matt Osteen told the website that during times of hardship, believers have to answer the biblical call to help those in need.
"The Church has a responsibility to step up and help by being the hands and feet of Jesus," Matt Osteen said. "The Church has a biblical call to step up. We are privileged and blessed to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and some people just want to see a demonstration of love in these tough times."
With its large campus, the church has opened its doors to shelter people during several weather disasters over the years. As CBN News reported in February, when a snowstorm hit the Houston area bringing heavy snow, ice, and plunging temperatures, along with knocking out power, Lakewood, along with several other churches in the city, opened its doors as a warming center.
Back in 2017, the Lakewood Church helped flood victims of Hurricane Harvey by offering shelter, food, and relief supplies.